Deadliest Day on Everest


The Khumbu Icefall. The climbing route ascends the left side, and the avalanche is believed to have originated from the large seracs in upper left. Photo by Uwe Gille / Wikipedia

4/18/14 - A large avalanche has killed many climbers on Mt. Everest just as the spring season was getting into high gear. The avalanche originated around 6 a.m. today from a large serac band at the foot of the west shoulder of Everest, below Camp 1. It  swept down into the Khumbu Icefall, where numerous Sherpa climbers were carrying loads and working on the route.

About 25 people were hit by debris or the air blast from the slide, and at  least 12 are believed to have died, all Sherpa employees of the numerous expeditions attempting the mountain. Eight climbers were rescued alive after the avalanche, according to Nepal's Ministry of Tourism, and three were flown to Kathmandu for treatment.

On Friday, more than 100 climbers were trapped above the Khumbu Icefall. At least three helicopters were on the scene assisting with rescue efforts. Everest Base Camp was described by one guide as a scene of "chaos"—and undoubtedly great sadness as well. The avalanche was in plain sight of anyone awake and about at base camp.

Until today, the worst single-incident death toll on Everest was in 1996, when eight climbers died over two days. The worst disaster in mountaineering history occurred on Peak Lenin in 1990, when an avalanche killed 43 climbers.

This story will continue to be updated as more news becomes available.