Mt Everest avalanche: Dangers delay Queensland teenage climber Alyssa Azar’s dream to reach summit

Updated April 27, 2014 08:46:28

A Toowoomba teenager aiming to become the youngest Australian to climb Mount Everest has postponed her expedition due to dangerous conditions.

Alyssa Azar, 17, had been preparing for her climb at the Base Camp in Nepal when an avalanche struck a week ago, killing at least 16 Sherpa guides.

The guides had been cracking ice and fixing ropes on the upper reaches of the Khumbu Icefall when the disaster happened.

Many climbers abandoned their treks after the accident but others, including Ms Azar had said they would go ahead with the climb.

Unfortunately there were too many things outside my control and that’s just mountaineering.

Alyssa Azar

Those plans were thwarted after fresh ice avalanches struck the same route, forcing the cancellation of the 2014 climbing season.

The 17-year-old says the climb had to be postponed due to many complications outside of her control.

She reported on her Facebook page that the Base Camp was being packed up and she was leaving the area.

“There’s a lot of other dangers and issues besides the mountain itself,” she wrote.

“Unfortunately there were too many things outside my control and that’s just mountaineering.

“It has tested my will and commitment to the mountain which is still intact and I will no doubt be back soon.”

It is the single deadliest disaster on the 8,850-metre Himalayan mountain.

Avalanche disaster highlights risks Sherpas face

The deadly incident has shocked the mountaineering community and highlighted the disproportionate risks that Nepali guides run for a few thousand dollars to help foreign climbers reach the summit.

Californian mountain guide Adrian Ballinger said that even before the latest avalanches, there had been an exodus of teams from base camp due to the aggressive behaviour of a group of younger Sherpas there.

He said these Sherpas were determined to ensure that no-one scaled Everest from the south side during this year’s climbing season, which ends around May 25.

It would be the first year of no summits since commercial climbs took off in the mid-1990s, though there will be attempts on the north side from Tibet.

“I could see fresh avalanches falling at the same spot that was hit last week,” Ang Tshering Sherpa of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) said in Kathmandu after returning from base camp.

No-one was hurt in the latest avalanches as there was no-one on the unstable Khumbu Icefall.

But leading climber Alan Arnette reported on his website that “teams are leaving, it’s over for all”.

“Time to mourn and regroup,” he said.

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Topics: human-interest, nepal, australia, qld, toowoomba-4350

First posted April 26, 2014 15:35:33

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