10 Mountaineers Confirmed Dead After Group Was Hit by Avalanche

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Thianchai Sitthikongsak/Getty Images)

In tragic news, 10 mountaineers died recently in the Himalayas in northern India when an avalanche swept them away. Rescuers have been searching for 11 others from the group who are currently missing. This comes a day after an avalanche on Mount Manaslu in Nepal wiped out a campground on the mountain.

On the Gangotri range of the Garhwal Himalayas, a group of 29 climbers was hit by an avalanche on Oct. 4, according to Uttarakhand state police chief Ashok Kumar. Rescuers managed to find 8 survivors in the snow and send them to a local hospital. The group consisted of mountaineer trainees and instructors, as they were practicing navigation when the avalanche hit.

The National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army have deployed search and rescue teams. Additionally, the Indian Air Force has designated two helicopters for the efforts. “The Indian Air Force is doing an aerial recce of the mountain where this happened. It is not easy to reach the spot,” said Kumar.

According to Amit Chowdhary, an official at the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, an incident of this scale hasn’t happened before. “It has happened for the first time in the history of Indian mountaineering that such a large group of trainee mountaineers has been killed in an avalanche,” he said.

On Twitter, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wrote, “Deeply anguished by the loss of precious lives due to landslide which has struck the mountaineering expedition carried out by the Nehru Mountaineering Institute in Uttarkashi.”

Mountaineers Die in Avalanche Just One Week After Famed Skiier Found Dead in the Himalayas

This incident comes just a week after the body of Hilaree Nelson was found in the Himalayas in Nepal. It was reported that she fell into a crevasse after reaching Mount Manaslu’s peak. Nelson was a famed US ski mountaineer, known as one of the greatest mountaineers of her generation.

Nelson was skiing with her partner Jim Morrison. They ascended Manaslu’s peak, the eighth-tallest mountain in the world, which reaches 26,781 feet. Nelson and Morrison, along with three sherpa guides, reached the peak, then attempted to ski down. 15 minutes into their descent, they radioed the expedition organizers at Shangri-La Nepal Trek. They reported that Nelson had fallen into a crevasse on the peak.

“The duo reached the true summit of Manaslu at 11.30 A.M. local time,” said Jiban Ghimire, director of Shangri-La Nepal Trek. “And about 15 minutes later, I got a call from our staff at Base Camp that her ski blade skidded off and [she] fell off the other side of the peak.”

According to a witness who was also on the mountain, Brazillian runner Fernanda Maciel, Nelson fell 80 feet into the crevasse. Maciel explained in an Instagram post that Nelson ran into an avalanche while skiing just below the summit of the mountain, which led to her death.