Following arguably the worst natural disaster to ever hit Nepal and Mount Everest, the death count has risen to more than 3,300. The earthquake, which measured at a colossal 7.8 magnitude, set off a series of fatal aftershock quakes as well as avalanches. Dozens of sherpas, locals, mountaineers, and international climbers remain missing, but survivors of the catastrophic event have been able to make their way off the mountain in the days following the earthquake and share their survival experience.
"It was like nothing I have ever experienced … we thought it was an avalanche without any sound," climber Raphael Slawinski told Men’s Journal from Base Camp on the north side of the mountain about 20 miles away. "We could barely stand. After a minute, it stopped. I felt like I had been on the deck of a boat we were tossed around so much."
Garrett Madison, owner of Seattle-based expedition company Madison Mountaineering, was stranded at his team camp higher above Base Camp 1 at C2 with 14 other climbers. In a satellite phone call Madison was able to make to his company, he detailed the critical situation by saying: "We are running low on food and fuel and we have to get down. There's no path or route through the Khumbu icefall. Our only option to get down is by helicopter evacuation." The team was evacuated by air — along with all others who were at C1 and C2. The injured transported to safety in Katmandu while the uninjured trekked back to a small airport in Lukla to be flown home.
German climber Jost Kobusch was able to film the avalanche that he and his team encountered at camp. In the video above, you are able to see the beginning rumblings of the quake and how swiftly the avalanche following took over the camp as the climbers try to outrun the snow and seek shelter in their tents. The entire camp is engulfed within seconds, and when the debris settles, Kobusch and other climbers can be heard sounding off, checking to see who was left unharmed. Eighteen people are thought to be dead as a result of the documented avalanche.
The South Route is officially closed for climbing for the rest of the season. China announced this morning that they are also officially banning climbing on the north side of Everest.
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