Post-Nepal quake, climbers say Ever­est sea­son over


All climbers on the Nepal side of Mount Ever­est have left the moun­tain and the climb­ing sea­son is over fol­low­ing a deadly earth­quake that left thou­sands dead in Nepal and dozens of climbers killed or in­jured af­ter an avalanche swept across the base­camp area, ac­cord­ing to guiding com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­ual climbers.

Teams at­tempt­ing to climb the north side of Ever­est, the Ti­bet side, were called back to base­camp over the week­end and were hold­ing dis­cus­sions with Chi­nese of­fi­cials about whether any sum­mit at­tempts will be pos­si­ble in the re­main­ing weeks of the spring climb­ing sea­son, ac­cord­ing to Adrian Ballinger, a guide for the Olympic Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia-based Alpen­glow Ex­pe­di­tions.

Eric Si­mon­son with In­ter­na­tional Moun­tain Guides said their team came down with oth­ers on the Nepal side who had been trapped above the Khumbu Ice­fall, which was im­pass­able af­ter the avalanche swept away a fixed route through that sec­tion.

“Th­ese will be the

last of the climbers on the moun­tain,” he said in a Mon­day blog post.

The avalanche on Ever­est killed 18 and in­jured dozens hap­pened af­ter Satur­day’s mag­ni­tude 7.8 earth­quake killed more than 4,000 peo­ple.

Climber and “Ever­est” film­maker David Breas­hears and his GlacierWorks team had de­scended to base­camp and on Tues­day were clean­ing the site be­fore re­turn­ing to Kathmandu later in the week, said Ellen Gol­bran­son of the com­pany. Breas­hears was there to doc­u­ment changes to Hi­malayan glaciers.

Most Ever­est sum­mits oc­cur be­tween May 10 and 20, so it’s too late to think about try­ing to go back up the moun­tain this year be­fore the mon­soon sea­son, said Gor­don Janow, direc­tor of pro­grams at Seat­tle-based Alpine As­cents In­ter­na­tional. Their team was air­lifted from Camp One to base­camp and are pre­par­ing to leave the re­gion, although some may stay be­hind to help with dis­as­ter re­lief, he said.

As far as climb­ing on Ever­est again, he said that’s too far out to think about.

“The next climb­ing sea­son is a year away and right now we’re more fo­cused on Nepal and tak­ing care of the com­mu­ni­ties that are there,” he said.

Ev­ery year hun­dreds of peo­ple at­tempt to scale the world’s tallest moun­tain, with many pay­ing tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to guide com­pa­nies that at­tempt to get them to the 29,029-foot sum­mit. Rainier Moun­taineer­ing Inc. guide Dave Hahn de­scribed the scene com­ing off the moun­tain as or­derly but ur­gent as peo­ple were flown down by he­li­copters.

“Even­tu­ally there were four or five birds in the air at any time, fly­ing a dra­matic loop from BC to Camp One to BC,” he said in a blog post.

What they saw when they re­turned was dev­as­tat­ing.

“We’d put down at the epi­cen­ter of a dis­as­ter and we could barely be­lieve our eyes,” he said.

Hahn said their sea­son is done and they’re headed home.

Most climbers at this point in the sea­son would be build­ing a route to Camp 4, rather than Camp 1, he said.

“We’ll put our ef­forts into an or­ga­nized and safe retreat from the moun­tain,” he said.


(Above) In this Satur­day, April 25 photo, climbers search through crushed tents for fel­low climbers caught in an avalanche at a base camp on the Nepal side of Mt. Ever­est. (Left) This photo pro­vided by Azim Afif, shows the scene at Ever­est Base Camp, Nepal on Tues­day, April, 28.

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