7 climbers killed, 2 missing after storm sweeps through Nepal base camp

Aaron Brown
October 14, 2018

A storm Friday night destroyed their camp and rescue helicopter sent early Saturday were unable to land because of bad weather conditions on the mountain, police official Bir Bahadur Budamagar said.

"Eight people including members of a South Korean expedition team have been killed in western Nepal apparently due to snowstorm", said police spokesman Sailesh Thapa.

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal's Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

Helicopter pilot Siddartha Gurung was among the first people to reach the site after the deadly storm and described a scene of total destruction with the tents flattened and the climber´s bodies scattered across the area. Then in October, a freak blizzard killed more than 40 tourists and their guides in the Annapurna region, a disaster that was largely blamed on poor weather forecasting and lacklustre safety standards in Nepal's poorly regulated trekking industry.

The remote camp at around 3,500 metres was located next to a gully that acted as a funnel for the mass of snow, ice and rocks brought down by the avalanche creating a powerful kickback of wind that decimated the team.

The remote area is hard to reach by foot, he said, and locals are still looking for two other climbers who are missing after the overnight storm.

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Expedition organisers raised the alarm after losing contact with the group, who set off on 7 October, for almost 24 hours.

The group, five South Koreans and their four Nepali guides, were trying to ascend Mount Gurja, a 7,193m (23,599ft) peak.

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world's 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest, and the autumn climbing season is now at its peak.

The BBC reported that according to the Himalayan Database no one has stood on Gurja's summit since 1996.

The South Korean team were planning to scale the mountain via a never-climbed route, the Korean Alpine Federation said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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