Everest: Avalanche Pulverizes Camp 3

“Camp 3 was pulverized by an avalanche sweeping the Lhotse Face,” reports Dan Mazur. “All other teams take note: If you need it, we are here to help.”

News of the avalanche came from an unnamed Sherpa. No other details are available.

Meanwhile, Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism has continued to issue terse, bland press releases suggesting that nothing much is happening. “Everest climbers are in Camp 2 and Base Camp,” it said.

Despite loads of snow and a bad forecast, several teams totaling 200 to 250 people have stubbornly waited in Camp 2. They planned to move up to Camp 3 today to begin their final summit push. Among them, climbers with Nirmal Purja, Seven Summit Treks, and Climbalaya.

No weather to climb in, but better than Camp 2. Stretching the legs today at Everest Base Camp. Photo: Summit Climb


Around the same time as Nepal’s anodyne press release, Dan Mazur of SummitClimb posted a vivid dispatch describing how the storm has developed into a full gale, “blowing horizontal curtains of blasted snow chunks/flakes, steady drumroll of whipping prayer flags and flapping nylon.”

A million tons of wet new snow

Mazur continued: “We may feel nervous here in BC, but can you imagine what’s happening in the camps above us? We say our prayers for them as we listen to roaring low bass notes of one million tons fresh heavy wet snow peeling off rock and ice faces above us, an avalanche boiling down onto moraine beside our tents, stopping there…for now.”

Csaba Varga confirmed that the situation is difficult in Camp 2. Every day, he says, another 30 to 40cm of fresh snow has dumped on them. The winds shriek at up to 70kph. He can hardly get out of the tent. He also confirms that avalanches have damaged C3 but has no details to what extent.

Varga, who is climbing without oxygen, fears the crowds moving up on their summit push if the weather clears as expected. Tomorrow, he will decide what to do.

Meanwhile, Mazur’s 20-person Summit Climb team remains stuck in Base Camp, poised to go home. They face a difficult choice: trek out in bad weather, wait in Base Camp for better weather and take a helicopter to Kathmandu, or to try to retrieve the gear they’ve left behind in higher camps.

For now, helicopters can’t fly. The weather should improve tomorrow, but the route may be in a very dangerous state after the heavy snowfall.