Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Himalaya Fall 2014: Two More Lives Claimed as Deadly Climbing Season Continues

As the fall climbing season continues to grind to a halt in the Himalaya, we continue to get bad news out of Nepal. Today we learn that two more climbers lost their lives in separate incidences, as an incredibly sad, and dangerous, season continues in the big mountains.

The first death occurred on Ama Dablam, where several teams have been making late-season summit bids this past week. Yesterday, an avalanche rolled down the side of the mountain, claiming the life of one Sherpa guide, and injuring three foreign climbers. The Sherpa who was killed has been identified as 26-year old Dendi Sherpa, who was reportedly leading the team above Camp 2 at 6812 meters (22,349 ft) when the avalanche occurred. The other three members of the team – one Swiss, one Russian, and one Brit – were airlifted from the mountain back to Kathmandu, where they are reportedly in stable condition.

Meanwhile, an Italian climber by the name of Robert Gassary has died on Mt. Kyajari, a 6186 meter (20,295 ft) peak in the Khumbu Valley, not far from Everest. Reportedly, Gassary fainted while climbing up the mountain, and died immediately on the spot. The cause of his death has been ruled as altitude sickness.

These latest fatalities only extend what has been an extremely trying year in Nepal. From the avalanche on Everest that claimed 16 lives this past spring, to the massive blizzard that killed 43 a few weeks back, it has been an incredibly bad year in the Himalaya. With the season nearly over, lets hope that there will be no more deaths for the foreseeable future.

While we're sharing news from Nepal, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Korean team climbing on Lhotse. There has been no updates on their progress for a week and a half, and at this point the team's current status is unknown. When they last checked in, they were starting to shuttle gear to Camp 4 in preparation for a summit push, but they have not sent a dispatch since that time. Considering the poor weather that they have experienced since arriving on the mountain two months ago, it is possible that they are simply holed-up in Base Camp, and are waiting for a weather window to launch their summit bid. But, it is just as likely that they have decided to all it quits for the season, and head home. Hopefully we'll hear more soon.

That's all for now. I'll post any more updates as the news warrants.

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