Michael Churton: At Base Camp
Documentary filmmaker Michael Churton was relaxing in his team's dining tent at Base Camp when the earthquake struck. "A couple of us were hanging out listening to classical music before lunch when we felt the floor start to move," Churton says. They ran outside and Churton grabbed his camera. He remembers that the shaking got really violent and then stopped. "We looked around and suddenly this 4,000-foot tall wall of snow was coming straight at us," he says. Amidst yells of "Down!" Churton dropped to the ground. The avalanche hit in full force, slamming him into a rock wall next to the dining tent, breaking his nose and blackening his eye. "My friend Ron had taken cover in the dining tent and got blown, along with it, 30 feet away," Churton says. "I didn't know how bad of shape I was in until I started walking around looking for my tent. I was covered in blood and could barely stand." Two Sherpa from his team helped him reunite with Ron, another team member Davide, and their base camp manager. "We thought the entire camp had been obliterated," says Churton. "We started walking down to Gorak Shep [the closest village]." The hike, which usually takes an hour, took them three. "I was vomiting and spitting blood," says Churton. "I was really slow, but your body checks into survival mode and you keep going, one foot in front of the other."
Churton is currently in Kathmandu, waiting to be reconnect with the rest of his team who were in the higher camps on Everest at the time of the disaster.