Trapped on Everest: Evacuations and Rescues Continue
The chaos continues one day after the 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal. Over 60 survivors from an avalanche that leveled most of Base Camp on Mount Everest have been evacuated to the capital Kathmandu.
At least 22 climbers are confirmed dead and some reports suggest 217 are missing. Some 100 climbers are stuck at camp one and two and are running out of food and supplies. There are only a few helicopters that are shuttling people off the mountain and it’s a slow process. “We have been up here at camp two hanging tough, but we are running low on food and fuel, and we have to get down,” Garrett Madison, an American guide leading an expedition, said.
At camp one, James Grieve from Scotland reported, “We’re in a race against time to get off.” Alex Staniforth is a British climber who is with Grieve and posted this on Facebook, “Aftershock at 1 p.m. Horrible here in camp one. Avalanches on three sides. Camp one a tiny island. We worry about icefall team below..Alive”
The Sherpas in charge of the Khumbu Icefall route are known as the Icefall Doctors. Their camp was flattened and one of their team members was reportedly killed. The rest have left Basecamp for Gorak Shep, the closest place to seek shelter to Base Camp. For now, there is no way to navigate through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall, which means all trapped climbers above must be heli-lifted out or wait for a new route to be established.
On the north side of the mountain, everyone is accounted for (including two Canadians). The Sherpa were fixing ropes when the quake struck and they reported the mountain changed quickly as crevasses opened and avalanches thundered all around. Earthquakes are still shaking the area and no one is allowed to climb for the next six days from the north. Not only that, but their trails in and out of the north-side basecamp, which is on a large flat area far from avalanche danger, are reportedly ruined. The Sherpa on the north side are trying to reach family members in Nepal and at other mountain camps, but communication is limited.
With poor weather expected mid-week, there are plans to evacuate as many people as possible. Monday’s operation will undoubtedly be one of the largest rescue operations ever in the Himalayas.
While there has been no official announcement, it seems the Everest season is over. Whether or not the climbers on the north side will continue with their expeditions is unknown, but with continuing earthquakes and avalanches it seems unlikely.
The Nepalese Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman has said the death toll from the earthquake in Nepal is up to 3,218.
Watch a terrifying video of the avalanche
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– We will continue to update as more details become available. Follow @grippedmagazine.
Sources: National Geographic, CBC, Alan Arnette