March 25, 2015

Dear Family & Friends:

I join all of you in mourning the loss of life and limb in Nepal, Tibet & India. This is just an indescribable tragedy. Your thoughts and prayers are really needed now.

I was in Nepal for two weeks earlier this month to complete a helicopter reconnaissance of some unclimbed peaks in the Himalayas. My plan is to return later in the year for a climbing expedition. I’m home safe now.

I don’t have much information about the injuries and deaths, beyond what has been reported in the media. During my trip to Nepal earlier in the month, I was astounded by the number of filmmakers accompanying teams to Everest Base Camp. So, I can assure you that the information flow will dramatically increase in the coming days as these sources gather information and report back to the public. My good friend, Alan Arnette, has one of the best blogs on Everest, and his reports are frequent, reliable and thorough.  Yesterday, he filed an audio report  from Camp 2.

If you know someone who was trekking or climbing in the region and you haven’t heard from that person yet, please keep in mind that internet access is very sketchy all the way from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. Now, the situation will be much worse because the airways will be jammed with people desperately trying to report home. There are a lot of climbers trapped on Mt. Everest above the Khumbu Icefall, with no way to descend until the ladders have been fixed in the Icefall and it is safe to move down. They are totally safe at Camps 1 & 2, which are well stocked with tents, food and provisions. If your family member or friend is a trekker in the Khumbu region, including trekkers to Everest Base Camp, I think the risk of injury or death is very low. I have stayed in most all of the villages on the way to Base Camp, and I can’t think of a single village that poses a significant risk of avalanche danger. At this point, the best way to track their status is to contact the trekking or expedition company with whom they are traveling.

I am reaching out to my Sherpa, Nepali, Tibetan and Western climbing friends to find out if they are okay on both the South and North sides of the mountain. So far, I have very little information. Dawa Steven Sherpa, the owner of Asian Trekking, told me all members of his climbing teams on both sides of the mountain are accounted for and safe. This is a great relief. My dear friends, Mingma and Puchhanga, are also safe. I earnestly pray for the safety of all teams on the mountain.

The situation in Kathmandu and other villages and towns is heartbreaking. I can’t even begin to imagine the damage done by an earthquake of this magnitude. I have so many families and friends in these towns and villages that are at risk, including the Lhomi Kids Care Orphanage that my family supports every year. Please pray for these dear souls who have so little and love so much.

I have written Dawa Steven offering to help in any way possible. If my presence would help in the search for victims and survivors, I’ll be on the next flight to Nepal.