Join us each week for the best in writing and fellowship. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields herds this merry group of Kool cats, with a weekly photo prompt and a reminder to: play nice, be respectful, and do your best work. Flash fiction at its best! Write a 100-word story with a beginning, middle and end. This week’s photo is provided by Douglas M. MacIlroy. Check out the other stories and find more details on Addicted to Purple. Then, join us! I always welcome honest, kind, or constructive feedback; please leave a comment.
All Is Lost
Ang Tenjing Sherpa and Dawa Choden Sherpa made slow, steady progress across the ice field, heavy gear making their work much harder.
The sudden roar was deafening, as the ground shook. Dawa turned up the slope and saw the massive wall of ice rushing toward them.
No time to react, no place to go; stones and ice filled Dawa’s mouth. His cry was buried with his broken body, fifty feet from his brother Ang’s.
Hours later, tiny memorial candles twinkled in the dark. Prayer flags fluttered hopelessly, as families gathered to mourn, on Everest’s deadliest day.
* * *
On April 18, 2014, a massive avalanche buried 25 people within the Khumbu Icefield, near base camp on Mt. Everest. Despite heroic rescue efforts, 16 people were killed–all of them Sherpas or guides. This was the single deadliest day in Everest’s history. The loss to the tight-knit Sherpa and climbing community was devastating! Work as a Sherpa on Everest is grueling and extremely dangerous, but families are drawn to the illustrious tradition for what is considered good money, in a country where many live near the poverty line. Still, they are enormously underpaid for helping others climb the highest mountain on earth, given that many pay up to $100,000 to make the climb. This disaster has raised serious questions about compensation and safety for Sherpas. Following the tragedy, all Sherpas servicing Everest agreed to not work the rest of the 2014 climbing season, to honor their fallen family members.
(The names used are not the actual names of victims. Note that all Sherpas use the name “Sherpa” as a surname. To read more about the 2014 Everest Avalanche, go to this link. )
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