We’re not starting a cult but some followers on Instagram would be nice. Thank you.
Gelje Sherpa is the internet’s new hero after videos of him making an “almost impossible” rescue in Mount Everest’s death zone went viral.
The two videos, which were uploaded as a post on Gelje’s Instagram page, have more than 42,000 likes so far.
View this post on Instagram
According to Gelje’s caption, he was making a push to the summit with his client at an altitude of 8,300m when he spotted someone in danger.
The Sherpa then convinced his client to cancel their summit push, so that he could bring the imperilled climber down to Camp 4, the final camp before the summit.
Sherpas are mountain guides who work in the Everest area aiding climbers attempting the trek up the highest mountain in the world.
Aljazeera reports that Gelje carried the climber for 600 metres over a period of about six hours.
The climber has been identified as Malaysian T. Ravichandran, 58, better known as Ravi Everest.
Gelje, on the other hand, is a Sherpa who runs trekking agency AGA Adventures.
According to his Instagram profile, Gelje is also the youngest person to climb Mount K2, the second highest mountain in the world, in winter.
Controversy over alleged block on Instagram
While this should be a heartwarming story, allegations soon began to erupt that not only had Ravi not thanked his rescuer, he even went as far as to block Gelje on Instagram.
On June 4, Twitter user Visakan Veerasamy retweeted a comic panel uploaded by mountaineering account Everest Today, which appeared to imply that Sherpas did most of the work on climbs.
In a series of tweets, Visakan called out Ravi for blocking Gelje on Instagram and not thanking him in various media appearances that he had made since the ordeal.
However, it is unclear how he knew that Gelje had been blocked.
there’s an incredible story going on in the mountaineering community rn. there’s a Malaysian climber who was at death’s door, and was rescued by a sherpa who risked his own life to carry his lifeless body on his back for 6 hours. The climber then blocked the sherpa on Instagram https://t.co/AJW70vJ3Kr
— Visakan Veerasamy (@visakanv) June 4, 2023
the sherpa, Gelje, had even persuaded his own client to cancel their own attempt so that they could save Ravi’s life. Ravi then subsequently did media appearances and ig posts etc and said nothing about Gelje. Blocked him!! https://t.co/XjnWzR8qjO
— Visakan Veerasamy (@visakanv) June 4, 2023
Ravi was also accused of deleting comments on his Instagram that mentioned the rescue by Gelje.
People are outraged
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people reacted to the tweet with an outpouring of anger.
One Twitter user pointed out that given the cost of climbing Everest, Ravi should be rich enough to reward his rescuer as thanks.
A few also said that sherpas were the ones doing most of the work on such climbs.
On the other hand, user Jonathan Alexander F suggested that Ravi may have been bound by the terms of a contract with his sponsors to not mention Gelje.
I like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s probably under contract not to mention him, because at the time he was sponsored by a rescue company who didn’t do anything to help him once his life was actually at risk.
— Jonathan Alexander F (@TheBadoe) June 4, 2023
Allegedly unblocked and thanked him
While it is unclear if Ravi had really blocked Gelje, he did eventually put up a post thanking the Sherpa by name, among others.
Gelje also commented on the post thanking Ravi and expressing hope that the climber is recovering well.
However, the Sherpa also shared Instagram Stories from other users mentioning the incident, which included comments about how Ravi had earlier blocked and refused to acknowledge him.
The comments section on Ravi’s posts also continue to be largely critical of his alleged earlier actions, and the fact that he did not mention Gelje specifically but rather as a part of a group of rescuers.
Babelfish has reached out to both Ravi and Gelje for comments, but did not receive a response by press time.
Top image via Gelje Sherpa’s Instagram.
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