The Worst Disasters on Everest: 5. A Negligent Guide

With the 2012 climbing season underway, we look back at some of the most incredible moments to take place on the world's tallest mountain over the last 150 years

Sherpa

Sherpa via Shutterstock     Photo: Momentum

In May 2004, a 69-year-old pathologist from Alexandria, Virginia, reached the summit of Everest via the Southeast Ridge. It had been a long, arduous climb, and Nils Antezana had hired a guide named Gustavo Lisi to help him. But on the way down, Antezena became disoriented, perhaps suffering from the onset of cerebral edema, and collapsed near The Balcony, several hundred feet above the highest camp. Though two sherpas attempted to revive him, they, and Lisi, eventually left the doctor in the snow and continued to camp. Lisi, who claimed he was “dead tired,” failed to inform anyone else at Camp 4 of his client's condition. When climbers ascended the ridge the next morning, Antezena had vanished. While the guide-client relationship on Everest has endured scrutiny and skepticism, this was one of the first instances where the accusations went beyond mere negligence to claim criminal behavior. An investigation from the family finally petered out, but Lisi’s reputation was ruined, and the story has cast a pall over commercial climbing on Everest ever since.

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