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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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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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JudieKopfman April 18 2014 at 2:40 PM

I am sure those living in the small town in Napal wish there was another way to make a living to be able to care for their family. Since there is no industry, the Nepalese guides can only use the resources they have locally. It's not like the USA where you can just travel to another place to find employment. I'm sure they have no Welfare system there or handouts to take care of the poor. You do the best you can do with what you have, which is why so many of the men are poorly paid guides from that area, but it's enough to barely survive. To all of those who lost their life, Condolences are extended.

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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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alanwahlstrom April 18 2014 at 11:24 AM

It's funny how some people like to look at the Everest guides as somehow being less than the "real " mountain climbers they are guiding when, in fact, they are the ones who have stood on top many, many times.. probably long before most of the people who are paying them even left junior high school.

My sincere condolences to all involved.

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1 reply
wlh1923 alanwahlstrom April 18 2014 at 12:19 PM

I wasn't talking about the Sherpa guides at all you azzole, I was talking about how the quest to "summit" Everest has become a running joke. Apparently reading comprehension isn't your strong suit. Junior high school? They have junior high schools in Nepal?

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tisaacs@columbus.rr.com April 18 2014 at 10:59 AM

Read "Paths of Glory" by Jeffrey Archer for a great book about the efforts of George Mallory to
conquer Mt. Everest in the early 1920's.

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2 replies
boglere tisaacs@columbus.rr.com April 18 2014 at 11:16 AM

An excellent steer to a good read. I just read it recently.

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valleybusiness tisaacs@columbus.rr.com April 18 2014 at 11:44 AM

Here's how you "conquer Mt. Everest". You crack open a beer, give it the finger, and walk away to see a movie!

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evonie55 April 18 2014 at 10:34 AM

To those guides who were killed & missing, my prayers, sympathy to their families. While the climbers get the glory, it's the guides who get them there as safely as possible.

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1 reply
ghelsius evonie55 April 18 2014 at 11:06 AM

Bless you, Peace

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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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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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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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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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