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Author Topic: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest  (Read 12820 times)
pipedream
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9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« on: 04/18/14, 02:30 AM »

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/18/world/asia/nepal-everest-avalanche/?hpt=hp_t2

Quote
(CNN) -- Nine Sherpa guides were killed and three others were seriously injured Friday after a high-altitude avalanche on Mt. Everest, officials said. Others were missing, but their numbers were not immediately known. A group of about 50 people, mostly Nepali Sherpas, were hit by the avalanche at more than 20,000 feet, according to Tilak Ram Pandey, with the mountaineering department of the tourism ministry. The avalanche took place just above base camp in the Khumbu Ice Fall. The climbers were accounted for, Pandey said. "Rescue teams have gone ... to look for the missing."

Between May 15 and 30 is usually the best window for reaching 29,028 foot peak. Climbers and guides had been setting the ropes for the route, acclimating to the climate, and preparing the camps along the route, said Janow. Climbers arrive in April to acclimate to the altitude before heading toward the summit of the world's highest mountain. Ethnic Sherpas acts as guides for the mostly-foreign clients.

The spring climbing season is the busiest of the year. Some 334 foreign climbers have been given permission to climb Everest over the next couple of months, with an estimated 400 Sherpas helping them, mountaineering official Dipendra Poudel said. Until the late 1970s, only a handful of climbers reached the top each year. The number topped 100 for the first time in 1993. By 2004, it was more than 300. In 2012, the number was more than 500. The deadliest year on Everest was 1996, when 15 people died. Another 12 climbers were killed in 2006.

Not a nice place to be caught in a slide Sad

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pipedream
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #1 on: 04/18/14, 01:54 PM »

Death toll now up to 12 with four still missing and 6 injured.

5 of the deceased were working as guides for Alpine Ascents International (AAI), who if you aren't aware, are based in Seattle:
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/5-Sherpa-guides-on-Seattle-team-killed-on-Everest-255796301.html
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zestysticks
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #2 on: 04/18/14, 09:22 PM »

this is a sobering account from someone who is there.
http://peakfreaks8000.blogspot.ca
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Edgesport
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #3 on: 04/22/14, 11:29 AM »

Detailed list of Sherpa demands - http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2014/04/21/everest-2014-tragedy-overwhelms-everest/
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BillK
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #4 on: 04/22/14, 12:21 PM »

What did the NWAC forecast say about the avy risk?  There is a conspiracy, I fear!
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freeski
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #5 on: 04/25/14, 06:21 AM »

It is clear that commercial operations are willing to place people in harms way in order to profit. 13 people died in that everest slide. 13 people died before GM acknowledged their faulty ignition.  switch. Over one million people died during the Vietnam war including 58,000 Americans.
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Jim Oker
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #6 on: 04/25/14, 03:46 PM »

It is also clear that people are willing to buy cars and drive them as well as pay to climb Everest with full knowledge that they (or others) might die as a result.
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JPH
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #7 on: 04/26/14, 04:18 PM »

It is clear that commercial operations are willing to place people in harms way in order to profit. 13 people died in that everest slide. 13 people died before GM acknowledged their faulty ignition.  switch. Over one million people died during the Vietnam war including 58,000 Americans.

If you could go ahead and work in something about the holocaust and slavery this might be in the top 5 worst internet analogies of all time... 
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freeski
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #8 on: 04/26/14, 07:02 PM »

 Jph,Since I'm talking about senseless dying, slavery and the holocaust would fit in.  13 workers just died on everest,all exposed to the same hazard, at the same time. Safe practices, while in the mountains, is basic stuff that often goes unheeded in a commercial setting. One company is reported to  have 54 clients. Jim, drivers don't expect to purchase a faulty car that can kill them. That is not the risk that the driver is responsible for.   
« Last Edit: 04/26/14, 07:19 PM by freeskiguy » Logged

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zestysticks
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #9 on: 04/28/14, 09:14 AM »

It is clear that commercial operations are willing to place people in harms way in order to profit. 13 people died in that everest slide. 13 people died before GM acknowledged their faulty ignition.  switch. Over one million people died during the Vietnam war including 58,000 Americans.

When I read Tim Ripples blog I don't get the sense that he is willing to put anyone in harms way.  http://peakfreaks8000.blogspot.ca/
Painting all operators with the same brush is an assault on reason.
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Edgesport
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #10 on: 04/28/14, 10:17 AM »

Jph,Since I'm talking about senseless dying, slavery and the holocaust would fit in.  13 workers just died on everest,all exposed to the same hazard, at the same time. Safe practices, while in the mountains, is basic stuff that often goes unheeded in a commercial setting. One company is reported to  have 54 clients. Jim, drivers don't expect to purchase a faulty car that can kill them. That is not the risk that the driver is responsible for.   

Protection through regulation will save lives, not safety meetings. Both the car and climbing industries can be brought to task on safety but the Himalayan climbing industry seems far more guilty of worker and consumer abuse.  The auto industries rates of death and injury to both workers and consumers has been dropping steadily over the past 40 years due to heavy regulations, unionization as well as the willingness of the consumer to pay more for safety of consumers, workers, and the environment.   

The Himalayan climbing industry has shown slow to no progress in worker safety through regulation or other means over the last 50 years.  Regulation has been in the form of government taxes that pad the pockets of the officials who provide some insurance for the Sherpa’s but produce no oversight for the regulation they promise.  Climbing companies and to a greater extent National funded climbing teams sacrifice Sherpa safety through corrosion of non-payment or reduced payment if the Sherpa’s don’t meet the ever changing expectations.  There are certain cultural climbing teams that demand Sherpa’s climb to certain death to save members who are already facing certain death.  The Sherpa’s are threatened with non-payment for them or their families if they do not comply and because regulation does nothing to protect them.  The Sherpa knows there are risks when they sign up for dangerous jobs but they don’t go into it expecting to have their lives or the livelihood of their family ransomed. 

The khumbu icefall is a powder keg and Sherpa's (and others) die there every year.  The avalanche was HUGE and the icefall a very unstable place so I suspect there was no safe place inside the slide area... spread out or not.  Sherpa's decide the route through the icefall and when they will climb it.  Sherpa's decide the route to the top and when they will complete it.  They have some control over safety but not over benefits. 

Protection through regulation will save lives, not safety meetings.  Things have improved over the years.  Everyone got caught by nature that day but not all  the dead (and injured) were left with the same benefits and insurance or the assurance the benefits will be paid. 
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Jim Oker
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #11 on: 04/28/14, 04:27 PM »

Jim, drivers don't expect to purchase a faulty car that can kill them. That is not the risk that the driver is responsible for.   
Yes, you are right. I stand by my Everest comment, though as Edgesport notes, this incident highlights the crappy deal that Sherpas appear to be getting.
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zestysticks
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #12 on: 04/28/14, 04:37 PM »

The khumbu icefall is a powder keg and Sherpa's (and others) die there every year.  The avalanche was HUGE and the icefall a very unstable place so I suspect there was no safe place inside the slide area... spread out or not.  Sherpa's decide the route through the icefall and when they will climb it. 

I would like to know how risk is assessed on the khumbu given the complexity of the terrain,  politics and culture.  If the sherpas decide as a group how, where and when the route is established  then how do they even test on such a vast icefall with any confidence?

Given what is being said its not a stretch to believe there is incredible pressure on Sherpas to push on in spite of the risk.
They must face pressure from all sides. Pressure from some operators to push higher.  Job competition and economic pressures. Not to mention the pressure they face in the field while on the job.

I wonder if anyone on the mountain that day had any sense of the extremely dangerous conditions that were looming overhead.  I wonder how many climbers were thinking " we shouldn't be here. We're going to die" but because of the environment felt they needed to push on anyways.

Or were these fatalities simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time as some have suggested?

It is a little shocking to hear about the deterioration of the ice at that high altitude.  It will be interesting to see what's going to happen.  Will this event become a catalyst for change?  Will changes in the environment and the ice eventually eliminate the Khumbu Icefall as a summit route?
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Jim Oker
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #13 on: 04/28/14, 05:05 PM »

Good questions. The Khumbu glacier is estimated to flow 3-4 feet down the mountain each day. Pretty dynamic spot! And indeed the ice is changing a lot over the years. Here's an interesting site for exploring the features of the mountain along with what's going on over time with the glaciers/ice.
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freeski
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #14 on: 04/28/14, 07:07 PM »


Painting all operators with the same brush is an assault on reason.
I consider the Sherpas to be an exploited worker class. They are hired to do most of the hard labor and assume most of the risk in a region with little economic oppurtunity.  Hopefully they will run the whole show someday and put the climbers to work in order to get to the summit. Or why not put in a tram and sell tickets. That link you provided basically said, at least we didn't lose more, we were lucky. I guess assaulted reason is a matter of POV. 
« Last Edit: 04/28/14, 07:19 PM by freeski » Logged

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T. Eastman
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #15 on: 04/28/14, 07:14 PM »

Quote
I consider the Sherpas to be an exploited worker class. They are hired to do most of the hard labor and assume most of the risk in a region with little economic oppurtunity.

Except these "exploited worker class" climbers are paid wages far above most other Nepalis and some have leveraged their earnings into vast local wealth in the Lukla/Namche area with business practices that rival in scale, Mafia operations in big US cities...
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hillybilly
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #16 on: 04/28/14, 07:58 PM »

Except these "exploited worker class" climbers are paid wages far above most other Nepalis and some have leveraged their earnings into vast local wealth in the Lukla/Namche area with business practices that rival in scale, Mafia operations in big US cities...

And, in addition to this great point, the occupation is not forced but in fact voluntary. Not only is it voluntary but practitioners are renown globally. I am a bit confused in what was meant by the
"exploitation" comment. Sounds like a rhetorical or politically charged statement to me. Seems OT here.
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zestysticks
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #17 on: 04/28/14, 08:18 PM »

put in a tram and sell tickets. That link you provided basically said, at least we didn't lose more, we were lucky. 
I didn't want to say that the whole situation sounds like a gong show. But I thought the same thing; why not just put in a tram??
Sounds like the same thing as fresh snow on a weekend around Bagely Lakes. I enjoy the quiet and solitude of the outdoors so none of the clamour associated with high traffic destinations appeals to me.

The link I provided said more than that.  I get the overall sense that there is a lot of grief and soul searching going on.
Maybe you are fortunate to be able to see things so clearly in black and white.  Most of the time I only see various shades of grey.
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freeski
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #18 on: 05/03/14, 12:36 PM »




The link I provided said more than that.  I get the overall sense that there is a lot of grief and soul searching going on.
 
no doubt. Just putting it out there that one course of action is to transition the control of a counties  resoures back to that country. Imagine if foreign interests controlled commercial guiding in the Cascades, and every other mountain.
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: 9 dead, 3 injured by avalanche on Everest
« Reply #19 on: 05/04/14, 08:16 PM »

Just noticed this in the TV listings for later this evening: 9pm Sunday on Discovery Channel, repeating at 11pm.

http://press.discovery.com/us/dsc/programs/everest-avalanche-tragedy/

Quote
The 90-minute documentary, EVEREST AVALANCHE TRAGEDY, will air around the world in 224 countries on Sunday, May 4, at 9 PM ET/PT. It will include unprecedented access and eyewitness accounts from the rescue and recovery efforts that took place after the avalanche struck the Khumbu Icefall, the area just above Mt. Everest base camp, during the morning of Friday, April 18, killing 13 and leaving three missing.  Members of an NBC News team were at base camp as they prepared to produce Discovery's live special, EVEREST JUMP LIVE scheduled to air Sunday, May 11, when the avalanche hit.  The special would have featured climber Joby Ogwyn's attempt to make the first wing suit flight off the summit of the world's tallest mountain.

"We were at Mt. Everest to make history, but instead we were there as eyewitnesses to history," said Eileen O'Neill, Group President, Discovery, Science and Velocity Networks.  "It is essential to tell this story and honor all the Sherpas who lost their lives."

EVEREST AVALANCHE TRAGEDY, produced by NBC News' Peacock Productions, will document the weeks leading up to the climb through the moment the avalanche struck the Khumba Icefall, one of the most treacherous parts of the mountain, and its aftermath.  Cameras rolled immediately following, as blocks of ice plummeted down the mountain, making it the deadliest single-day avalanche in history on Mt. Everest.

...

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