For the Sherpas, however, the avalanche swept away more than their summit bids: 8 million people in 39 districts have been affected by the devastation. And on a practical scale, Sherpas may be unable to afford giving up guiding, which brings in far more income than other jobs in the area. But with extreme weather events such as this becoming more frequent, an extremely risky job becomes even more dangerous.
"I think there is certainly concern, people thinking this happened two years in a row, do I want to go back for a third year?" said Gordon Janow, director of programs for Alpine Ascents International.
Sherpas typically get paid $3,000-5,000 a season; the average yearly income is $700. Many, if not most, Western climbers would be unable to summit without them.
"After a second year of trauma, they're really going to have to take stock of these kinds of jobs, and do some deep reflecting on whether it's worth it," Miller said.
Because Sherpas view the mountain through a spiritual lens, Miller said, they may see the avalanche as a message, that perhaps the mountain doesn't want to be climbed right now.
"The Sherpas believe that Mt. Everest is the mother goddess of the earth," Miller said. "That mountain holds a lot of spiritual energy. It puts them in a place of doubt and fear."
Next year is symbolized by the monk on the Tibetan calendar, "a bad year," mountaineer Alan Arnette wrote on his blog from Nepal. "No new buildings, marriages, etc. will begin after the new year in February. This could have an impact on the Himalayan climbing season after (the avalanches in) 2014 and 2015."
The key, Janow said, is for climbers to be respectful and support the Sherpas as they re-adjust to life in Nepal.
"The Sherpas, cooks, porters -- all have higher priorities than supporting climbers," Arnette wrote. "This earthquake is a Nepal tragedy, not a mountaineering event."