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Three Strong Climbers Missing in Huge Himalayan Avalanche

Some of the strongest mountain guides in Nepal are in the area helping in the search

A big avalanche on the peak Mingbo Eiger (6,017 m) in the Himalayas struck three strong young alpinists from France. They were on the west face of the peak, which is found close to Ama Dablam.

According to the publication Le Dauphine, the climbers missing are Thomas Arfi, Louis Pachoud, and Gabriel Miloche. They were climbing in the area with an eight-person team from France, which is composed of some of the best young climbers in the country. They had climbed a number of peaks over the past few weeks, often in smaller teams, including a new line on Nare Ri Shar.

Stephane Benoist, who’s a member of the eight-person team, said that climbers had separated into two teams. He also said the others believe the avalanche killed the three climbers, and that they’re devastated.

The French Federation of Mountain Clubs said in a press release that Arfi, Pachoud and Miloche “had planned four days for this ascent.” And that, “After a whole day of scouting with binoculars to assess the snow conditions and ensure the weather window, they decide to begin the ascent. On the evening of 26, contact was established by satellite phone from the bivouac where the climbers were installed. The first day of climbing went smoothly.”

The French Embassy sent up an aerial search after the climbers did not return, and that’s when a helicopter found signs of the avalanche and gear beneath the avalanche slope.

The National Mountain Guides Association of Nepal has deployed a team of rescuers, including some of the top guides in the country, including Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Vinayak Malla, Ang Dawa Sherpa, Tshering Sherpa and Pemba Gyalzen Sherpa.