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NEWS: Nepal Earthquake: Everest Death Toll Reaches 18

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 UKC News 27 Apr 2015
A chilly night at Everest Base Camp., 4 kbAs widely reported in the mainstream media, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale has hit Nepal, causing devastation in Bangladesh, India, Tibet, and on Mount Everest, where avalanches were triggered. A 6.7 magnitude aftershock between Everest and Kathmandu has also caused further destruction.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=69680
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 ScottMackenzie 27 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Such terrible news! So sad to see the deaths around the country in Nepal and in the region.
There are climbers on other mountains as well, such as reported 40 stranded (unverified) at Makalu ABC. Makes me wonder about smaller expedition groups too dotted around the Himalayas.

On Twitter about Makalu:
NorthmenPK: #Makalu 40 climbers still stranded on Advance Base camp 5700 m. (photo @ferranlatorre) #NepalQuake http://t.co/lL4D3RxtFe

On Everest, some friends have been choppered out of C1 today back to BC, at 2 people per flight from the reported 100+ group above the icefall.
 Babika 27 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Indeed terrible news - a devastating loss of life in the country and impact on Nepalese communities, aside from the mountaineering impact.
The Jagged Globe website seems to be doing regular updates concerning Everest base camp.
 Offwidth 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Scott_M@c:

I do wonder about about choppering everyone out from C1. Fine if they are injured or deteriorating but surely a priority at present would be getting copters to remote villages where people have life threatening injuries and no way of getting to hospital. How long could aclimatised uninjured climbers stay up there with food/water drops occuring when deteriorating climbers need to be taken out?
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In reply to Offwidth:

I'd had similar thoughts. Wouldn't a few drops of food and water be more suitable until those injured elsewhere have been dealt with?
 Chris Harris 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

> I do wonder about about choppering everyone out from C1. Fine if they are injured or deteriorating but surely a priority at present would be getting copters to remote villages where people have life threatening injuries and no way of getting to hospital. How long could aclimatised uninjured climbers stay up there with food/water drops occuring when deteriorating climbers need to be taken out?


I was talking with someone about this earlier. Their suggestion was that it might be the case that the Nepalese authorities would veer towards rescuing the nice rich Western climbers, with their insurance policies, rather than poor farmers out in the sticks. This would result in:

1. Payouts by the insurers
2. Potential future climbers/trekkers being reassured that if they got into trouble, they would be first on the list to be rescued, thus protecting future revenues.

I would be interested to hear what others think about this standpoint.
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 Offwidth 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Chris Harris:

In that case maybe the stuck but otherwise OK climbers need to think about this? There is good evidence that many villages have been flattened with many deaths and very serious injuries and still are completely cut off by road: many hundreds might die unless evacuated soon by copter.
 Mr Trebus 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

> I do wonder about about choppering everyone out from C1. Fine if they are injured or deteriorating but surely a priority at present would be getting copters to remote villages where people have life threatening injuries and no way of getting to hospital. How long could aclimatised uninjured climbers stay up there with food/water drops occuring when deteriorating climbers need to be taken out?

I agree, I suspect that the commercial operators will be pushing to get their clients off ASAP.
If this is the way they want to proceed, 2 at a time seams a little light. While I am no chopper expert, I am sure I have seen videos of more folk getting lifted from camp 2 . I guess insurance would be a factor, I believe Simone Mora said he would have been (doubly) screwed if they crashed doing the 7500m rescue last year as they were not insured over 7000m.
 Henry Iddon 27 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Now isn't the time for speculation but assuming there is a rescue chopper in the vicinity of Everest and because comms are so well established then surely it makes sense to lift people off who you know are injured as opposed to heading off elsewhere looking of people who may be injured.

Dealing with certainty surely makes more sense than maybes (all tho highly likely)
 Offwidth 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Henry Iddon:

No one critised moving injured people. The issue raised was the ferrying of uninjured climbers from camp 1 given the circumstances elsewhere. Working out where you might find them is hardly going to be difficult: go to any village that is cut off near the epicentre.
In reply to Chris Harris: My view is reinforced by front page headlines today screaming about a few mountaineers, whilst the tens of thousands of poor, brown people whose lives have been wrecked are relegated to the inner pages. Mountaineers should expect death to be part of the Everest package, I'm sure that's why many of them go, for the "I nearly died" status update. These helicopters should certainly be out helping the locals who cannot help thenselves.

1
 neil0968 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Frank the Husky:

think your right everest climbers know the risks surely there priority should be the local villages.
1
 nutme 27 Apr 2015
They are taking 2 passengers a time because of the altitude. Higher you go more difficult it is for the copter to have stable take off and fly. Lack of oxygen makes engines less effective. Nobody wants to take avoidable risk.

Leaving people in camps can be dangerous because it's very unstable after the avalanches. Further slides can happen. Not speaking about human factor.

On other hand news mention sherpas who descent icefall. That suggests that even if route is damaged and ladders are washed away it is still doable.
 climbwhenready 27 Apr 2015
In reply to nutme:

It's probably not doable by your average client, though. I just spoke to someone (non climber) whose girlfriend was on Everest until a week ago (but is now safely back in the UK) and apparently the "holiday company" has confirmed none of their guides or Sherpas were killed. That gives you the idea of how a lot of people see Everest.
 Offwidth 27 Apr 2015
In reply to nutme:

It's even more dangerous to leave seriously injured people in the open in a quake affected village; plus the copter is much less likley to crash and can move much more at a time.
 Mr Lopez 27 Apr 2015
In reply to nutme:

The icefall route was doable, but a further avalanche yesterday has killed 3 sherpas and took with it a lot of the ladders. Some very experienced guides have recced the icefall and deemed it too dangerous to attempt. Whether that warrants heli rides at this point in time is another issue.
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 galpinos 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to Chris Harris) My view is reinforced by front page headlines today screaming about a few mountaineers, whilst the tens of thousands of poor, brown people whose lives have been wrecked are relegated to the inner pages.

Was sat in the airport yesterday catching up on the news and the BBC was lamenting all the loss of cultural significant buildings. What about all the people!
 Henry Iddon 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Offwidth:
SO are you suggesting that when a helicopter is close by people who are obviously in a very dangerous position surrounded by avalanche danger etc that the helicopter should say " ok you're fine at the moment I'm off to check out whats happening 50 miles away - best wishes see ya"

Surely if it's there and folks are in danger it makes sense to get them to a safer environment, having given priority to the injured first.

Obviously if the chopper was elsewhere and it could do more good where it was then that would be different. My impression was that there is chopper in or around BC most of the time.

Maybe someone can clarify if the chopper made a special journey from elsewhere to empty the camps, or if it was stationed in BC so available having previously helped the injured.
Post edited at 15:55
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In reply to Chris Harris:

A lot of maybes, a lot of speculation. Personally I seriously doubt that anyone in Nepal is making calculated decisions about the impact on the Tourism industry at this point.

As for Newspaper headlines, well local interest always comes first - and that means Western climbers on Everest.
1
In reply to Henry Iddon:

Agreed, resources should be maximized to save as many people as possible, but this is a huge organisational task, and it doesn't require corruption of the authorities for things to maybe not run as efficiently as they could. Everest BC is what, about 100 miles from Kathmandu as the crow flies? If the means are locally available to rescue people who can be rescued, then they should be used.
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 Trangia 27 Apr 2015
In reply to planetmarshall:

It seems that the argument is academic. The majority of stranded climbers have now been rescued by helicopter:-

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/27/nepal-earthquake-rescue-of-stranded-everest-climbers-be...
 neil0968 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Mr Lopez:
off topic i know do they use ladders as the average paying everest client wouldn't make it other wise if so its about time they banned the ladders
Post edited at 18:22
 Trangia 27 Apr 2015
In reply to neil0968:

I don't think it's that simple. Even the 1953 Expedition used them, because they enabled easier movement for all up and down the ice fall, particularly when laden down by heavy loads.
 ScottMackenzie 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Frank the Husky:
Appreciate the point being made around the ethics of where the chopper goes first, and more so if it were a co-ordinated funded rescue effort of local population vs Everest rescue.

It is worth bearing in mind the guys getting rescued today off the hill in some cases didn't know about the scale of the disaster until they reached base camp after being lifted off. It was then they found out about the sheer tragedy of it all. Certainly the friends I went to Everest with last year and who were there again this year would without any question of a doubt put the lives of others in Nepal first, should that mean spending more days on the hill sitting it out in a safe environment or battling their own way down. No question! By the sounds of it, it wasn't a safe environment where they were, nor possible for getting down. It certainly wouldn't have been their choice on whether to get rescued or not.

In terms of heli operators and selling flight time, in a perfect world they should be able to say lets go to X first as they are most needy and it doesn't matter if they can't afford pickup. Because they own a helicopter doesn't immediately mean they can afford to cover the cost of sustained rescue flying time and betting that the impoverished & corrupt Nepali government will cover it is another story. Sadly, the world is not perfect, helicopters cost money to fly, therefore must attempt to cover that cost, regardless of how unjust that may be. I imagine they do a lot of free flying throughout the year helping locals and will still do so through this disaster as well. The revenue earned from this Everest rescue will be incredibly important to keep the operation running throughout the year (as unjust as that sounds in the current environment).
Post edited at 18:41
 heavy 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Scott_M@c:

It is easy to get into an ethical argument but remember that many people will have loved ones in the Himalayas chasing their dreams. Maybe the best thing to do is donate some money to help Nepal and pick a charity that suits you. The logistics of the area and the lack of food, water, helicopters, medical etc will make this a huge human tragedy. The UK has given £5 million to help but they will need much more . I have many friends in Nepal that I have worked with on many expeditions, they are an incredible people and my thoughts are with them just now.

The Everest tragedy is a terrible disaster on its own and I amazed that the Rescue of over 100 people from 6000 metres is incredible.and maybe unsurpassed at altitude for numbers brought of from such a height. Great things have been done by the pilots and Guides and Sherpas and try to accept that at such times things are not black and white. It is easy to criticize from a warm room in the UK.

We mountaineers are extremely selfish as we chase our dreams and must never forget that our families worry all the time and what the local people do for us wherever we climb. It comes home at times like this. So please be careful what you post these are sad times.

Unfortunately in the mountains nature always rules and the best we can do at times is try to pick up the pieces after such an event.
 Offwidth 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Scott_M@c:

I just don't believe there would be a serious funding gap with the international news and all the money starting to pour in. The key period for the seriously injured would be just a few days: in the end, anyone there with a copter should have been where the need was greatest. Kenton Cool just said they should go to the villages next. Why not first (with the option to go back if things went wrong at Camp1)?
 Henry Iddon 27 Apr 2015
In reply to Offwidth:
A senior aid agency person was on Radio 4 Today Program this morning - they said that it could be Tuesday or Wednesday this week until they had people available to get out to far flung places and assess the situation. Then act accordingly.

As I said in an earlier post - is it not better to utilise resources based on facts. If a chopper was in Khumbu region and people were known to be at C1 either injured or in serious danger then surely it makes sense to spend several hours moving 10's of people than spending the same time in a wild goose chase flying into random villages asking if anyone cam be helped.

Also consider that major hospitals are all stretched, resources are thin on the ground so if casualties are collected from remote villages then where would they be taken ? Would next of kin be able to accompany them? Would it be possible to maintain contact and keep next of kin informed of what was happening to who where ?

While it's very frustrating in the short term I'd have thought it best to let the experts get in and asses what needs doing and the best way forward.

I've friends in Kathmandu who are thankfully all safe and are pulling together with the local community.

Apologies if you are an experienced member of a rescue or aid organisation and know more than me.
Post edited at 20:59
 ScottMackenzie 28 Apr 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

Not disagreeing - we're not on the ground so best to do what we can to help from where we are. The choppers need to keep flying and helping people especially in remote places with difficult access.
Point made by Heavy above is to help make that happen we should donate money or fundraise for the rescue and relief effort. That's how we individually can help.
In reply to Scott_M@c:

http://www.shelterbox.org/

Agreed. There are some fantastic organisations providing aid to the Nepalese at the moment, but if anybody is considering a donation, could I ask that you look at shelterbox?

This is a Cornwall-based charity which specialises in providing self-contained units (the boxes) which comprise shelter, insulation, cooking equipment and water purification. This is essential kit in the aftermath of a disaster like this, where the mass human displacement can cause higher numbers of fatalities than the earthquake itself. These guys do this everywhere in the world and know their stuff extremely well.

I suspect that there are many other extremely useful charities out there - this just happens to be local to us. Many thanks for looking.
 Offwidth 28 Apr 2015
In reply to Henry Iddon:

When the situation is assessed the seriously injured casualties in those villages will be dead. Its a major quake and most villages near the epicentre have reportedly been flattened. Hospitals are certainly overloaded but they use triage techniques as best they can .... they never say no more. Anywhere the copters went they would find people way more at need than uninjured climbing tourists and their guides and sherpas... and anyone worried about avalanche shouldn't be there in the first place. The rescue of uninjured climbers from Camp 1 stinks however you try and justify the smell isn't there.
In reply to Offwidth:

there is the flip side, within the basecamp there will be many doctors and medics, who can do a lot of good within Nepal once off the mountain. Many will have probably planned to be away for a several more weeks, but with the season cancelled and many of them flying on specific date flights, they could easily be in country helping for a month or more.

Also, I'm sure within those at camp 1 etc. there will have been local sherpas who will be very keen to get off the hill to check on their own families.

I just hope the wealthier clients out there use their money and contacts to start chartering planes and helicopters from other countries to help the locals. The quake didn't only cause damage in Nepal, so the need is probably very widespread.
 eltankos 28 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Very interesting blog post/article with a Doctor at the Pheriche hospital
http://www.tetongravity.com/story/adventure/the-day-that-changed-everything
 SenzuBean 28 Apr 2015
In reply to eltankos:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Nepal_earthquake
Very interesting to see which countries offered aid, and how much compared to the numbers of citizens. The organizations that offered aid is interesting too (some companies providing $1 million, other comparable companies giving nothing and letting users donate).
 Becky E 28 Apr 2015
In reply to eltankos:

Thanks for the link to the blog. Disgusted by selfishness of some people: " several of the “walking wounded”, injured patients who were not critically ill, and could mostly still walk, had taken the opportunity to evacuate themselves by getting on the [helicopter]" whilst critically ill people were left behind.
1
 Simon Caldwell 29 Apr 2015
In reply to Becky E:

It's very easy to do the right thing when you're sat behind a computer several thousand miles away.
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 Denni 30 Apr 2015
 Al Evans 30 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Does anybody know if other mountains/expeditions have been affected besides Everest?
 Al Evans 30 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News:

Sorry obviously they were I hadn't read the above post about Langtang when I posted.
In reply to Al Evans:

Our latest update: interview with a UK doctor in Pheriche who helped 73 casualties from Everest Base Camp:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/nepal-update-from-the-pheriche-front
In reply to Alex Messenger, BMC:

Informative update - thanks. She recommends Doug Scott's Community Action in Nepal as a suitable place to send financial help
 L.A. 30 Apr 2015
In reply to UKC News: From the BBC one hour ago.......

'Meanwhile, climbing is expected to resume next week on Mount Everest, where avalanches triggered by the earthquake killed 18 people.
Damaged ladders in an area of the mountain known as the Khumbu icefall would be repaired within the next few days, according to the chief of Nepal's tourism department, Tulsi Gautam.
Frustration has been growing in parts of rural Nepal over the pace of relief efforts, with some badly-affected villages yet to receive any assistance.
Officials say Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake injured at least 11,000 people.'

Could they not find something more useful to do ??

 Offwidth 30 Apr 2015
In reply to L.A.:

They have... recovering luggage.

http://www.jagged-globe.co.uk/news/item.php?id=2776

I know these are businesses and the shock of what has happened can make people respond in strange ways but 'business as usual' is surely not the way to go at this time.
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 Damo 01 May 2015
In reply to UKC News:

This is a harrowing first-hand account of the disaster in Langtang from two UK women, attached to a CAN fund to help the survivors:

https://www.justgiving.com/Langtang-Survivors
In reply to pneame:

> Informative update - thanks. She recommends Doug Scott's Community Action in Nepal as a suitable place to send financial help

I phoned them up to ask a question - and Doug himself was answering the phones. They sound pretty busy, and are translating donations into local aid as we speak.
 Stani49 12 May 2015
In reply to neil0968:

What, so the more experienced climbers have an ability to just leap frog over a 300ft deep crevasse?!
 Stani49 12 May 2015
In reply to nutme:

Damien Benegas bravely went down to repair some of the route- legend- then the aftershocks the day after ruined his efforts. Bearing in mind we were stuck at C1 for 2 nights- meaning that helicopters have already been doing most of the immediate rescue and recovery work before coming to us. Whether we're 'rich greedy white people' or whatever the Everest bashers want to call us, we are still humans with loved ones at home, and entitled to rescue when a descent is not possible (at least not for over 140 people). I'm not saying I agree with people who flew out from base camp, but that's their decision and situation, not mine.
2
 Tyler 12 May 2015
In reply to Stani49:

> entitled to rescue

Where do these entitlements come from?
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 L.A. 12 May 2015
In reply to Tyler: Maybe, given this morning news, its as well they got them out ?

 Offwidth 12 May 2015
In reply to L.A.:

Sure, why rescue hundreds if not thousands of critically ill poor nepalese from the wreckage of their villages when you can airlift entitled healthy western tourist climbers with fat insurance policies, just in case (people who paid to put themselves in the risky situation in the first place). Did no one tell them that aside from a fatality rate of still much higher than 1 in a thousand for their vanity climbing high on the mountain (and not far behind for their team who loook after them), that there was also a signifcant earthquake risk for everyone in the growing mountain range formed by two continental plates coliding?
2
 L.A. 12 May 2015
In reply to Offwidth:
Whilst I agree that the Nepali authorities got their priorities wrong (see my post above which you replied to) You seem to be advocating no help or rescue whatsoever to those in Base Camp purely because they chose to be climbing in Nepal and are comparatively wealthy. Really ? Perhaps there should be a Means Test for those in need of rescue ?
Nepal needs as much aid and goodwill from other governments as is possible at the moment. The last thing the Nepali Govt would want is the distraction and bad press of a load of Westerners stuck above BC, with the worlds media gathering and wildly speculating on their chances of survival, and what is,or isn't, being done by the authorities to help them.
At least by clearing the BC area they have hopefully avoided the scenario of any further deaths and cant be seen to be blamed by Western govts for endangering their citizens. Hopefully resulting in more aid.
Post edited at 11:32
 Offwidth 12 May 2015
In reply to L.A.:

I thought I was pretty clear. They should simply have been well down the rescue queue after such a terrible disaster. They were at the front precisly because of their wealth and status. The simple means test in such circumstamces should be extreme and urgent need. Go tell the nepalese how we are really helping them in the long run as the rich westerners will be more likely to come back and give aid now.
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