Nepal’s Sherpa guides have decided to come down from Mount Everest base camp in the aftermath of an avalanche that killed 16 of them last week, authorities said on Saturday.

“Almost all the Sherpas have decided to return now,” said Lhakpa Sherpa, general secretary of the Nepal Mountaineers Instructors Association. “Those who are climbing under sponsorship are still waiting to climb as it’s not their own decision, but individual climbers have returned.” He said only some groups were still waiting.

“I have heard of no teams planning to climb and at least 10 have said they are leaving officially, including: AC, AAI, IMG, JG, AT — these are the largest teams with the most Sherpa who do all the real work,” Alan Arnette, a US mountaineer wrote on his blog from the base camp.

“Without them, the season is over.

“The remaining wild card is Himex and Altitude Junkies who have not said anything official but it would be tough for them to go on their own, but not impossible.” The Trekking Agents Association of Nepal said another avalanche in the Khumbu icefall region had further discouraged climbers.

On Thursday, government officials met with mountaineers at base camp, urging them to continue, and extended the climbing permits that expire this season for another five years.

Guides were calling off their expeditions out of safety concerns following the deadly April 18 avalanche, and in protest at the compensation paid to the victims, which many say was too low.

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