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Everest Week 2: Team Updates Post Earthquake


Alpenglow’s team is safe in North Side Base Camp, after a 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, affecting most parts of the country and areas of China, Tibet, and India. Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to those on the South Side, and throughout Nepal, who have been affected. As we move into week 2 of our expedition, we will continue to post updates about our team, who is remaining in Everest Base Camp on the North Side.

April 26, 2015 – Adrian reported that the team woke up to clear skies, sun, and a fresh coat of snow on Everest. While their forecast predicts clouds will build quickly and that more snow is on the way, the team hopes that this window of clear weather allows for the most critically injured to be rescued from the South Side Base Camp by heli, and those that are less injured to begin descending under their own power. Good weather should also allow climbers and Sherpa to continue their search in the debris for victims. We are holding a puja with our Sherpa and beginning to consider what happens next.

Our team took this photo after a fantastic puja this morning. From shots of blessed whiskey, hugs, and smiles we were straight back into contacting family and friends in the Khumbu to be sure they were safe. We’re happy to say that all of our team’s families are ok. We have a great from around the world in Tibet. The energy is good despite the circumstances. We have another Base Camp day planned for tomorrow.

April 27, 2015 – “A Chinese government vehicle parked below Everest in North Side Base Camp. The CTMA is struggling as hard as all of us to decide the future of this season and how best to support the Sherpa community and Nepal as a whole. Climbing is never about only going up. It is about the team, and what we learn ourselves and share with others. Our focus now is how to support the communities that have supported us all these years climbing in the Himalaya.” – Alpenglow lead guide Adrian Ballinger

April 28, 2015 – The Alpenglow team is still in Base Camp and there have been no updates. They are doing well and they are safe; however, they’re very heavy-hearted over the earthquake tradgedy. We will post again as soon as we hear an update from our mountain guides.

April 29, 2015 – The CTMA has officially announced that the climbing season of all 8000m peaks in Tibet has been cancelled. At the moment, we have confirmed transport to leave base camp on May 1. We hope our team members will be on their way home a few days after that.

Below is an excerpt from our expedition doctor’s detailed account of Alpenglow’s time In Everest Base Camp on the North Side. Monica also explains that she, Adrian, and Brian are looking into ways that they can directly help those affected by the earthquake. We will be keeping you updated on both the climber and Sherpa’s timeline to return home and our progress on our effort to help.

“Hearts are heavy with all the tragedy, with all the loss, and with broken dreams, but I have to say that the Alpenglow Expeditions Everest team this year has shown an unimaginable level of comprehension, patience, and empathy along with an ability to keep smiling in the face of adversity that has been a pleasure to be a part of. A unique team of climbers, all of whom were on the South Side of Everest last year and had their expeditions cancelled after the avalanche in the ice fall; some of whom had even been on Everest in 2012 and also been forced to leave without setting foot on the mountain but all of whom have demonstrated a phenomenal ability to remain positive. Working with this team has been a pleasure and they deserve only the best of luck in their future endeavours.

As for the Alpenglow team, Adrian, Brian and myself are reaching out to all of our contacts to see if there is any way in which we can be put to good use somewhere in Nepal. Between us we have an intimate knowledge of Nepal, a unique skill set, food, medications, solar power, water sterilisation kits, tents and many of the things that could help some of those rural areas that have been so badly affected. Yet we are struggling to find a way to get to where we can be of use, and the last thing we want to do is divert resources from the dire needs of those affected by the earthquake. Kathmandu is close to collapsing with the influx of international aid workers and volunteers. There is not enough water, food, shelter or medication for the tens of thousands of people whose houses have been destroyed, let alone those arriving to help. Big aid organizations with experience in the management of natural disasters are in situ and trying to mount a structured response to the overwhelming needs of a destroyed city and its decimated, injured and sick population; but finding a way to put ourselves in a position where we can help is proving very difficult. It may be that right now the best thing we can do is to leave precipitously and formulate a plan to offer aid and support in months to come. In the longer term, the best thing that anyone can do is to come back to Nepal, to go trekking, to go climbing, to bring money into a broken country and allow it to rebuild the tourist industry that Nepal desperately needs in order to heal the sick and to rebuild the villages, towns and city that have been devastated.” – Monica Piris, Alpenglow Expeditions Doctor

April 30, 2015 – Team has checked in and is in Base Camp. Everyone is still safe and doing well. They are planning to leave base camp tomorrow. More updates to come.


May 1, 2015 – A CTMA truck arrived in North Side base camp to take Alpenglow to Lhasa. The team has arrived in Shigatse!


May 3, 2015 – The entire team has made it back to Kathmandu after an “epic day of travel interspersed with just enough good luck” said guide Adrian Ballinger.


May 4, 2015 – Adrian sent us this picture from Kathmandu and explained that businesses are reopening and traffic is back on the streets. Collapsed buildings continue to remind our team of the huge losses in the city and beyond. Please help Nepal by providing financial support. View Outside Magazine’s list of accreditable relief organizations.


May 5, 2015 – Alpenglow guide Brian Warren sent us this photo of Kathmandu’s sacred Boudhanath Stupa, and explained “arriving back in Kathmandu after being in the mountains is always a pleasure, even after the destruction and chaos that the city and surrounding area has endured. It’s still full of life and positive emotion.”


Panaru, Tim, and Brian serving dinner to the team on their last night in Base Camp. With the Everest season closed and the focus on Nepal relief efforts, team members are heading their own ways for a few months. We’re looking forward to having the crew back in Tibet for a new season on the North Side in 2016.