Furtenbach Adventures have cancelled their Everest expedition due to safety reasons brought on by Covid.
Lukas Furtenbach, Managing Director of Furtenbach Adventures;
“I am devastated, I am disappointed, I am sorry for my clients, I am sorry for our sherpas and guides. We tried to do everything right. As right as it can get, running an expedition during a pandemic.
“We had our safety protocols, we were moving isolated, we were isolated in basecamp, and we did extensive testing. We were even more careful when the Covid outbreak in basecamp started, when we heard from the first teams with covid cases, the government denying these cases, and other teams still having parties.
“I was calling for a mass test in basecamp. The call was ignored. We tested even more, while others never started to test, or, stopped testing after too many sherpas or members were tested positive.
“If we send people up on the mountain, clients or sherpas or guides, that feel well and are tested negative, they can still be infected and get sick the next day, or after two days, in c3 or c4. Covid is a pulmonary virus. Getting symptomatic in c3 or higher, with fever and breathing problems, can be a problem. A real severe problem, like dying. Because helicopters can’t fly up there.
“I could not live with being responsible for the death of a sherpa or client because of a covid infection that became problematic during our summit push. We all know that we have a massive outbreak in basecamp. All teams. Pilots know, insurances know, HRA knows. Still sending people up is negligent from a legal point of view and inhuman from a moral point of view.
“Our team doctor told me this morning, if we are sending people up, she is out. Our guides agreed. I agreed.
“We all did not sleep for two nights. Now we feel relieved. Devasted, but relieved. Because at least our expedition will not be responsible for covid cases high up on the mountain.
“I hope for a safe season for everyone.”