2015 Mount Everest avalanches

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Everest's North face from Tibet
Everest from Gokyo Ri

During the afternoon of 25 April 2015, a MW 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal and surrounding countries. Shaking from the quake triggered an avalanche from Pumori into the basecamp on Mount Everest. At least twenty-two people were killed, surpassing an avalanche that occurred the previous year as the deadliest disaster on the mountain.[1]

Avalanches[edit]

The avalanche is reported to have started between Pumori (Left) and Lingtren (middle peak)[2] Khumbutse to the right

Mount Everest was approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi) east of the epicentre, and between 700 and 1,000 people were on or near the mountain when the earthquake struck,[3][4] including 359 climbers at Base Camp, many of whom had returned after the aborted 2014 season.[5] The earthquake triggered several large avalanches on and around the mountain. One avalanche, originating on the nearby peak of Pumori, swept into South Base Camp and blew many tents across the Khumbu Glacier towards the lower Icefall.[6][3][7][8][9] An Indian Army mountaineering team recovered the bodies of 19 mountaineers from the South Base Camp and rescued at least 61 stranded climbers from the mountain.[10][11][12]

At least 61 people were injured, with dozens initially reported missing, and many more stranded at camps at higher elevations, having lost secure descent routes.[3][8][13][14][15][16][17]

Rescue operations[edit]

Map showing peak locations

Helicopters reached Mount Everest on the morning of 26 April to commence rescue operations,[18] managing to transport 22 of the badly injured to Pheriche village, before the operation was halted by bad weather.[19] Pheriche is an important stopover for climbers, and has a rudimentary hospital staffed by volunteer doctors from the Himalayan Rescue Association.

Later that day, a helicopter reportedly evacuated several climbers from Camp I, the first camp above Base Camp, with some 100 mountaineers still unable to safely descend from Camps I and II.[20] Expedition leaders decided to try to evacuate climbers from Camp I by repairing the route through the Khumbu Icefall. On 26 April, a helicopter dropped additional technical gear at Camp I, and a team of Sherpas and foreign guides attempted to re-establish the route from the top back down to Base Camp. Simultaneously, another team dispatched from Base Camp tried to re-establish the route from the bottom up. But this attempt was unsuccessful as a subsequent avalanche took out most of the ladders and reportedly killed three Sherpas at Khumbu Icefall, pushing the death toll on the mountain to at least 24.[21] Further climbers were rescued via helicopter on 27 April.[22] Climbers at Base Camp posted on Twitter in the days after the disaster, writing of "great desolation" and "high uncertainty" among those who were left, and stating that the area looked as if it had been hit by a nuclear bomb; one mountaineer, commenting on Facebook, said that people stuck higher up on the mountain were "getting desperate".[23] On 27 April, 60 people were rescued from Camp I and 170 were rescued from Camp II.[24] Seventeen bodies were found on 25 April, and one was found on 27 April. On 26 April, one of the 61 badly injured died at KMC hospital.[24]

Deaths[edit]

Lingtren, Khumbtse and Everest
Pumori and Lingtren
Pumori
Nepal side Everest Base camp
Khumbtse overlooks base camp
A view of Everest southeast ridge
View of Sagarmatha National Park

A Nepal Mountaineering Association report on 28 April listed 19 deaths, of which 10 were identified as Nepalese Sherpas and five were foreign climbers. Four were not identified by name.[25] The five climbers were listed as two Americans, one Chinese, one Australian and one Japanese.[26] On 27 April, National Geographic reported 24 deaths.[21]

Google executive Dan Fredinburg, who was climbing Everest with three company employees while mapping the area for a future Google Earth-type project,[27] and three other Americans, were confirmed dead.[28][29]

Effect on 2015 climbing season[edit]

Although the ladders at the Khumbu Icefall were damaged by the avalanches, a handful of mountaineers, undeterred by the disaster, immediately sought Nepalese government permission to continue with their attempt on the mountain[30] and were granted permission to do so on 29 April 2015.[31] "The ladders will be repaired in the next two to three days and climbing will continue, there is no reason for anyone to quit their expedition," said Tulsi Gautam, chief of the Nepal Department of Tourism. "There is no scientific reason to expect another quake... and we feel the ground is stable enough for climbing despite aftershocks."[31]

It was later announced the closure of routes over the icefall for the remainder of the season, the second consecutive year that the mountain has been closed due to avalanches.[32] After the second earthquake on 12 May 2015, Dambar Parajuli, president of the Expedition Operators' Association of Nepal, said there were no climbers or Nepali sherpa guides remaining at Everest Base Camp.[33] As a result, no one climbed Mount Everest in the spring of 2015, the first time in 41 years that this has happened.[5]

List of casualties[edit]

Casualties included:

  1. Hiroshi Yamagata[26]
  2. Renu Fotedar[34][26]
  3. Ge Zhenfang[26](aka Zhenfang Ge)[25]
  4. Lhakpa Chhiring Sherpa[25]
  5. Shiva Kumar Shrestha[25]
  6. Pema Hissi Sherpa[25]
  7. Dawa Chhiri Sherpa[25]
  8. Chhimi Dawa Sherpa[25]
  9. Pemba Sherpa[25]
  10. Milan Rai[25]
  11. Pasang Temba Sherpa[25]
  12. Tengien Bhote[25]
  13. Khrishna Kumar Rai[25]
  14. Dan Fredinburg[27][28][35]
  15. Marisa Eve Girawong[26][36][35]
  16. Vinh Truong[35]
  17. Tom Taplin[35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fuller, Thomas; Buckley, Chris (26 April 2015). "Earthquake Aftershocks Jolt Nepal as Death Toll Rises Above 3,400" – via NYTimes.com. 
  2. ^ "Everest K2 News ExplorersWeb – Everest: List of Avalanche Victims". Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Gopal Sharma (April 25, 2015). "Seventeen bodies found at Everest base camp: Official". The Toronto Sun. Reuters.  No longer available
  4. ^ "Earthquake Devastates Nepal, Killing More Than 1,900". NY Times. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.  Page not found
  5. ^ a b Parker, Laura (2015-05-13). "Will Everest's Climbing Circus Slow Down After Disasters?". news.nationalgeographic.com. National Geographic. Retrieved 2015-07-06. 
  6. ^ "Everest Base Camp a 'War Zone' After Earthquake Triggers Avalanches". National Geographic. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "10 confirmed dead in Mount Everest avalanche, but toll expected to rise". The Washington Post. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015.  This report cites the Associated Press and Misidentifies Pumori and Komori
  8. ^ a b Beaumont, Peter (25 April 2015). "Deadly Everest avalanche triggered by Nepal earthquake". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Extent of the Damage From the Nepal Earthquake". NY Times. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "'Huge disaster': Hikers around Everest run for lives, treat injured". CNN. 
  11. ^ "Nepal earthquake: Over 1,900 dead as search for survivors continues". iTV.com. 
  12. ^ "Indian Army's expedition team rescues 61 climbers from Mount Everest". DNA India. 
  13. ^ Gregory Korte and Aamer Madhani (26 April 2015). "Mount Everest avalanche survivor: 'I had to survive'". USA Today. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Avalanche sweeps Everest base camp, killing 17, injuring 61", 25 April 2015; accessed 28 April 2015.
  15. ^ Peter Holley (25 April 2015). "Massive avalanche slams into Everest base camp following Nepal earthquake". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Melanie Eversley and Tom Vanden Brook (25 April 2015). "At least 10 dead, others missing as Nepal quake rocks Mount Everest". USA Today. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Everest's avalanche, through the climbers' eyes". Washington Post. May 2, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "rescue plane lands at Kathmandu airport with 15 injured from Mt. Everest avalanche". firstpost.com. 
  19. ^ Gardiner Harris (25 April 2015). "At Least 10 Everest Climbers Killed as Nepal Quake Sets Off Avalanche". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Sanjeev Miglani (26 April 2015). "Injured flown from Everest, aftershock triggers new avalanches". Reuters. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Freddie Wilkinson (2015-04-27). "Helicopters Rescue Climbers Trapped on Everest After Quake". National Geographic. Retrieved 2015-04-28. 
  22. ^ Zoroya, Gregg. "High-altitude helicopter rescues begin on Mt. Everest". USA Today. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Climbers trapped on Mount Everest 'are getting desperate'". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  24. ^ a b Update News about avalanche at Everest, Nepal Mountaineering Association, 28 April 2015
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Name List of 15 identified dead body among 19 dead body found at Mt. Everest, Nepal Mountaineering Association, April 28, 2015
  26. ^ a b c d e The Latest on Nepal: In Ravaged Hamlets, Lives Were Spared, U.S. News and World Reports, April 29, 2015
  27. ^ a b Conor Dougherty (25 April 2015). "'Google Adventurer' Dies on Mt. Everest". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  28. ^ a b Wills Robinson (April 27, 2015). "'If you don't return we'll know that you've already lived the equivalent of at least 100 lives': The heartbreaking letter from a friend Google engineer was carrying to read at Everest summit before avalanche killed him". Daily Mail. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  29. ^ Peter Holley (April 28, 2015). "Before the Everest avalanche, four Americans were exactly where they wanted to be". Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  30. ^ Samudra Gupta Kashyap (April 28, 2015). "Assam mountaineers undetterred after avalanche await Nepal govt's permission to climb Everest". The Indian Express. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "Climbing to resume on Mount Everest by next week: official". Agence France-Presse (Yahoo News). April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  32. ^ POKHREL, RAJAN. "Govt shuts Everest for this season". The Himalayan Times. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  33. ^ Krista Mahr, Ross Adkin (May 12, 2015). "Fresh earthquake kills scores in Nepal and India". Reuters. 
  34. ^ "Nepal earthquake: Melbourne mother Renu Fotedar killed in Mount Everest avalanche". ABC News. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  35. ^ a b c d Peter Holley (28 April 2015). "Before Everest avalanche, 4 Americans who died were exactly where they wanted to be". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  36. ^ "Rutgers graduate dies on Mount Everest". MY CENTRAL JERSEY. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 

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