Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

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Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby Overlandman » Wed 15 Oct, 2014 9:05 pm

From ABC

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-15/f ... rm/5816742

A snowstorm in the Himalayan region of central Nepal has killed four climbers, while more than 100 others remain out of contact, officials say.

"There has been heavy snowfall in the area, up to three feet (91 centimetres)," local police official Ganesh Rai said.

"Among the dead are two Polish trekkers and one Israeli. A Nepali was also buried by the snow."

He said 13 trekkers were rescued after the weather cleared on Wednesday, but 152 other foreign tourists remained out of contact in Mustang district.

"The phone network is not very good so we have not been able to get in touch with the missing, but we hope to find them later today," Mustang district official Baburam Bhandari said.

Thousands of trekkers visit the Annapurna region every October, when weather conditions are deemed favourable for hiking trips.

However, Mustang has seen unusually heavy snowfall this week as a result of Cyclone Hudhud, which struck neighbouring India's eastern coast at the weekend.

Mr Rai said 168 tourists had registered to trek in Mustang along the Annapurna circuit this week.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby RonK » Wed 15 Oct, 2014 9:34 pm

Tragic. On the Thorong La, a not uncommon place for trekkers to get into trouble.

Cyclone hits India causing heavy snowstorms in the Himalaya - exactly the situation of a couple of years back that I warned about in this thread.

There could be more casualties, but most of 100 unaccounted for are probably safe along the trail somewhere. The crossing of the Thorong La is the danger point.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Thu 16 Oct, 2014 4:32 am

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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby Snowzone » Thu 16 Oct, 2014 9:08 am

Very Sad. I was on the Annapurna Circuit this time 2 years ago. That depth of snow fall would make it very tough going. I hope the death toll does not continue to rise.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Fri 17 Oct, 2014 4:55 pm

Why Did So Many People Die in Nepal?
We'd known about the storm for days, so how come hundreds of trekkers were caught off guard?


http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure- ... Nepal.html
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Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby RonK » Fri 17 Oct, 2014 6:21 pm

There is much complacency about the weather and altitude sickness among trekkers.

Even here after I warned about last year's virtually identical cyclonic event in a thread about EBC preparations there were several posts in denial.

Some simply don't give the highest mountains in the world due respect. Just because the foolhardy often get away with crossing the Thorong La in sneakers, shorts and tee shirt doesn't mean a blizzard won't kill people another time.

This report mentions another 5 killed at Dhaulagiri Base camp, this area is much more remote and I doubt the trail had been searched at all yet.

It's just been revealed on the evening news that there are a number of Australian trekkers not accounted for. I hope nobody from here amongst them.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Sun 19 Oct, 2014 6:02 pm

no one thought to check the weather,
if they were dressed like a lot of foreign tourists are in nz in the mountains, then they were doomed if they couldnt get to decent accommodation.... they walk around in nz in jeans and only have thin clothes all year round... one guy recently went to the top of tongariro in winter in the snow and lost his jandles. another group saved his bacon...
a lot of people dont have storm gear... just any old jacket they think will keep all the elements out...
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby RonK » Sun 19 Oct, 2014 8:49 pm

Now up to 43 casualties - approaching the proportions of the 1995 disaster in Gokyo when 60 trekkers died in a blizzard.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Tue 21 Oct, 2014 4:01 pm

Things We Learned From The Annapurna Trekking Disaster
http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/outdoor-fe ... 13468.html
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby walkon » Tue 21 Oct, 2014 8:45 pm

It's been interesting watching the dialog from the reports coming out of all this. The ' We didn't know' has become 'We weren't told, noone stopped us' and lastly 'Porters' have become 'Guides'. There's a lot of shifting the onus of responsibility onto someone else since the blame game has begun. All the Western countries don't want their people to be the naive ones so they change the language subtlety to achieve this
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby Ellobuddha » Tue 21 Oct, 2014 11:49 pm

This blame game is crazy. I left Nepal after completing the AC on the Monday before this happened.

There are so many trekkers with no idea. Met several who didnt even carry a sleeping bag let alone have any idea what to do in the event of a storm, heavy snow or similar.

Many foreignors carry completely inappropriate clothing for the altitude and possible conditions. Many believe just grab a $15 knock off North Face down jacket in KTM and you'll be sweet.......

This was my second year. Last year it was knee deep snow over the pass, after a day of snow from Thorung Pedi continued till I left high camp. Without a guide I couldnt have left High Camp. No marker poles etc for the first section in the dark would have been impossible. I was the only person I saw all day that even had gaiters. I gave my guide my waterproof pants to wear as they had tight velcro tabs around the ankles

To blame the poor guides and porters or to suggest that the Nepali Government should have warned and stopped them is ludicrous. The amount of foreigners who dont even register and pay their ACAP/ TIMS is ridiculous.

I went to the HRA doctors presentation at Manang again this year as I was with friends who were trekking for the first time a d i wanted to check my O2 sats. I was shocked by how many people had no idea about altitude sickness prior to getting to 3500 metres.

Its a terrible tragedy but a lot of people going up there should make themselves more aware of the risks and dangers.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby Hallu » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 12:43 am

You're right, but after all it is also the lack of strict rules in Nepal that led to this. As you say, many unfit and unprepared people go there, and it shouldn't be possible. In the end that's probably what will happen. Nepalese rangers that will have to check if hikers paid the fee and were rightly checked to see if they were fit to undertake that journey. This disaster has been global news, the Nepalese tourism industry is gonna take a hit, so the government has to respond.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 4:38 am

same thing happened when a young lady drowned on the milford track last autumn... the survivors of the group blamed authorities for not warning them bridges were removed and the streams could be dangerous.. they werent cut off they could have easily gone back the way they came to shelters or a hut but they said they "couldnt go back the four hours to the hut" and waiting for the water to go down was never given as an option... the only option they thought they had was to cross a flooded stream that was far harder than anything they'd done or were trained for... and it was everyone elses fault.
not sure if its a growing trend, my car was written off by a driver who T boned me, he had failed to give way. there were five young men in the car and they all blamed me... despite them having crossed a give way mark on the road. the driver never admitted fault and wrote a letter repeating i was entirely at fault...
young israeli lady wandered well off the routeburn track in NZ. slipped and fell and died... her family wanted to blame DOC. but there was no evidence doc had told her about a vague track in the area where she was.. i've read comments by people who were some of the last to see her alive, they could see she was ill equipped and were trying to give her advice and she didnt want to listen, they had commented among themselves she was an accident waiting to happen, there are an awful lot of people out there who cant and or don't take responsibility for their actions... and are out of their depth in the wilderness..
a lot of peole are like sheep out there, it's the blind leading the blind
Last edited by wayno on Wed 22 Oct, 2014 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 4:45 am

you'll be surprised how disasters like this increase an areas reputation and more thrill seekers than every will flock to the area.
despite lots of deaths on everest the no's attempting it still get higher..
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Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby RonK » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 7:42 am

Hallu wrote:You're right, but after all it is also the lack of strict rules in Nepal that led to this. As you say, many unfit and unprepared people go there, and it shouldn't be possible. In the end that's probably what will happen. Nepalese rangers that will have to check if hikers paid the fee and were rightly checked to see if they were fit to undertake that journey. This disaster has been global news, the Nepalese tourism industry is gonna take a hit, so the government has to respond.

Rangers? You think they have rangers in Nepal? hahahahahahaha.

This tragedy won't change anything. Nepal is a impoverished country. The Government has far more pressing needs to address than baby sitting foreigners.

As Ellobhudda mentioned, the attitude of many trekkers has to be seen to be believed. Most of them don't come from bushwalking or hiking backgrounds and haven't got a clue. They are backpackers, just following the global backpacker routes, many on a shoestring budget and poorly equipped with not even enough money to pay for shelter and food. Theft from other trekkers is commonplace. A few dead trekkers won't stop them from coming.

They could I suppose use the strategy applied in Bhutan - impose a minimum $US200 daily spend - that'll keep the rifraf out.

When you go trekking in Nepal, you do it at your own risk. It's up to you to know the dangers. It's up to you to be properly prepared.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 3:46 pm

Nepal tightens up mountain rules in wake of Himalayan hiking disaster
Trekkers to be required to take guides and weather forecasts improved after dozens died in country’s worst hiking disaster

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/o ... g-disaster
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Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby RonK » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 5:08 pm

Make 'em pay more - that will reduce the numbers for a while, and provide more employment for locals.

But the backpackers forums are full of advice how to avoid the checkpoints and fees, so I don't believe things will change much. Nepal simply doesn't have the resources to police it. The Annapurna Circuit is but one of many trekking routes.

Weather forecasting might be useful for people sitting back in Kathmandu, but how will it be communicated to trekkers? And of course it's well-known that big mountains such as Annapurna and Dhaulagiri generate their own local weather patterns.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby under10kg » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 5:54 pm

It is very sad about both nepalise and westerners dying. I am in Nepal. The storm hit us walking to the everest base camp but it was not that intense. I saw people with plastic rain coats and no over pants walking when snowing. I do not use a porter or guide and i am 60. I beleive most guides do not carry GPS and have no emergency tarps. I have added these to my gear list for future. I do go light in Nepal under 5kg and use light weight runners. I will post a gear list when I return.
The other issue is that many trekking companies rush acclimatation rates etc. Island peak in 14 days etc.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 6:00 pm

9 Tips for Trekkers Dreaming of the Himalaya
http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic ... -himalaya/
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby walkon » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 6:42 pm

I think most people are missing the point who think Nepal gov should tighten rules. People need to take more responsibility and care of themselves. The more that responsibility is abrogated, the more of this we can expect.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 6:57 pm

the govt are probably knee jerking, the govt departments are often inept and corrupt... they did next to nothing to manage everest until things got out of control in the last couple of years. they take a lot of money from climbers but hte money just disappears. they are coming in for a lot of public criticism so want to be seen to be doing something and they dont understand the situation to be able to really help... just be bureaucratic. tehy have made some positive changes with climbing everest. but there are a lot of professional mountain guides providing the suggestions, at annapurna, there doesnt seem to be the same professional advice being evident
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby Snowzone » Wed 22 Oct, 2014 7:41 pm

walkon wrote:I think most people are missing the point who think Nepal gov should tighten rules. People need to take more responsibility and care of themselves. The more that responsibility is abrogated, the more of this we can expect.

Exactly Walkon, a cotton wool society. It doesn't matter what country, what state or what walk we are doing, we should all be prepared for the 'wotifs' and responsible for ourselves.
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Re: Snowstorm kills at least 43 - Central Nepal

Postby Overlandman » Thu 23 Oct, 2014 6:10 pm

An up date from ABC,
Aussies phone home.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-23/s ... me/5835350

A Sydney father and daughter who went missing in last week's deadly blizzard and avalanche in Nepal have phoned home to say they are safe and well.

Simon Wilde and Sophie Wilde, 17, had not made contact with their family since October 6, then snowstorms hit the Annapurna region of Nepal last week.

The massive storm claimed the lives of at least 43 people and resulted in the rescue of 500 others from a popular hiking route around the world's 10th-tallest peak.

Simon's father Patrick Wilde said the family was greatly relieved to hear from the pair.

"Late last night our time, he [Simon] rang. He and Sophie are both OK and they'll be back in Kathmandu and flying home to Australia on Saturday," Patrick Wilde said.

"So it's a great relief to us all."

The disaster was the worst since avalanches crashed down peaks in the Mount Everest region in 1995 and killed 42 people.

Simon and Sophie Wilde had indicated in an earlier email they were heading to Dolpha, a less-travelled area bordering the Annapurna circuit.

Patrick Wilde said they were due home by October 29 and the family had been seriously concerned for their safety.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) said a number of Australians were among those rescued.

DFAT said the Australian embassy in Kathmandu was in close contact with Nepalese authorities and trek organisers, but so far there had been no reports of dead or injured Australians.

Meanwhile, Nepal has called off a search for any more survivors after more than a week of scouring the popular trekking region.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby under10kg » Thu 23 Oct, 2014 8:55 pm

I think some of you are being too hard. I checked 2 guidebooks and both had no information on the need to take emergency shelter or GPS or to take a satellite phone. Even experienced guides died. Climate change is causing changes to the usual weather patterns.
How would you go on that pass with whiteout conditions and no tent?
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby Hallu » Fri 24 Oct, 2014 12:14 am

wayno wrote:same thing happened when a young lady drowned on the milford track last autumn... the survivors of the group blamed authorities for not warning them bridges were removed and the streams could be dangerous.. they werent cut off they could have easily gone back the way they came to shelters or a hut but they said they "couldnt go back the four hours to the hut" and waiting for the water to go down was never given as an option... the only option they thought they had was to cross a flooded stream that was far harder than anything they'd done or were trained for... and it was everyone elses fault.
not sure if its a growing trend, my car was written off by a driver who T boned me, he had failed to give way. there were five young men in the car and they all blamed me... despite them having crossed a give way mark on the road. the driver never admitted fault and wrote a letter repeating i was entirely at fault...
young israeli lady wandered well off the routeburn track in NZ. slipped and fell and died... her family wanted to blame DOC. but there was no evidence doc had told her about a vague track in the area where she was.. i've read comments by people who were some of the last to see her alive, they could see she was ill equipped and were trying to give her advice and she didnt want to listen, they had commented among themselves she was an accident waiting to happen, there are an awful lot of people out there who cant and or don't take responsibility for their actions... and are out of their depth in the wilderness..
a lot of peole are like sheep out there, it's the blind leading the blind


Appart from the road crash, this rings so far from what happens in France... When I saw the "40 deaths in Nepal" I thought "that's a slow summer in the Alps". In French newspapers we see deaths every week, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone suing. Even when several alpinists died in August, the families didn't sue, no one tried to assign blame, all that was said was "it was a tragic accident". It seems that's what most people replying to this topic would prefer. But they are both extremes : in NZ what you describe is underprepared and stupid hikers (and that's what most believed happened in Nepal on this topic apparently), in France it's often blindness in the face of danger. There is like a romanticism of the mountain, an acceptance that many will die rather than putting new safeguards and new restrictions. Safety efforts are more concentrated towards skiers than hikers usually, as they bring more money (and tend to sue private ski resorts). I think our attitude is fine, accidents happen, there's no need to sue, but that we can do better in making our walking tracks safer for everybody.
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby horsecat » Fri 24 Oct, 2014 1:13 pm

under10kg wrote:Climate change is causing changes to the usual weather patterns.


Really? I thought it was the spin off from the cyclone that hit India...Every year there are storms that hit the Himalaya area and larger (and smaller) monsoonal patterns which can dump huge amounts of snow - been happening for thousands of years. There are just more underprepared trekkers wandering around nowadays and companies eager for their business. It is quite breathtaking that these outfits (local and international) let some people on the trips and I'm surprised more don't die. Even some of the more reputable companies are taking risks. I've seen people at 6,500m who have never been in snow before. Quite often it is some item to tick off on a bucket list hence they haven't developed genuine experience or judgement. Just two years ago I pulled out of an expedition at the last minute to hopefully summit Manaslu as I was concerned about the amount of snow from the larger monsoonal event that year. Many took the risk anyway, it avalanched and killed a dozen or so. And just because they are termed as a "guide" doesn't mean they have the necessary skills, or equipment, when things go pear shaped. Many of these Nepalese "guides' don't have adequate experience and they rely on things going smoothly. This latest episode is tragic, but not surprising though as every season sees trekking and climbing fatalities in the Himalaya they just don't often get mentioned in western media
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Re: Snowstorm kills 4 - Central Nepal

Postby wayno » Fri 24 Oct, 2014 5:57 pm

experienced alpine climbers are generally more responsible than your average walker walking on popular tracks populated by backpackers.. their friends and relatives know climbers are doing something dangerous and may be better prepared for when something goes wrong...
climbers are more likely to be orientated to trying to go more prepared for the environment they are in and get themselves out of trouble rather than blaming someone else when something goes wrong and expecting someone else to bale them out by default.. they are often better prepared, physically, mentally and equipment wise for the environment they face
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