Apr 23, 2014 3:26 PM by Associated Press
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Dozens of Sherpa guides have packed up their tents today and left Mount Everest's base camp.
The walkout -- which follows the deaths of 16 other Sherpas in an avalanche -- has left the entire Everest climbing season in doubt. Nepal's government says top tourism officials will fly to base camp tomorrow to negotiate with the Sherpas and encourage them to return to work.
The avalanche deaths have exposed an undercurrent of resentment by Sherpas over their pay, treatment and benefits.
And one top Nepalese official isn't sounding very sympathetic toward the Sherpas -- saying the walkout was arranged by "hooligans."
It's not clear how many of the 400 or so Sherpas on the mountain have joined in the walkout. But a number of expedition companies have canceled their climbs.
Most attempts to reach Everest's summit are made in mid-May, when a brief window normally offers better weather.
The Sherpas don't have one particular leader. And those at base camp say their walkout is for a variety of reasons, including to honor their dead friends. It's not clear whether they would return to work if the government accepts all of their demands.
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