Last year's physical confrontation, however, was unprecedented, and may have struck panic into Nepalese officials. The fees that climbers pay for access to Everest make it a cash cow for the country.
"You don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg," Isserman said. "What I imagine is going on is that they think, ‘We have to recreate a sense of stability and safety so that foreigners can come here and climb the mountain and not run into trouble.'"
As of last week, there was no sign of police at Base Camp, said Peter Hansen, a historian at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and author of "The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment."
Even if they police show up, he said, they were probably unnecessary. One reason is that most of the Sherpas' feelings of anger and frustration are aimed not at foreign climbers but at the Nepali government, which many have argued, doesn't do enough to compensate them for the risks they take on.
The media has also overblown reports of overcrowding and fighting, said Linden Mallory, a guide for RMI Expeditions in Ashford, Wash., who summited Everest with clients in 2011 and spent all or part of three other seasons at Base Camp since 2009.