Nepal Quake Update: Canadians on Everest when Avalanche Hit

Following Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake which convulsed Nepal, 19 bodies have been recovered on Mount Everest base camp. More than 60 were injured when an avalanche triggered by the quake engulfed a large section of base camp, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told Reuters.

 

In this photo, provided by climber Azim Afif, people approach the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday. Afif and his team of four others from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia all survived the avalanche. Photograph: Azim Afif/AP
This photo taken by climber Azim Afif shows the scene after an avalanche triggered by the earthquake swept through Everest Base Camp, Nepal yesterday. Malaysian Afif and his team of four others all survived. Photo: Azim Afif/AP.

Following a weather delay, a helicopter transported all the injured to hospital on Sunday, Ang Tshering Sherpa said.

Roughly 100 climbers are currently at camps 1 and 2 on Everest, and all are safe, he added. But it will be difficult to evacuate them, as the route back to base camp (through the Khumbu icefall) is blocked by the snowslide. UPDATE: helicopters have begun to evacuate climbers.

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This is shaping up to be the worst disaster in the history of mountaineering on the world’s highest mountain. Only a year ago, an avalanche in the Khumbu icefall killed 16 sherpas – the deadliest day in Everest history up to that point.

 

 

Quebec climber Gabriel Filippi posted on his Facebook page that the other Canadians in his team at base camp were all unharmed.

Raymond Sartor from Newmarket, ON, said his son, 19-year-old Dylan Sartor, was possibly at base camp when the avalanche hit. Dylan stopped in Nepal to trek to base camp on his way home from a university exchange program.

“It seems to me he might be in the heart of all this,” Raymond told CBC News.

UPDATE: Dylan Sartor is safe.

Dylan Sartor texted his dad this photo last week, saying he would be trekking to Everest base camp over the weekend. (Submitted by Raymond Sartor/courtesy CBC.ca)
Dylan Sartor texted his family this photo last week. He said he would be hiking to Everest base camp this weekend. (Submitted by Raymond Sartor/courtesy CBC.ca)

 

Calgary climber Raphael Slawinski is presumed to be safe, as he sent a text message on Saturday reading “all good on the North Side.” UPDATE: Slawinski and another Canadian, Nancy Hansen, survived the avalanche. Check Slawinski’s report on Arc’teryx’s The Bird.

Nepali cook Kanchaman Tamang told AFP that he had reassured his family he would be safe at base camp. “The season is over – the route has been destroyed, icefall ladders are broken,” he said.

“I don’t think I will come back next year – this mountain means too much pain.”

Follow CBC News coverage of the earthquake. You can help support the Canadian Red Cross quake relief effort here.

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