Everest Season Cut Short: Nepal Earthquake

The 2015 Everest season looks set to end prematurely in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which killed at least 19 climbers on the mountain and over 7,000 people in the wider area affected by the disaster. The Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Association have announced that the north side of Mt. Everest—as well as all other mountains in Tibet—are closed for the season due to the risk of aftershocks. The Khumbu Icefall route remains in a state of disrepair following the avalanche on 25th April which swept away ladders and ropes fixed by Sherpas. 

Ice climbing on the Khumbu Glacier whilst nearby the Everest 2014 season draws to a early close., 146 kb
Ice climbing on the Khumbu Glacier whilst nearby the Everest 2014 season draws to a early close.
© ScottMackenzie, Apr 2014

Further aftershocks and tremors have been felt in the area with more forecasted and there remains a high risk of another earthquake of 6.0 magnitude, meaning that the mountain is still unsafe for climbers. 

On 29th April, a second avalanche off the West Shoulder of Everest caused further damage to the Khumbu Icefall - the most dangerous section of the South Col route up Everest - upon which Sherpas are reluctant to attempt to re-establish fixed lines due to fears for their safety.

Most climbers have now left Base Camp and abandoned their expeditions. The Nepalese Government has so far refused to officially announce a ban on climbing the mountain, with the complicated situation of permits and loss of revenue perhaps playing a part. 357 climbers were registered to climb on Everest this season, with permits costing up to £46,200 per individual.

For the first time since 1974 - with the north side closed and the icefall destroyed - it looks as though no-one will summit Mt. Everest this year.

For more information on where to donate funds to assist with the aid efforts in Nepal, read our UKC Article.

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