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Everest: “Season Closed,” – Raphael Slawinski

Following the earthquake and aftershocks in Nepal that caused avalanches on and around Mount Everest that killed a number of people, the climbing season has been closed.

The first word of the closing from the north side came to us from Raphael Slawinski, “We just came out of a meeting with officials of the China Tibet Mountaineering Association. It’s official: Everest’s closed for the season. Now begins the long journey home.”

Alan Arnette, a seasoned Himalayan climber, reported, “First, I want to say that this earthquake is a Nepal tragedy, not a mountaineering event. My deep, deep condolences to all of Nepal, victims, injured and homeless. No country deserves this, much less the gentle people of Nepal.”

How Canadians can help the relief effort in Nepal.

The Icefall Doctors who are responsible for securing a route through between Basecamp and camp one retreated to Gorak Shep after their camp was destroyed and because of another large avalanche on April 29, the Khumbu Icefall has been deemed too risky. Aftershocks continue to rattle the mountains sending more avalanches down ever day. Over 19 people have reportedly lost their lives at Basecamp.

Most climbers on the Nepal side have left the mountain already according to a number of news sources. However, it seems a few have stayed at Basecamp, a decision many will surely criticize. Himex posted this today:

Our Himex team will stay at Everest BC for the next few days and we will then decide if we will continue or not. Talking to Phurba he tells me that the Sherpas are ready to go back to BC and to assess the conditions in a few days time and will then make a collective decision. This morning when I was at the airport I had a meeting with the NMA and the Minister of MoT and he gave us permission to fly loads to C1, but only after the helicopters come free from rescue operations which we of course totally agree with.

The mountains in Nepal have moved and some experts suggest their heights have changed. Read National Geographic’s report: Did the earthquake change the height of Everest?

American alpinist Colin Haley, who spends much of his season climbing in Canada, was in the Langtang Valley when the earthquake hit. Matt Samet wrote about the disaster’s impact in the Langtang here. Haley told Canadian Sarah Hart over satellite phone, “I was thrown 100 feet through the air.” Haley and his partner, Aymeric Clouet, were uninjured.

“Next year is the year of the monk, a bad year on the Tibetan calendar thus no new buildings, marriages, etc. will begin after the new year in February,” wrote Arnette. “This could have an impact on the Himalayan climbing season after such bad years in 2014 and 2015.”

Everest – A Tribute to the Fallen from Elia Saikaly on Vimeo.

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