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Mount Everest Update: Rescue Flights Resume

Posted: Apr 26, 2015 03:44 am EDT

(Tina Sjogren)  It’s been a difficult night in Everest south side base camp. Foggy and snowy weather made initial rescue work difficult; the weather clearing this morning has enabled the first flight out however.


"All badly injured heli evacuated, many people contributed," Alex Gavan just posted while Fox News  quote an official with Nepal's mountaineering department who, "said early Sunday that 22 of the seriously injured were taken by helicopter to Pheriche village, the nearest medical facility." Another 61 climbers have been injured the source said.


Some climbers say up to half of base camp has been affected and the death toll (currently at 17) is likely to rise with mountaineers missing or critically wounded. Large part of the icefall route has been demolished leaving climbers in high camps stranded. According to Erling Rosenstrom (Hvitserk BC manager) there are 120 climbers at Camp 1 and 2.


Jagged Globe, Adventure Consultants and Madison Mountaineering reported losses; while Javier Camacho and Ricardo Fernandez told Spanish Desnivel that the most affected were Japanese and Chinese camps.


Everest Pyramid Lab


Quoting Giampietro Verza from Pyramid Laboratory Association EvK2Cnr, whose local staff is in touch with staff in BC, Italian Montagna reported the bad weather prevented flight of rescue helicopters and complicated communications. Mobile phones cut out and there's shortage of power.  


Last year the Pyramid lab, located near Everest BC, set up a quake station near its building. The researchers made the installment in response to speculations that the 2014 tragedy killing 16 sherpa (record toll thus far on Everest) could have been caused by a quake weakening the ice-wall falling over the icefall.

The Pyramid itself, built largely out of solar panels, has moved one meter to the north-east since it was constructed in 1990, the researchers said, mentioning also the 1934, 8.1 Earthquake only 15 km from Everest that killed more than 10.000 people. The current Nepal quake has been rated 7.8 by USGS. By comparison, the 2005 Pakistan Kashmir EQ measured 7.6, causing more than 80,000 fatalities and 3 million homeless.


The Sagarmatha region is characterized by a high sliding speed; Everest base rocks shift 4 cm yearly said the Italians who also set up a weather station in camp 4 on Everest south side. 


An inferno of rock and ice


Eyewitness reports from Everest and nearby mountains describe an inferno of avalanches, falling rock and collapsing seracs amid heavy snowfall during the quake. Climbers worry about aftershocks, jumping at each perceived tremble in the ground.


On Everest, IMG reported earlier, “the earthquake caused a huge block of ice to fall from the ice cliff in the saddle between Pumori and Lingtren. This saddle is at 6150m and EBC is 5360m, so the difference is 790m (or about 2591 ft). The tons and tons of falling ice going this vertical distance created a huge aerosol avalanche and accompanying air blast that hit the upper part of Everest BC and blew many tents across the Khumbu Glacier towards the lower Icefall.”


“Apparently the air blast and earthquake also caused many big rocks to shift around as well, which were the cause of some of the crushing injuries suffered by climbers in these upper base camps. The base camps farther down the glacier (like the IMG camp) were untouched."


"It is worth noting that over many expeditions we have never seen an avalanche from this area that was even remotely of this scale. It was truly a freak event caused by a tremendous earthquake.”



Nepal Earthquake: Everest Base Camp Avalanche

Quake update: Everest, Annapurna, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaula, Shisha

Nepal Earthquake Updates: Mountains Tremble









Graphic of the huge block of ice that fell onto Everest south side base camp.
courtesy Tom Sjogren/ExplorersWeb, SOURCE
Everest ER first Heli evacs of patients from BC Sunday morning.
courtesy Dr Nima, SOURCE
The Ice Cliff that broke under earthquakes, as seen from BC. Photo: IMG Team
courtesy IMG Team, SOURCE
The wandering Pyramid: In June 2014 EvK2CNR installed a seismic station, one of the world's highest at 5,050 m.