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Nancy Hansen Off Everest and In Tibet

Nancy Hansen’s attempt to climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen was put to an end after the earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. She describes her devastating experience returning back to safety and dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake. 

Hansen said, “Many have asked how I am feeling about the earthquakes and the end of the Everest attempt, and the closest I can come to describing how I feel is ‘empty.’”

Hansen said that she initially didn’t realize the severity of the earthquake and did not have the equipment to receive outside communication. When it hit, she didn’t understand that it was an earthquake, despite having to dodge huge boulders rolling down the slopes. However, after the second one hit a few hours later, Hansen realized what was going on as the boulders she sat on to have lunch began to move beneath her.

When reality hit Hansen and she became aware of the seriousness of the situation, she contemplated whether to immediately return to base camp or not. The road leading back to Nepal was destroyed so her group and the other Nepalese staff were stranded on the mountain. After returning back to basecamp, she found many other groups frantically packing and trying to figure out how to go back home with their hundreds of pounds of gear. Hansen said, “All the gear had to be packed up and carried back down again, including thousands of pounds of untouched food and fuel. We are hoping that some of these supplies will make it into homes that need it.”

Hansen is currently in Lhasa, Tibet, which is a fourteen-hour drive from Everest base camp. The Chinese – Tibet Mountaineering Association is helping climbers like Hansen organize their flights and visas back home. She is planning to fly to Kathmandu on May 7 to help provide relief to those affected by the earthquake.

A photo of Nancy Hansen  taken days before the earthquake in Nepal. Canadian Hansen and Raphael Slawinski are reported to be safe on the north side of Everest.  Photo Courtesey of the Alpine Club of Canada
A photo of Nancy Hansen taken days before the earthquake in Nepal. Canadian Hansen and Raphael Slawinski are reported to be safe on the north side of Everest. Photo Courtesey of the Alpine Club of Canada

Written by Gripped intern Sophia Vlahos with information from the Alpine Club of Canada.