Saturday, May 9, 2015

A year later

It has been a year since we have climbed Everest and so much has changed!

At 4pm on April 25, 2015, a massive earthquake hit Nepal ranking 7.8 on the Richter scale. Right now we know that there are more than 5000 people dead and more than 9,000 people injured. Eight million people are affected across Nepal and one million children urgently need help. The earthquake actually originated in Langtang National Park which is about 80 km from Katmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It was the aftershocks of the earthquake that affected Katmandu and the rest of Nepal. In Katmandu many sacred temples and buildings have been destroyed. 

As you recall, 80 million years ago Gondwana, split apart. The Indian plate collided with the Asian plate to form the Himalayas. The Indian plate is still moving under the Asian plate causing Everest to still rise.   "As the Indian plate and the Asian plate pushed against each other, friction generates stress and energy that builds until the crust ruptures" said Dr. Chan. The plate jumped forward 6.5 feet to cause the earthquake. There were also other places that were affected by the earthquake. On Everest base camp the Earthquake triggered an avalanche that wiped out base camp, the Khumbu ice fields and killed 18 people.

Survivors at base camp can either hike down or are air lifted if they are injured. Climbers at camp 1, 2, 3, and 4 can't get down because the ice fields have been destroyed. Helicopters are taking people back down from the camps 2 at a time. Because many helicopters are being used to fly people down from the higher camps some of the hikers are stranded in Lukla waiting to be flown back down to Katmandu. 

This is something that concerns me very much because just exactly one year ago I was at that same spot where the Avalanche hit. I feel bad for all the people who have been affected and the damage that has occurred. I remember all of the places I saw in Katmandu and Everest but now some are destroyed. That area relies heavily on tourism. I worry about how the Sherpa and their families are going to cope. This year we were planning to go again as part of a Wharton Leadership trek to Everest but changed our mind a month prior to departure (we could not get all the details to work to allow the trip to go forward). 

I still am very committed to climbing and hiking. I remember being excited and in awe when climbing Everest. Hopefully this year we will try and summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Sherpas and their families.  


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