Tragedy on the Mountain

Avalanche on Everest

Avalanche on Everest, near base camp, 2013

Saturday Morning at 05:00 as the Day Begins…

Two years ago, trekking toward base camp, admiring the majestic beauty of the Himalaya, I heard rumbling. When I looked up, I saw an avalanche, far enough away not to wreak havoc that day, but close enough to leave a sobering thought of how everything can change in a split second. This morning, I woke up to multiple texts at 05:00. #NepalQuake. Though I didn’t get to bed until 01:00 after my shift last night, I couldn’t go back to sleep. Emailing/texting/Facebooking friends to find out who was safe, using Facebook’s safety check-in, working with the #WildMedMag staff to get an article out so that WMS members and friends could share info, and find out what was going on – a lot happened before 8am. Amazingly, the Nepal Ambulance System is up and running, hospitals are open, Everest ER staff are safe after digging out from the avalanche snow, and are helping the injured at the IMG camp. Even more amazingly, a Nepali doctor friend that I met in the Khumbu two years ago, just flew to the US from Kathmandu 2 days ago, to embark on training opportunities in the US. Right place, right time. I am in awe of the responders who are jumping on planes tonight, amazed at the resilience of the Nepali people, the climbing community and humanitarians who are digging out injured people to get them the medical attention they need. As of now, over 2200 are dead. Many more missing. 17 killed on the mountain consumed by the quake-triggered-avalanche, and many more injured. It’s hard to imagine the scene.


Pumori 2013 – site of quake-induced avalanche this morning

How are things on the Mountain?

Bryan Simon’s article from Wilderness Medicine lists what we know about the status of various expeditions as of this morning. Since the article was posted, we’ve heard (mostly via Facebook):

  • Update from IMG Partner, Eric Simonson: 14 dead, 50 injured at Everest Base Camp from ice fall and ensuing avalanche off of the saddle between Pumori and Lingtren. Many crush type injuries from this and the shifting of rocks from the quake. Snowing all afternoon – no helicopters were able to reach EBC today.
  • Himalayan Rescue Association Clinics in Manang and Pheriche are ok.
  • International Porter Protection Group (IPPG) rescue posts in Machermo and Gokyo are all okay.
  • British Army Expedition safe at Advanced base camp 6400 m
  • RMI (Rainier Mountaineering Inc.) reports on their FB page that all climbers are safe at Camp 1, base camp manager and Sherpas safe at EBC.
  • Gurkha Expedition safe, accounted for on Everest
  • Alpenglow Expeditions and Adventure Peaks are safe on the north side
  • Alpine Ascents International reports all safe on Everest. Their larger tents are being used for medical purposes.
  • David Breashears, the American mountaineer and filmmaker who has summited Mount Everest five times and recently returned for another expedition, is alive and currently safe at Camp 1
  •  “Wild Women on Top (Australia)” ok (at airport when quake hit)
  • Ken Zafren and crew (HRA) are safe in Dingboche

As the new day dawns in Nepal, Outside Magazine provides an idea of what can be expected in terms of immediate rescues. 

Who’s Helping Out? (Where you can donate and potentially sign up for future disaster response teams)

Google Person Finder / Info Providor Tool – Web-based and text-based people finder tool for the #NepalQuake

International Medical Corps

Everest ER

Nepal Ambulance Service

Medecins sans frontières

“No Day Like Today”

Lyrics from the musical Rent. Keeping friends and the people of Nepal in my thoughts and prayers, today reminds me that every day is a chance to be grateful for all that you have, and an opportunity to get closer to living the kind of life you want. Whether it’s Applying to graduate school, asking for a raise or going for a promotion at work, local volunteer work with your community, international volunteer work, exploring new work opportunities, fighting for civil rights in your city, state and country, going out on a date, getting out of a relationship you have no business being in, training for a triathlon, going for your first run, growing a garden, getting a puppy, hanging out with friends or family you haven’t seen in way too long, trying that paddle-board yoga class, there’s no better day than today to do it.

Namaste and Hugs

Mt. Everest (8.848 meters or 29,029 feet). The world's highest mountain as seen from Kalapatthar

Mt. Everest (8.848 meters or 29,029 feet). The world’s highest mountain as seen from Kalapatthar, demanding respect


6 thoughts on “Tragedy on the Mountain

  1. Pingback: The Khumbu Miss List #tbt | Wild Medicine Girl

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