KATHMANDU: Veteran Nepali climber Chuwang Nima, who has scaled Mount Everest 19 times, has gone missing after an avalanche hit members of an expedition to a smaller Himalayan peak in the eastern Nepal, the trekking and expedition agency said today.
Nima (43) — part of an expedition which included British climbers — was trying to summit the 7,129-metre Mount Baruntse. The avalanche struck on Saturday while he was fixing ropes at an altitude of about 23,100 feet (7,045 metres).
“It was a big avalanche that swept him in windy weather conditions,” said Jeevan Ghimire of Sherpa Shangrila Trek and
Expedition agency. “Though a rescue helicopter was sent to the area today, search and rescue operation will be carried out by a helicopter tomorrow,” Ghimire said, adding that the other climbers are safe.
“His team mates in the expedition dug the snow but could not find him,” Ghimire added.
The only other climber to top Nima’s record is Apa Sherpa with 20 climbs of the world’s highest peak.
Hundreds of mountaineers go to dozens of Himalayan mountains in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest, every year.