Rescued Mt. Everest Climber Faces Backlash for Snubbing His Savior

This photograph taken on June 2, 2021 shows mountaineers descending from the summit of Mount Everest (8,848.86-metre), in Nepal.
LAKPA SHERPA/AFP via Getty Images

  • A climber is getting slammed online after being saved by a Sherpa from Mount Everest’s “danger zone.”
  • Social media users are upset that he chose to thank his sponsors and partners instead of his savior.
  • He eventually posted multiple thank-you notes to a list of people, including his savior.

A Malaysian climber rescued from certain death on Mount Everest is now being accused on social media of being ungrateful to the sherpa who saved his life.

The climber, Ravichandran Tharumalingam, was on death’s door when he was found on May 18 by mountain guide Gelje Sherpa and his Chinese client, who were on their way up to Everest’s summit.

Ravichandran was stuck in the mountain’s infamous “death zone,” where oxygen is limited, and temperatures can drop to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Gelje found Ravichandran shivering from the cold, grasping a rope, and with no bottled oxygen, no sherpas, and no guides, he later told CNN in an interview.

Other teams climbed past Ravichandran, but Gelje persuaded his client to quit their ascent and attempt to save the stranded climber, he told the outlet.

Wrapping Ravichandran in his sleeping mat and carrying him on his back, Gelje brought the climber down to Everest’s Camp 4, where other sherpas eventually assisted him.

It was a feat in itself — Gelje descended 1,900 feet at extreme altitude in six hours, all while carrying another man.

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Upon recovery, Ravichandran returned to Malaysia and went on national TV in early June to speak about the daring rescue. The climber has summitted Everest at least three times, and lost eight fingers to frostbite in 2022.

But when featuring the media appearance in an Instagram post, in which Ravichandran thanked his rescue insurance and partner organizations, he omitted Gelje’s name.

“I am alive today, because I had the best and dedicated Partners — The 14th peaks Expedition Co and Global Rescue Ins,” he wrote. 

Other posts on his Instagram account, in which he advertised a T-shirt, thanked his sponsors, and promoted a Mount Rinjani climb, also did not mention Gelje.

People subsequently flooded Ravichandran’s posts with negative comments, blasting him for failing to recognize the sherpa who carried him solo to Camp 4.

“Hope you’ll be donating all profits to the Sherpa who saved you,” wrote one commenter.

“You’re alive thanks to a sherpa,” wrote another.

On Twitter, people accused Ravichandran of deleting comments that spoke negatively of him.

And on almost all of his recent posts, Ravichandran was accused by commenters of initially blocking Gelje on Instagram.

Insider could not independently verify this claim. The climber was following Gelje’s account as of Monday, and it’s not clear if he previously blocked the mountain guide. However, Gelje shared an Instagram story on Tuesday that claimed Ravichandran had blocked him.

An Instagram story shared by Gelje claimed that Ravichandran had blocked the Sherpa.

Read More: Rescued Mt. Everest Climber Faces Backlash for Snubbing His Savior

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