12 Sherpas Killed on Everest as Serac Collapses

by Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Apr/2014
This news story has been read 13,341 times

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+Climbers on Everest Icefall., 46 kb
Climbers on Everest Icefall.
© Urban Golob

As widely reported in the mainstream media, at least twelve Sherpas have been killed on Everest in a huge serac collapse.

One of the most comprehensive reports on this tragedy is by Alan Arnette, and he explains on his website:

"Around 6:30 am, April 18th, an ice avalanche occurred off the West Shoulder of Everest hitting an area just below Camp 1 which is located at 19,500′ but near the top of the Icefall. The estimated altitude was 5800m or 19,038′."

The Sherpas were fixing ropes in preparation for the spring climbing season in a heavily crevassed section of the notorious Khumbu Icefall known as the Popcorn Area (photo on Alan Arnette's Website). A huge serac, which has caused major concern on Everest for some years, collapsed with a large amount of Sherpas working on the lower part of the mountain.

From Alan Arnette's report:

"Immediately after the avalanche spray subsided, Sherpas searched the debris field and found 8 survivors. Eyewitnesses reported boots protruding through the snow. Many however were buried and their bodies recovered later. A person can suffocate within minutes when buried under heavy snow."

It is thought that around 100 Sherpas were above the incident and are now waiting on the mountain until the route is safe for them to descend.

This video shows a similar collapse from 2009 that occurred in a similar place (just slightly lower down) on the mountain.

More information on this tragedy:

Forums ( Read More... | 24 comments, 28 Apr 2014 )
Not much new but worth a read: http://alpinist.com/doc/web14s/wfeature-everest-myth I'd not thought about all the products with "sherpa" in the name fostering colonial-style stereotyping. An excellent point.
pneame - 28 Apr 2014

Mingma Nuru Sherpa, , Shangrila Nepal on NBC Everest Expedition, Dorji Sherpa, Shangrila Nepal on NBC Everest Expedition, Ang Tshiri Sherpa, Shangrila Nepal on AAI Everest Expedition, Nima Sherpa, Shangrila Nepal on AAI...
VwJap - 23 Apr 2014

His words are reported more extensively in the Times. 'These are my friends and I totally understand what they are doing. I respect everything they do, but no one is making them do this. If they don't want to work...
John2 - 23 Apr 2014

You guys are right, he said they 'might not be as technical as Western climbers'... Looking into it he clearly does respect Sherpas, at the time it felt like a backhanded compliment. I'm generally pretty hateful of the...
r0x0r.wolfo - 23 Apr 2014

I agree. Though I'm not entirely sure whether they were advocating the mountain being closed off completely (in respect of those who died) or just that they wouldn't be working there? I doubt those were his exact...
Michael Gordon - 23 Apr 2014

Interesting piece by Jon Krakauer in The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/04/everest-sherpas-death-and-anger.html Developments in medicine, technology and tactics means Everest has become...
flaneur - 23 Apr 2014

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