At least two climbers were killed and scores were injured, including Indian climber Baljeet Kaur, after an avalanche struck between camp III and IV of Mt Manaslu in Nepal on Monday, a report in Everest Chronicle said. The avalanche struck when hundreds of climbers were heading up to the summit and ferrying logistics to higher camps.
Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,163 metres (26,781 ft) above sea level.
A rescue and search operation has been launched. Aerial searches are also being conducted by Simrik Air, Kailash Air and Heli Everest. However, search and rescue operations have been hampered by the bad weather.
Sherpa climbers from Seven Summit Treks, Satori Adventure, Imagine Nepal Treks, Elite Expedition and 8K Expeditions are among those injured, a report in The Himalayan Times said.
“Several teams are mobilised for search and rescue operation. I heard that one died in the avalanche. And also that one collapsed at the summit,” Lakpa Sherpa of 8K Expeditions told Everest Chronicle.
Gelje Sherpa, another climber, said one climber was swept away by the avalanche while he was still sleeping and one fell into crevasse.
An official of Seven Summit Treks, Thaneshwor Guragain, said three climbers injured from his company were airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment.
Pemba Sherpa from 8K Expedition told The Himalayan Times that Indian climber Baljeet Kaur and her sherpa suffered minor injuries. In May this year, Baljeet Kaur, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, became the first Indian mountaineer to scale four 8,000-metre peaks in less than a month.
Dawa Sherpa from Imagine Nepal Treks said five from his expedition suffered injuries, of which two were in a critical condition.
Satori Adventure’s Rishi Bhandari revealed that three from his expedition were injured and one was in a critical condition.
After a two-year lull due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of climbers in Mt Manaslu this year.
The Nepal government has issued 404 permits this year, double the number of previous years, the Everest Chronicle report said. About 300 climbing guides will be accompanying them in the climb, totaling over 700 climbers in Manaslu this autumn.
So far, less than 10 people have submitted Mt Manaslu so far this season.