KATHMANDU, Nepal — Apa Sherpa knows firsthand all the risks of climbing Mount Everest. He’s been to the summit 21 times.The potential for a COVID-19 outbreak at base camp had him just as fearful as a blizzard or cracking ice.The 60-year-old mountaineer from Nepal who now lives in Salt Lake City applauded the decision to shut down the routes to the top of the famed Himalayan mountain over concerns about the new coronavirus.That meant Sherpa didn’t have to worry about the health of anyone on the mountain, including his niece, nephew and cousin as they follow in his Everest-climbing footsteps.Now, he has another fear: How will those who work in the shadow of Everest make ends meet?The closure has significant financial ramifications for the local Sherpas, cooks, porters and others who make their living during the short climbing window.“I just feel bad,” said Apa Sherpa, who established a foundation to help Nepalese students with their education. “For everyone.”Phurba Ongel was all set for spring work guiding western climbers to the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) Everest summit when he heard the news nearly two weeks ago. He has already scaled Everest nine times and makes about $7,000 per season.That was money he desperately


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