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with Stefan Nestler

Rescue runs on Mount Everest

Rescue in Everest Base Camp

Rescue in Everest Base Camp

My heart is heavy. My thoughts are with the people in Nepal – and also with the climbers on Mount Everest. After the devastating earthquake on Saturday, the death toll is rising continuously. Meanwhile, it’s more than 2,000 across the country. And also from the base camp on the Nepalese side of Everest more and more victims are reported. As reported before, yesterday’s earthquake had triggered a huge avalanche from the seven-thousander Pumori vis-a-vis Everest that had hit the Base Camp at 5,300 meters. Today, the area was shaken by ​​strong aftershocks of magnitude 6.7 on the Richter scale. “Another three small avalanches. All good. Pfiu!!!” Romanian climber Alex Gavan tweeted. German mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits told me via satellite telephone that a very strong aftershock was also felt on the Tibetan north side: “But everything’s okay. The Sherpas told me that yesterday’s earthquake triggered an avalanche at the North Col. However, no one was hurt.”

At least 17 dead recovered

Trail of devastation

Trail of devastation

Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association NMA told Reuters that at least 17 bodies were recovered and more than 60 injured climbers were rescued on the Nepalese south side of Everest. More than 20 injured were flown by helicopter to Pheriche, a small village at 4,371 meters where the Himalayan Rescue Association has been running a small clinic for many years. The doctors in Pheriche are unlikely prepared for such a large number of injured climbers. But a further transport to the capital Kathmandu currently makes little sense because the hospitals there are overcrowded.

Icefall route “relatively intact”

The route through the Khumbu Icefall which is secured with aluminum ladders and fixed ropes had been destroyed in parts by the quake. Therefore more than 100 climbers had to stay overnight in Camp 1 and 2 above 6000 meters. Some of them were flown down by helicopter.  Meanwhile, other climbers were able to descend through the icefall. A member of the US expedition organizer Mountain Trip reported that the route was “relatively intact”. He said, that also in the high camps were a few injured climbers, which would now be brought down. Others suffered from altitude sickness. Mountaineers in Base Camp spoke of at least 20 dead, many climbers were still missing. Three victims from the USA have been named: an expedition doctor, a cameraman and a mountaineer, who was a Google executive.

One tragedy among very many

Kathmandu, the day after

Kathmandu, the day after

Even with the now recovered 17 dead, yesterday’s avalanche is the worst disaster in the history of Everest climbing. Last year, 16 Nepalese climbers were killed in an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall. In respect of more than 2,000 earthquake victims throughout Nepal yesterday’s avalanche on Everest is one tragedy among very, very many.

Update 13.15: An official of the Nepalese Tourism Ministry said that at least 22 bodies have been recovered in the Everest region, 17 in Base camp, five below. More than 200 people were missing in the region.


26. April 2015 | 10:49