Late last week, an avalanche on Mount Everest’s treacherous Khumbu icefall swept through a group of about 50 Nepalese sherpas and killed 16, making for the single deadliest event in the mountain’s history. The sherpas were preparing for Everest’s spring climbing season at a height of about 20,000 feet—a bit higher up than Everest’s base camp—when the avalanche came through the icefall, dislodging massive chunks of ice.
Meanwhile, some of them were also preparing for a Discovery Channel special called Everest Jump Live, in which Californian climber Joby Ogwyn would ascend the peak and leap off it as film crews and viewers watched, all while wearing a winged suit equipped with cameras. The suit would allow him to glide for some time before parachuting down the rest of the way.
As majestic and awe-inspiring as that sounds, Deadline reports that Discovery Channel canceled the event early this week, two days after the avalanche. According to the network, it’s officially because the team wants to focus on the rescue efforts. But part of it may also be that the sherpas on Everest—who make their livelihood assisting foreign climbers up and down the mountain in the spring climbing season—are prematurely ending this year’s season, out of respect for their fallen companions.
The Guardian reports that many climbers are now out of the tens of thousands of dollars they’ve already spent just getting to base camp. NBC’s Peacock Productions, which co-produced Everest Jump Live, is presumably missing some cash, too.