Friday, November 16, 2018

Himalaya Fall 2018: Australian Climber Perishes on Ama Dablam

Even as the Himalayan climbing season draws to an end and we turn our attention south to the Antarctic expedition season instead, we have sad news from Nepal today. An Australian climber has lost his life on Ama Dablam, falling to his death after a freak accident on a mountain that is known for being fairly safe and frequently traveled.

According to The Himalayan Times, 33-year-old Michael Geoferey Davis was descending the Ama Dablam above Camp 2 when the ropes he was using suddenly gave way, sending him plummeting to his death. He was climbing with Top Himalaya Guides at the time and officials from that organization believe the accident was caused by a large rock that fell from above, striking the fixed ropes and damaging their integrity. All other members of the team that Davis was with are safe and fine, having descended back down the mountain.

When the accident occurred a group of about 15 climbers –– including Nepali guides –– were descending from Camp 3 due to high winds. They had hoped to go higher on Ama Dablam, but deteriorating conditions sent them back down the mountain. It was during this descent that a very large rock dislodged itself from the face and tumbled downward, striking the rope in the process. The Australian climber fell to his death shortly thereafter.

Expedition organizers immediately called for an airlift back to Kathmandu but unfortunately Davis as declared dead on the scene. Our condolences go out to his friends and family at this time.

The 6812 meter (22,349 ft) Ama Dablam is one of the most distinctive mountains in all of Nepal, if not the world. It is known for its beautiful shape and snowcapped summit, which stands out even amongst the other Himalayan mountains. Trekkers on their way to Everest Base Camp pass through the shadow of the peak, which often serves as a good tune-up climb for other larger Himalayan expeditions. Traditionally speaking, Ama Dablam is very safe and makes for a good place for climbers to hone their skills and gain experience.

Despite this tragedy, the teams still on Ama Dablam this fall will continue upwards. The Times reports that the fixed ropes have already been repaired and teams are still preparing for a summit push when the weather permits.