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 SummitClimb Everest - Lhotse International Expedition 2005: Reflections on the Everest camp 1 avalanche


Wreckage at camp 1, showing the tent that was drug over, and which Durga and Pierre spent their first few hours in after the avalanche

 

Dear EverestNews.com, For those of us involved in the recent avalanche that destroyed camp 1 on the Nepali side Everest these have been a few fascinating days. Beginning with the surreal and vicious force of the slide itself. The event was quickly well described on EverestNews.com by Pierre Bourdeau of Canada who was camped near to my friends and I. Now that a couple of days have passed and the visceral nature of the moment has receded my lasting impression is not of the avalanche moment but of it's interpersonal aftermath. Being avalanched is obviously a bad thing to have happen to you and I think we all feel disappointed that our chance for climbing the mountain has been crushed for this year but some really super things have risen from the wreckage of our campsite. Admittedly, before we arrived in Base camp I held a little of the cynicism about the Everest scene that can be found in the media but, in the course of our rescue I think we got to see the core spirit of the modern day Everest climber and I really feel great about what is taking place on the great slopes of our Mother Goddess. It is inspiring. The members of the teams from Alpine Ascents International, International Mountain Guides (Singapore Group), Mountain Madness, Adventure Consultants and others who came to our aid were shining examples of courage, cheerfulness, and concern. I'm impressed with, and appreciate, the quality of person we witnessed throughout the Base camp family. It is like a little United Nations. It's cool to see egos and nationalism take a back seat and watch honest exchanges of the best aspects of the human spirit. I saw in a recent article that one climber has called the slide "A miracle on Everest" because so few people were involved in the slide and that the injuries were relatively minor. I'd just like to second that, and point out that now that all the medical evaluations have been made we see one more amazing thing: there was not one broken bone! It was thought that there was a broken back, a broken ankle, a broken hand etc. All have turned out to be no more than serious bruising. Internal injuries thought to be fairly serious have also morphed into simple bruising as well. So in the end it seems to me that the miraculous nature of Sagarmatha is alive and well both in the drama of the events that take stage there but also in the pure souls of those who take part in the fantastic game that is Mount Everest.

-Jowan Gauthier, Canada

May 09, 2005 Kathmandu, Nepal

Dispatches

 

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