22 April 2014 -
Today An historic meeting to wake the passing of 16 Sherpas on 18 April was
held during a beautiful sunny morning with the Khumbu Ice Fall as a backdrop.
In attendance were Sherpas, climbers, company leaders, medical personnel,
support teams, and the media. After a prayer ceremony, veteran leaders were
invited to speak on behalf of the fallen. The mountain will remain closed
until further notice. Some members of our team have decided to leave base camp
for a week to climb Mt. Lobuche for acclimitization and training.
We have been studying more about what caused the tragedy in the icefall on 18
May, which, it is now stated, took the lives of 16 Sherpas at 6:40 am. It
seems that the ice which buried the Sherpas originated from the West Ridge of
Everest, which looms far above the Khumbu icefall on the left side as the
viewer faces it from below, to the right and above the Lho La. The location of
the event can be seen approximately 1200 metres / 4000 feet as "the crow
flies" from our location at base camp. There exists an enourmous hanging
glacier which clings to the face of the West Ridge, and on the morning of
Friday, 18 April, a piece of this hanging glacier "calved" away from the main
glacier, tumbling at high speed down the steep face, shattering into many ice
pieces and burying the victims in its awful wake.
Some people have said that if the climbing
route were located more toward the center of the Khumbu icefall, rather than
being on the left side, beneath the hanging glacier, then perhaps there might
be less chance of climbers travelling within the trajectory of such calving
events. Moving the route to the center of the icefall, however, introduces
other risks. Thus, the route always involves some form of risk balance. While
route changes posssibly could save lives, of course "hindsight is 20/20" and
no amount of conjecturing will bring back the sad loss of our dear friends.
Wake meeting held in ABC on
22 April. Photo by Mike Fairman.
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