Steamboat climbers reported safe after Everest avalanche
Steamboat Springs — A pair of Steamboat Springs-based climbers are safe after a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest triggered by a devastating earthquake in Nepal.
The 7.8-magnitude quake rocked the region and wrecked devastation in Katmandu. At Mount Everest, less than 200 miles from the quake’s epicenter, an avalanche swept into base camp, where hundreds of climbers have been preparing to summit the mountain this spring.
Steamboat Springs resident Kim Hess was reported safe by a blog run by her guiding outfitter, and social media posts indicated Steamboat-based climber Chhiring Dorje Sherpa was safe, as well.
The report from Hess’s outfitter told of a “huge block of ice” tumbling from a different mountain above Everest’s base camp, triggering other falls and sending derbies and a shockwave into sections of the camp, whipping out tents and leaving climbers scrambling.
“Running for life from my tent … many many people up the mountain,” Romanian climber Alex Gavan tweeted early Saturday morning..
Hess’s outfit, International Mountain Guides, said it avoided the worst of that.
“The base camps farther down the glacier (like the IMG camp) were untouched,” it said on its site. “Greg (Vernovage, a guide) reports that the IMG Base Camp has been turned into a triage center, and our big dining tents are now being used as hospital tents. … It snowed all afternoon, and no helicopters were able to reach Base Camp today. There are a number of helicopters on standby in Lukla ready to fly as soon as the weather improves.”
Reports indicate at least 10 climbers died and many more were seriously injured.
Hess is at Everest as a part of a bid to climb the Seven Summits, the highest peak on each continent. She has taken care of four of those mountains and traveled this spring hoping to make Everest her fifth.
Meanwhile, posts on Chhiring Dorje Sherpa’s Facebook page indicated he was safe.
He runs a outfitting service for the region and has summited Everest 12 times. He is leading a team up the mountain again this year from the north side, opposite where Hess’s camp was set up.
It was unclear Saturday what damage the quake caused higher on the mountain or how the tragedy would affect the plans of climbers.
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