April 26, 2015
It is with a heavy heart that I write on behalf of The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation today. We are deeply saddened to hear the news of a devastating earthquake in Nepal that has destroyed structures and taken many lives throughout the country. The quake caused a catastrophic avalanche from Pumori to sweep into Everest base camp resulting in many injured and dead. We send our prayers and condolences to Nepal and especially to those who have lost family members and homes.
The news from Mount Everest is grim as the earthquake triggered an enormous avalanche that swept down into camp. The aftershocks continue to send smaller avalanches also into and near base camp and the ice fall. Right now, it appears that at least 18 have died in or near base camp. That toll may very well rise as many are still unaccounted for. Also, there were many climbers and guides at camps 1 and 2 above the ice fall when the avalanche occurred. Earthquake-induced movement within the ice fall has damaged or destroyed much of this already tenuous route through the treacherous terrain, the site of last year’s major disaster. It is not yet clear how the route will be rebuilt in order for those above to descend.
The Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC) has many instructors working at and above EBC this year, as always. As far as we can tell, most of our folks are safe. However, our dear friend Chhongba Sherpa – KCC Senior Program Director – was injured at base camp and was flown out by chopper, likely to Kathmandu. Dr. Nima Namgyal Sherpa, our KCC physician, and close personal friend cared for him at EBC and believes that Chhongba will have a full recovery. Dr. Nima Namgyal Sherpa and many others remain at EBC as they are providing support for all of those remaining above in the higher camps. EBC is incredibly frightening as every aftershock or loud sound leads to fear of another avalanche.
We also have some very sparse reports that Phortse, the home to KCC, as well as some other nearby villages were badly damaged. We have no direct reports, though, as the quake apparently destroyed many cellular towers, and presently phone communication throughout much of the Khumbu region is impossible.
The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (ALCF) is accepting relief donations that will be disbursed to the indigenous climbing communities of Nepal to help mitigate the loss of life, livelihood or homes. Our infrastructure is in place.
Use the Donate Now button on the lower right side of the website and please share with social media.
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation