Over the weekend the mountaineering community lost a legendary climber when Chhewang Nima Sherpa was swept off a remote Himalayan peak by an avalanche. The mountain guide, who has reached the summit of Everest on 19 separate occasions, was helping to set the all important ropes to the summit of a peak called Baruntse, located in eastern Nepal, at the time of his disappearance.
On Saturday,Nima was leading a team of Sherpas, working in advance of their paying clients who focus on acclimatizing in the early stages of the climb. The men were busy fixing lines up the mountain, which will eventually be used by the climbers to reach the summit, when the avalanche hit, knocking Nima off the Baruntse’s northeast face.
Other guides and climbers immediately went into action, organizing a search and rescue operation, but they found no trace of the missing Sherpa. Yesterday, a helicopter was brought in to sweep the mountain, but after just a few hours the search was called off. After surveying the area, the SAR teams determined that there was no possible way that anyone had survived the avalanche.
Baruntse is one of the “lesser” Himalayan peaks, rising 23,389 feet. It is often used as a training mountain for those aspiring for bigger mountains such as Everest. Nima was the lead guide for the Shangri-la Trekking and Climbing company who are taking a team of paying customers to the summit of the mountain.
[Photo credit: Mathias Zehring via WikiMedia]