Dead, missing, injured, or trapped – Climbers on Mt Everest

By Faye Higbee

Climbing Season on Everest

“Dead, missing, injured or trapped” is how CNN described the climbers on Mount Everest after the earthquakes and aftershocks from the earthquake in Nepal precipitated numerous avalanches. The death toll from the earthquake climbed to at least 2,500 by Sunday – on the ground. But the climbers attempting to conquer Mount Everest were hit by a literal wall of snow at the Base Camp. Now those who are at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th levels have no guide ropes to help them come back down.

The death toll from those hit by avalanches on the mountain now stands at 17 at Base Camp, but many more are missing or  injured. 5 more are listed as killed on the mountain just below the Base Camp.

 Everest

Bodies were placed under the orange tents as the helicopter rescued climbers from Base camp on Everest-

Massive avalanches 

One American mountaineer, Jon Reiter had this to say about the first avalanche that hit Base Camp:

“An earthquake that long set off avalanches all the way around us. And they came down — they were large, they were massive avalanches.”

People tried to flee. But the Base Camp is in a bowl-shaped area that is extremely vulnerable to avalanches.Though it may provide protection from storms, avalanches are another matter. People had nowhere to run, so were hit by debris, blown off the mountain, blown into rocks,  even hit from behind. Tents were literally blown everywhere.  Some took cover behind piles of stones.

After the weather cleared on Sunday morning, airlifts from the mountain began. But the injured waited while those around them that had not be hurt created “makeshift field hospitals.” Some of the injured were said to be in “rough shape.”

The helicopters began the rescue missions, and by Sunday afternoon, the most seriously injured had been taken off the mountain.

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climbers assist in finding the dead, moving the injured

 

The people stranded higher up

Those stranded at the 29,035 foot level were in just as much peril, as their guide ropes had been swept away in the series of avalanches. The experts will have to create a new path across the treacherous icefall that exists between base camp and camps 1 and 2. The stranded climbers will have to wait for a couple of days until that happens.

Aftershocks, however are causing  a hazardous wait. The more aftershocks, the more avalanches. At that height, climbers may become oxygen deprived. They need oxygen- or there can be serious consequences. And so the world waits for the fate of these intrepid mountaineers. Godspeed.

The short video below give a perspective on the peril of the climbers. CNN video