Robbie Massie: At Camp 1
Robbie Massie was at Camp 1 on Everest at the time of the earthquake and avalanche. He had just returned to his tent after an acclimatization hike up to Camp 2. "We were boiling water and removing our gear when the ground started shaking, swaying back and forth by several feet," Massie says. He poked his head out of the tent and saw his six teammates, including guide Dave Hahn, doing the same. "I had never been in an earthquake before and was confused about what was happening," says Massie. "We were camped on a pretty narrow ice fin over top of the Khumbu Icefall and so I thought it was the glacier collapsing. I was getting ready to jump out of my tent and run." Dave Hahn called out that it was an earthquake and everyone should stay in their tents, zip up all their flies, and don avalanche beacons and helmets.
"Then there was this loud crack and we all stuck our heads out again," says Massie. The crack was a serac — a large, overhanging section of snow and ice — breaking off from Camp 1’s west shoulder, and another from Nuptse, a nearby peak. "We knew it was an avalanche, but it was snowing pretty hard so we couldn’t see anything," Massie says. He remembers struggling to get all his tent’s vents and flies closed, as snow started pouring in. Massie braced his arms over his head, fearing the worst. But that was it. "It ended up barely hitting us," he says. "No one was injured, our tents weren’t ripped or blown away. Crazy thing was, our tents had originally been set up much closer to the west shoulder, but Dave Hahn had us move everything 200 to 300 yards away, closer to the center of Camp 1. He said he’d once witnessed an avalanche take out all the tents there."