Just last year in April we morned the loss of 16 Sherpa on Everest after a large avalanche swept them away in the Khumbu Icefall. It was the worst disaster in Everest history.
This past Saturday, a 7.8 earthquake caused rock, ice, and debris to come crashing down on Mt. Everest base camp killing 18 Sherpa and climbers and injuring 61. This is now by far Everest’s worst disaster in history.
“A massive ice slab sheared and thundered into base camp. It lifted rocks and boulders ahead of it, slamming into hundreds of tents in the center of the camp.” – Sean Wisedale, South African climber
Somewhere around 100 to 200 climbers were located above Everest base camp at Camps 1 and 2 when the earthquake struck. They all appear to have come through uninjured. The difficulty now is getting them all down by helicopter. These stranded climbers cannot descend due to the Khumbu icefall having been ravaged by the earthquake and its subsequent icefall and avalanches.
“Bottom line, the icefall has been deemed impassable at this point.” – Alan Arnette, a climber and Everest blogger who was at Camp 2 when the avalanche struck
Helicopters are evacuating the Camp 1 and 2 climbers two at a time.
“They land every 10 minutes here. I estimate half the people have been rescued, and it’s probably less than 200 people in the mountain this morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if 100 people came down already.” – Carsten Pedersen, a Danish climber at Base Camp
Will Everest climbing season go on after this worst-ever disaster?
Everest seems to deliver nothing but disaster these days making one wonder if Everest has had enough. Does Everest need to be left alone for a while? Maybe so.
Elsewhere in Nepal, over 3,900 people have been killed and many have been injured during the violent earthquake on Saturday. It was the strongest earthquake in Nepal since 1934, when more than 8,500 people were killed.
The original earthquake also took victims in India, Bangladesh, and Tibet.
A 6.7 magnitude aftershock rocked Nepal on Sunday causing panic and added stress.