Body of Sherpa recovered as death toll in Everest avalanche reaches 13
Rescuers recovered the body of one mountain guide yesterday after an ice avalanche swept the lower slopes of Mount Everest, bringing the death toll to at least 13 in the deadliest accident on the world's highest mountain.
The avalanche struck a perilous passage called the Khumbu Icefall, which is riddled with crevasses and piled with serac – or huge chunks of ice – that can break free without warning.
All of the victims were Sherpa mountain guides.
Shocked relatives wondered how they would cope without the men who take huge risks to earn up to $5,000 (about €3,600) for a two-month expedition – around 10 times the average annual pay in Nepal.
"He was the only breadwinner in the family," said 17-year-old Phinjum Sherpa, as she waited for the body of her uncle, Tenji Sherpa, at a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. "We have no one to take care of us."
Although relatively low on the mountain, climbers say the icefall is one of the most dangerous places on Mount Everest. There are, however, no safer paths along the famous South Col route scaled by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
The incident was the first major avalanche of this year's climbing season on Everest, which has been scaled by more than 4,000 climbers.