The Disaster: The October 14th disaster that killed 43 hikers in the well-traveled Annapurna hiking circuit has raised questions about whether it could have been avoided. Despite advanced warnings of adverse weather due to Cyclone Hudhud, both guides and hikers were lulled by the fact that temperatures in October are often has 60 to 70 F, so they were unprepared for the six feet of snow that descended upon them. The route is a non-technical hike that appeals to recreational hikers not used to the extreme swings in weather that are common in the area. Poor communication also played a part in the poverty-stricken region where cell coverage is spotty, leaving hikers unaware that deadly weather was coming. Lastly, many of the trekkers don't employ traditional guides; instead hiring porters with limited training.
State of recovery: All of the deceased have been recovered and interred. As the trail thawed several hundred injured (mostly frostbite) were evacuated. The Nepalese government is working to improve communications, and increase emergency shelters. There also is talk about requiring all trekkers to be accompanied by certified guides.
Where to Donate: MercyCorps