The Aftermath of Everest’s Deadly Avalanche Leaves Climbers Uncertain of Future Expeditions

“The first thing you hear is the roar. It’s a terrifying sound, instantly recognizable. Your head jerks up, and you see the thundering cloud of ice blasting toward you. There’s no time to do anything but race to the nearest house-size block of ice and dive for cover behind it. This is certainly what happened at 6:45 a.m. yesterday to the 20 to 25 Nepali mountaineers caught in that deadly avalanche,” stated a survivor of avalanche on the Mount Everest.

At least 16 mountaineers died in what ranks as the worst single accident on the world’s highest peak. Thirteen bodies have been recovered, and three are permanently entombed in ice. No Western climbers died. Almost all of those who perished were Sherpas. As a helicopter flew four of the injured to a hospital in Kathmandu on Friday, the thumping of its blades echoed off the slopes above base camp, according to,

“Most of us who have climbed Everest have had this experience, in exactly the same place in the Khumbu Icefall. Usually, if you’re lucky, the chunks of ice are no bigger than pebbles and the wave of ice and snow blows over your trembling body. But not this time. Yesterday a hanging glacier above the Khumbu released apartment-size blocks of ice. The climbers didn’t have a chance,” stated one of the mountain climbers.

“It has been devastating up here,” said Todd Burleson, owner of Alpine Ascents International, one of the more successful guiding operations on Everest. “It’s just a very sad, sad affair,” he said by phone from Pheriche, a small village just below Base Camp in the Khumbu Valley. “Everyone is of course at a loss for what to do, how to handle it.”

At present unclear whether climbing will go ahead on the mountain this season. It’s still early in the season, and some teams will most likely want to continue their ascent. But for now, the hundreds of people at Base Camp are still in shock, reported the