Avalanche In Nepal Kills Climbers As Weather Halts Rescue
The avalanche struck the climber's base camp at 7,000 meters around 5 a.m. local time. The deadly cascade of snow was likely caused by a serac, an ice cliff, falling off of a glacier, estimated to be as large as six or seven football fields.
Ten climbers survived and several had to be flown to hospitals by helicopter, according to the Washington Post. Among the suvivors was ski mountaineer Glen Plake who lost several front teeth and sustained an eye injury in the ordeal.
"It's a war zone up here," Plake told EpicTV.
The search for other survivors was called of Sunday afternoon due to inclement conditions. Kenton Cool, an English mountain cimber who scaled Manaslu in 2010 said the rescue effort will be difficult.
"It will be hard to know exactly where everyone was," Cool said. "It will be hard to find the bodies, let alone retrieve them."
Among the missing are cardiologist Dr. Dominique Ouimet from Montreal. He was using the expedition to raise money for St-Jérôme Regional Hospital, where he worked. Many of the missing are French or German, according to the Associated Press.
Al Jazeera has video from the remote mountain location.
The catastrophic avalanche came at the beginning of Nepal's autumn climbing season. Following on the heels of monsoon season, the weather is often unpredicable and an abundance of fresh, loose snow increases the risk of avalanches.
Global warming has made mountain climbing riskier in recent years. Rising temperatures have resulted in deteriorating conditions which make it harder for climbers to use their ice axes and crampons on their boots, CBC News reported.
Nepal has eight of the 14 highest peaks in the world.
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