Kathmandu: Several cracks and holes have developed in the Mount Everest region due to last year’s devastating earthquakes that killed about 9,000 people across Nepal, according to a specialist team responsible for maintaining the climbing route on the world’s highest peak.
“The great earthquakes of April 25 and May as well as a large number of aftershocks have caused some damage in the Everest region,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, chairman of Nepal Mountaineering Association, said.
“The ice-fall doctors fixing the ladders and ropes have informed that due to the cracks and holes developed on the slope of the mountain they need to fix more ladders this time,” he said.
Icefall doctors are Sherpa mountaineers charged with repairing the climbing route on Mount Everest.
“This time we need 10 doctors, which is more than the usual number of six to fix the ropes and install aluminium ladders,” Sherpa told Press Trust of India.
They also need more time to fix the ladders due to the problem, he added.
So far, more than 440 aftershocks with magnitude 4 or more have hit Nepal after the two earthquakes last year.
The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) has been authorised to fix ladders and ropes in the mountains.
The ice-fall doctors prepare the route from the base camp to usually camp I, paving the way for climbers to ascend the peak. However, it may also require to fix ropes in few places above the camp I.
Due to the delay in fixing ropes, the climbers, who have already reached the base camp are yet to start their climb towards the peak.
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.
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.
“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.
A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.
The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.
‘Like a bomb went off’
The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.
“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.
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.
Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.
“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.
The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)