At least eight people are dead and others missing, following an avalanche on Mount Everest prompted by a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in nearby Kathmandu, Saturday. In Nepal, at least 688 people are confirmed dead in total, according to local police, with other deaths reported in neighbouring countries. Climbers took to Twitter to say that the Khumbu Icefall route to Everest’s summit had collapsed. A Massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone.
The Icefall is on the Nepali slopes of Everest, and isn’t far from basecamp. It’s known as one of the most dangerous stages of the climb. An official with Nepal’s mountaineering department, Gyanendra Shretha, said the bodies of eight people had been recovered, and an unknown number remain missing or injured.
Nepal’s Home Ministry had earlier said that 30 people were injured at base camp, while other climbers gave unconfirmed reports of more avalanches elsewhere on the mountain.
Climber Robin Trygg told Swedish news agency TT that his Sherpa guides had been in radio contact with other guides on Everest, and that they reported an avalanche there hitting as many as 80 people. “We were sitting in the tent and drinking tea when the earth, all of a sudden, began shaking. We didn’t understand what happened,” he said.
The 2015 season was already expected to be a challenging one. Last year, 16 Nepalese guides were killed in an avalanche. Following the incident, Sherpas announced that they wouldn’t work on the world’s highest mountain for the rest of 2014 as a mark of respect for victims.
Prior to that, the single deadliest accident on Everest happened in May 1996, when eight people were caught in a blizzard ,and died while trying to reach the summit. That incident was chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s bestselling book, Into Thin Air. Read more…