A climber is being 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 the mountain guide Gelje Sherpa and his Chinese client, who were on their way to Everest's summit.
Ravichandran was stuck in the mountain's infamous "death zone," where oxygen is limited, and temperatures can drop below minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gelje found Ravichandran shivering from the cold, grasping a rope, and with no bottled oxygen, Sherpas, or 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.
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," one commenter wrote.
"You're alive thanks to a sherpa," another wrote.
Twitter users accused Ravichandran of deleting comments that spoke negatively of him.
Insider could not independently verify this claim. The climber was following Gelje's account as of Monday, and it's unclear if he previously blocked the mountain guide. However, Gelje shared an Instagram story on Tuesday that claimed Ravichandran had blocked him.
Much of the criticism levied against Ravichandran focuses on him reserving his main acknowledgments for the Sherpas working for 14th Peaks Expedition, a climbing-sports company that he is partnered with.
The company 14th Peaks Expedition also took part in the rescue, though its team only reached Ravichandran later — after Gelje had carried the Malaysian to Camp 4 on his own.
Gelje runs the company AGA Adventures and does not work for 14th Peaks Expedition. The company's cofounder, Adriana Brownlee, told Insider that he neither worked with nor for Ravichandran.
After receiving waves of negative comments, Ravichandran eventually acknowledged Gelje in a list of Sherpas who pitched in to rescue him. However, he credited Gelje under his partner organization.
Gelje thanked Ravichandran on Sunday evening for mentioning him in the post. "Thank you, hope you are recovering well," the Sherpa commented.
Gelje has since received an outpouring of support on social media from Malaysians, who have commented on his old posts to thank him for rescuing Ravichandran.
This spring has seen one of Everest's deadliest climbing seasons, with 12 people confirmed dead on expeditions and another five climbers missing.
Insider reached out to Gelje via his company and personal social media for comment on Ravichandran's interactions with him. Brownlee, Gelje's business partner, responded that the Sherpa hoped the situation would "cool off."
When contacted about the online backlash, Ravichandran sent Insider a link to an Instagram video with no further comment. The video features Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, a mountain guide and the founder of 14th Peak Expedition, speaking of Ravichandran's rescue and praising the climber's relationship with his partner Sherpas.
In the clip, Tashi speaks on his phone with an unknown man, who asks him if Ravichandran personally thanked the Sherpas who saved him. Tashi agreed that this happened.
Tashi also said that Ravichandran reached the summit of Everest on May 17 with two of 14th Peaks Expedition's Sherpas, but did not speak further of the guides' exact whereabouts during the rescue.
Ravichandran appeared to suffer from hypothermia during his descent, and 14th Peaks Expedition organized a rescue team, Tashi said. That was when Gelje found Ravichandran, Tashi added.
It's unclear from Tashi's conversation where Ravichandran's original two guides were at the time.
Tashi and Ravichandran did not respond to further requests for comment from Insider.
June 8, 2023: This story was updated to reflect a response from Ravichandran.
Read the original article on Insider