05 May 2015 -
The season began in early April, after a snowy winter. The snow continued to
fall lightly through the middle of April and the temperatures remained
moderate. Our teams began arriving in Everest's Khumbu Valley at Lukla on 9
April. Our beautiful Himalayan trek arrived in basecamp on 17 April. While
acclimatising at basecamp we completed a series of fun training walks, ice
climbing practice sessions and forays into the mighty Khumbu icefall near
basecamp. On 25 April, after lots of rest and training, we climbed the icefall
during the wee hours up to camp 1 at 6,100 metres / 20,000 feet.
Upon arriving in Camp 1, we had just retreated inside the tents when, at 12:00
noon, the glacier we were camped upon began violently rolling like the ocean
and then a large avalanche let loose from the high above west ridge of Everest
sweeping camp 1 with spindrift snow and winds. We radioed down to basecamp to
find out that a huge ice avalanche from Mount Lingtren had destroyed basecamp.
Later we found out that that a 7.5 earthquake had hit the entire Nepal and
Tibet region with as many as 10,000 people dead or missing. In basecamp around
20 people had been killed or were missing in the aftermath of the 1 minute
earthquake. One of those tragically lost was Tom Taplin, a film maker who had
chosen to not climb up to camp 1, but rather to stay in his tent in basecamp.
He was later found hurled by high winds 300 metres / 500 feet from camp, near
his broken camera. Our deepest condolences to the lost climber's family,
friends, and colleagues. Needless to say, the route through the icefall was
destroyed, with little possibility of safe descent and all 100 plus people in
camp 1 were helicopter evacuated down to basecamp. Upon arrival we found
basecamp to be leveled flat, a total loss.
All teams spent the next several days digging through the snow for their lost
possessions, and then trekking and helicoptering back to Kathmandu. We wish
everyone a safe return and encourage all to lend a hand in rebuilding after
the tragic Himalayan Earthquake of April 2015. At this time of writing, the
Nepalese and Tibetan peoples are rapidly rebuilding and look forward to your
visit during September - October 2015 for Mounts Cho Oyu, Shishapangma,
Baruntse, Ama Dablam, Mera Peak, Everest Glacier School, EBC Trek and the
Summit of Mount Everest in Autumn 2015 and 2016. The situation is rapidly
stabilising, and returning to normal. Everyone is eager for your return to
freshly repaired and well maintained mountain routes, hotels, and lodges, to
boost their families' and villages' economies, and for renewed climbing
excitement on the highest, most beautiful peaks on Earth, the Nepalese and
Climbing a snow wall above
Camp 1. Zsolt Torok Photo.
Fishtail helicopter makes a
pickup from Camp 1 with Mount Pumori in the background. Matti Sunell Photo
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