Serap Jangbu Sherpa, 46, was hanging on every bit of communication from the base camp in the Himalayas -by text, online, Facebook–when I called him on Saturday.
It was like he was hanging on the side of the mountain he loved.
Serap is a premier climber who has scaled Mt. Everest three times. But it’s tough to be a sherpa. Now he makes his living as a mountaineering consultant at a Manhattan sports store.
When the news broke that a 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, Serap, the president of the U.S. Nepal Climbing Association, knew what that would mean.
There would be an avalanche resulting in injuries and lives lost, and maybe the loss of the climbing season itself (Death toll stands at more than 2,100, according to ABC News).
“When I heard the news I was very shocked,” he told me when I reached him at his home in Queens. “Oh my god. What’s going on? Every year again and again. Very big shocking news.”
He was hoping it wouldn’t be like last April when an avalanche on the mountain killed 16 sherpa and ended the season.
By mid-morning on Saturday, the sad numbers continued to mount as the quake cut sharply through Nepal and could be felt into neighboring areas to the east and west.
Later, Nepalese officials confirmed to The New York Times that an avalanche slammed into a base camp, killing at least 10 climbers and injuring an untold number of others.
Nima Namgyal Sherpa, a tour guide also at the base camp, wrote on Facebook: “Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche,” said Nima Sherpa, base camp manager for Asian Trekking. “All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives.”
Still, there was optimistic talk that the trekking could resume again.
CONTINUED ON AALDEF You can find out about the latest on the quake in the clip below from ABC News.