Mountain Climber Criticized for Refusing to Pay Sherpa Who Found Her Unconscious on Everest

A Chinese mountain climber recently sparked controversy after reportedly refusing to pay the $10,000 resue fee of the sherpa who found her unconscious on Mount Everest.

On May 18, while making the climb up Mount Everest, Chinese mountain climber Fan Jiangtao stumbled upon an unconscious woman in her 50s. An experienced mountain climber herself, the woman had reportedly reached the summit and was on her way back to base camp when she started experiencing health problems. Fan and the sherpa decided to abandon their goal of conquering Everest in order to take Luo back to the base camp safely. During their descent, they met Xie Ruxiang, a Hunan Provincial Mountain Climbing Association member, who also abandoned his climb in order to help. His sherpa, however, was reluctant to join them, but they needed the extra hands so Xie promised him a fee of $10,000, to which the man agreed. No one asked the person being rescued, though…

Photo: Giacomo Berardi/Unsplash

Fortunately, the rescue operation went smoothly, and after being treated for a few days at the base camp, the woman made a full recovery. However, when she heard that the sherpa had been promised $10,000 for aiding her rescuers, she refused to pay. According to Fan Jingtao, she was only willing to pay the sherpa $4,000 out of the $10,000 that he had been promised.

“What she said angered me. I told her, ‘Since that is your attitude, I don’t want a cent from you. You don’t need to give me any money,'” Fan told SCMP. “I’ve been preparing to climb Mount Everest for 40 days and spent 400,000 yuan ($56,000) on reaching this goal. I was willing to give up on my plan to reach the peak. What’s more, the rescue fee was paid by me. I don’t know what to say. I am just wondering why she is reluctant to pay. Xie and I feel bad about this incident. So far, she has not even said ‘thank you’ to us. She is so ungrateful! We don’t want to have anything to do with her from now on.”

The story went viral on Chinese social media earlier this month, and the rescued woman was generally criticized for letting her rescuers foot the bill that she should have gladly settled in exchange for her life. The backlash got so bad that Fan Jiangtao and Xie Ruxiang had to put out a statement asking people to leave the woman alone.

“Stop online attacks,” the two wrote. “Saving her was our choice, and expressing gratitude is hers. These are two separate things. We are not her and don’t understand what she felt. Let’s just show tolerance. We’ve saved her, so we hope she can continue to live well. We should stop online attacks and humiliation.”

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