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Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

Everest Avalanche Kills 12 Guides, More Missing


KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving four missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak. Several more were injured.

The Sherpa guides had gone early in the morning to fix ropes for other climbers when the avalanche hit them at about 6:30 a.m., Nepal Tourism Ministry official Krishna Lamsal said from the base camp where he is monitoring rescue efforts.

An injured survivor told his relatives that the path up the mountain was unstable just before the avalanche. As soon as the avalanche hit, rescuers, guides and climbers rushed to help.

Four survivors were injured badly enough to require airlifting to a hospital in Katmandu. One arrived during the day, and three taken to the foothill town of Lukla could be evacuated Saturday. Others with less serious injuries were being treated at base camp.

Rescue workers pulled out 12 bodies from under mounds of snow and ice and were searching for the four missing guides, Lamsal said. Officials had earlier said three were missing.

The avalanche hit an area nicknamed the "popcorn field" for its bulging chucks of ice and is just below Camp 2, Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said. Camp 2 sits at an elevation of 6,400 meters (21,000 feet) on the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain.

One injured guide, Dawa Tashi, lay in the intensive care unit at Grande Hospital in the capital late Friday after being evacuated from the mountain. Doctors said he suffered several broken ribs and would be in the hospital for a few days.

Tashi told his visiting relatives that the Sherpa guides woke up early and were on their way to fix ropes to the higher camps but were delayed because of the unsteady path. Suddenly the avalanche fell on the group and buried many of them, according to Tashi's sister-in-law Dawa Yanju.

Hundreds of climbers, guides and support crews are at Everest's base camp preparing to climb to the summit when weather conditions will be at their most favorable early next month. They have been setting up camps at higher altitudes, and guides have been fixing routes and ropes on the slopes above.

The Sherpa people are one of the main ethnic groups in Nepal's alpine region, and many make their living as climbing guides on Everest and other Himalayan peaks.

More than 4,000 climbers have summited Everest since 1953, when it was first conquered by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Hundreds have died attempting to reach the peak.

The worst recorded disaster on Everest had been a snowstorm on May 11, 1996, that caused the deaths of eight climbers. Six Nepalese guides were killed in an avalanche in 1970.

Earlier this year, Nepal announced several steps to better manage the heavy flow of climbers and speed up rescue operations. The steps included the dispatch of officials and security personnel to the base camp at 5,300 meters (17,380 feet), where they will stay throughout the spring climbing season that ends in May.

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pch514 April 18 2014 at 8:40 PM

My deepest sympathies to the families of the Sherpa guides who have lost their loved ones.I agree the people climbing are probably rich ego minded sob;s who are looking for a thrill . as to the way they litter this beautiful mountain thay should be ashamed of themselves. wouldthey do the same to their own home

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Rich April 18 2014 at 9:30 AM

these are sherpas that died, these are locals that do the serious dangerous work so that the rich foreign climbers have a relative cake walk (compared to what they would have without the sherpas).........Sherpas set up climbing ropes, ladders, safety gear all the way up the mountain for the convience of their rich employers, this is their lively hood as compared to their rich employers who take the easy route (because of the sherpas) for their cheap glory..............

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rebekab42 April 18 2014 at 7:38 AM

My condolences to those who lost love ones on Mount Everest and with hope and God's will, the remaining three will be found alive.

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dworkenlaw1 April 18 2014 at 8:26 AM

Why do humans swim the English Channel, jump from airplanes, climb the highest mountains, race cars at hundreds of miles an hour?

Because we are humans. Ain't saying it's right or wrong. Just saying it is.

Prayers and peace to those who lost their lives.

Thanks for listening.

Patrick

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1 reply
TruthBeKnown dworkenlaw1 April 18 2014 at 9:01 AM

dw, Those are dumb people.
Me- I will just set here and crochet.. or compute..
Oh Oh ~~stuck myself in the eye with a needle, and my computer froozzzzze..
Gosh ~~ I guess hard times are everywhere..LOL
But mine wasn't deliberate.

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1 reply
jethroe3 TruthBeKnown April 18 2014 at 9:23 AM

are you for real

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bryanmerrittper2 April 18 2014 at 8:21 AM

That's a very dangerous mountain every year people are killed trying to climb it. Ask why? Because it's there. That's your answer.

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3 replies
reafly April 18 2014 at 10:17 AM

Nature is so powerful that many underestimate and can't relate to the risks. I am sorry they lost their lives. Those that climbed to the summit without ladders, ropes and oxygen tanks are the true climbers. IMHO the more that climb Mt. Everest are taking away the true achievement of earlier climbers that didn't have the aforementioned to scale this incredible feat.

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sandy April 18 2014 at 6:34 AM

I know there are adventurers...but I think the need to stop trying to climb the mountain and just stand back and take a look at the majesty of the mountain.

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joynerz April 18 2014 at 6:31 AM

I read about the dangers of scaling the last few hundred yards to the summit. The odds
of making it to the top are worse than russian roulette. You have about a 50/50 chance
of making it without being pushed back by foul weather that can occur within seconds.
Those odds I wouldn't want to risk.

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1 reply
Matt joynerz April 18 2014 at 7:28 AM

I believe that the possibility exists that there may be something very spiritual about the top of that mountain.

Has anyone ever reached its top? If hundreds have died trying, shouldn't that be a very loud and clear message?

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dan_crabtree April 18 2014 at 9:32 AM

Sadly has turned into the disney world of the world now...littered with trash last time i read an article on this once sacred mountain...What can be said other than tourist and there expectations sent these unfortunate sherpas out for the next flock of tourist..shame indeed..

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Marcie April 18 2014 at 8:01 AM

How sad. The Sherpas know their stuff. But Everest can kill anyone, anytime. You wouldn't catch me up there. Too scary.

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