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Climbers Evacuated From Everest Basecamp

The Himalayan climbing season has barely begun, but already climbers are being evacuated from Everest as nearly 200 climbers and support staff have fallen ill from altitude sickness.

The Khumbu area has had unusual amounts of early season snow and everyone is feeling it. For weeks, snow has blanketed the region as rain pours at lower elevation.

Some 15 climbers were evacuated to Kathmandu and another 150 had treatment at basecamp. The climbers complain about acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema.

“Most of the patients complained of altitude sickness, as adverse weather has taken a toll on climbing activities this spring season,” Govind Bashyal, an official at Feriche-based health centre run by Himalaya Rescue Association, said. “A foreigner was evacuated from Feriche after he was diagnosed with severe gastrointestinal bleeding.”

There are already 25 major camps set up at the Everest basecamp to provide a temporary shelter the 300 foreign climbers attempting the peak. The route through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall has been climbed and ropes are fixed.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is where excess fluid develops in the lungs, either in the lung tissue itself or in the space normally used for gas exchange. This means individuals are unable to perform gas exchange properly, and so person cannot get enough oxygen to function normally. It is caused, again, by poor acclimatisation and is often more common in males, although it is not clear whether this is behaviour related or due to genetic susceptibility.” – climbing-high.com

Everest and Lhotse on April 6, 2015.  Photo Alan Arnette
Everest and Lhotse on April 6, 2015. Photo Alan Arnette

Source: The Himalayan, Alan Arnette, climbing-high.com