The above picture is a view from camp3 to the
summit form a previous year...
Picture copyrighted Phil Austin.
EverestNews.com, I was the first guy to C3 on Ama Dablam
after the recent avalanches. Some of the reporting on this has been
inaccurate and I've attached a summary of what happened, as best we know.
I've held off distributing this until I had a chance to speak to Duncan
Williams's family. It's a popular mountain and so attracts interest but also
I think that the opinion expressed about overcrowding or misplaced tents was
just plainly wrong and caused unnecessary grief to the families. The whole of
the C3 area was destroyed. There was nothing left of it and we couldn't find
anything in our search (necessarily quick as we'd just missed an avalanche).
Please use as you feel appropriate. Yours, Steve Gandy
Duncan Williams left from Base
Camp (BC) for Camp 1 (C1) on Saturday 11th Nov with Mingma Nuru Sherpa. Clive
Roberts and I had both just come down from acclimatisation at Advanced Base
Camp (ABC) and C1 and needed to rest. Additionally, we had limited sleeping
spaces on the mountain and so it made sense to split the party in two rather
than to carry up additional tentage and stoves.
Clive, Perbu and I set off for C1 on Sunday and on Tuesday Clive descended due
to difficulties with a recurrent chest infection. Perbu and I continued
without incident to C2.
Early on Tuesday morning, Perbu and I were woken by what sounded like an
avalanche/serac fall; approximately 15mins later there was a second. It seemed
to us at the time that these came from further East and not from Ama Dablam.
Tim Mosedale put the time of the first of these at 0415hrs local (2230hrs
GMT). A third has been reported but we did not hear it at C2.
At 0730hrs we made our scheduled call to BC and confirmed that we were ready
to ascend to C3. Perbu tried to raise Mingma on the radio but got no response.
We assumed that either their batteries were dead or that they were on their
way up already. At 0945hrs we began our ascent to C3 but with no expectation
that there had been any problem there. Our radio was switched off during the
ascent to conserve batteries.
The avalanches were heard at BC. They opened a continuing radio watch and
observed the slopes above C3 for movement during the morning.
At approx 1315hrs we were just below C3 when a further avalanche occurred.
This was not a serac fall but a snow (blocks and powder) avalanche from above
the Dablam and which was directed to its right and down the normal ascent
route. We were sheltered by the shoulder of C3.
We continued up and arrived at the C3 site 10-15 mins later having left the
All that was left at C3 was a metal spoon to the right of the ascent route and
two old ropes above some steep ground. Subsequent questioning of earlier
ascentionists has shown that these were here before the avalanche.
Snow and blocks of ice weighing roughly 250-350kg covered the area. From
questioning of earlier ascentionists, the area was approx 30m x 30m. The 10m
nearest to the Dablam were heavily covered and indistinguishable from the
On the surface there was no evidence of C3 ever having existed. For 10-15 mins
Perbu and I shouted and dug at the ground with our axes across the site to see
if we could find any traces of C3 and its occupants. We found no trace and I
assume that any remains were either buried too deeply to be found or were
covered by blocks of ice.
Perbu and I then moved back down the route to a safer area where I radioed a
mayday message to Clive at BC. We retreated down the mountain arriving at C2
shortly before last light.
A further large avalanche, observed from BC, struck C3 at approx 1630hrs.
I stayed overnight at C2 in case of the remote possibility of someone making
their way down the mountain and Perbu descended to BC, arriving at 2330hrs.
On the Wednesday there were 2 recces of C3 by helicopter. There was no sign of
life or of anything at the site other than avalanche debris.
On Thursday there was a recce by foot and binoculars of the Western cwm. Some
debris was observed spread out at about 500m below C3.
On Friday there was a final recce by helicopter which included an expert from
the Himalayan Rescue Association. His conclusion was that he did not expect
survivors, that any effective search would require Sherpas who had been
operating on 8000m peaks and that he recommended that the search wait until
The Pangboche sherpas had initially said on Tuesday that they wanted to mount
a search of C3. They backed out of this but were reconsidering their position
over the weekend following the avalanche
An avalanche has wiped out camp 3 on Ama Dablam. Three western climbers and 3
Sherpa are missing, all assumed lost. A helicopter is searching but with
Adventure Peaks climber Duncan Williams, 32, of Britain and
Mingma Nuru Sherpa, 35, of Solukhumbu district are along the missing.
The other two western climbers from another team are missing
along with a Sherpa from that team...
Update: tourism ministry officials have now released the
names of Swedes Daniel Carlsson, 27, and Mikael Forsberg, 41 among the
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