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. http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/. 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.
My thoughts and prayers are also with the people of this region of the world. Such a tragedy.
I was wondering about you when this first happened. I sent a text to Tina…Dan’s wife but got no response. Perhaps it was the wrong number. Have not talked to them in years. I have been living in Colorado after retiring from SCE and leaving Seal Beach.
Bill I have been to base camp on the Tibetan side. Would like to see the base camp on the Nepal side.
When are you returning this fall? Would like to talk with you sometime. Thanks, Debbie
Hi Bill, we’ve been thinking and talking about you all morning. Glad to hear you and some of your close friend there are safe. Let all pray for the best, John
It’s terrible news. The good news is you weren’t there. Thanks for the update.
Thank you for the info, Bill.
it is nice to hear that Asian Trekking teams are safe.
Nick / Naim
You’re a good man.
Thank you for the update. I thought about you when I heard the news. I have enjoyed following your blog over the years. My thoughts and prayer for the people there. You are a great friend and a good example thank you
Do you know of any activity among the climbing community to mount a rescue effort for those climbers and trekkers trapped in the Everest vicinity?
All of those stranded on the mountain, or anywhere else in the region, will be rescued. Massive search efforts will be undertaken to locate the missing. Bodies of the deceased will be removed and returned to their families.
Thank you for the info. Our hearts went out to everyone in that area. Jerry had just talked to you so we knew you were safe.
Our prayers are with everyone on the mountain and in that area. May God watch over them all.
Dear Bill and Sharon,
Your connection with the people of Nepal which you have so generously shared over the years has made many of us who read your blog feel our own connection with these people and the tragedy and challenge they are now facing. Thank you for expanding our world in that way. Our prayers for those people and their country’s leaders are a natural outcome of your caring and came immediately on hearing of the earthquake. Thank you for your update on the situation your friends and the climbers in the camps are now facing. It has been heartening to read of the humanitarian and science-based response and the teams heading to Nepal.
God bless you and those most impacted.
I too am relieved that your close mountaineering friends Mingma and Puchhanga are well,
and only hope that things with your many friends in Katmandu turn out as well. I didn’t know
you had been the are so recently, and assume you are scouting out Burke Chiang as well as the others. I hope to see you in September at the golf tournament.
My best, Jack
Tragic news. So glad you are home and safe.
God bless all your dear friends in harms way who have been so meaningful in your life.
Love to you and Sharon and the Family.
I am so sorry to hear about the devastating earthquake in Nepal — so sad so many people injured and so many homes, businesses, etc. destroyed.
Bill, Thank you so much for keeping us apprised of results of these tragic events. You are the first person I thought of when I heard the news. I so hope that none of your friends were harmed in this terrible event. Will continue to offer prayers for all, especially the beautiful children. Love to all the family.
Here is some film from base camp during the avalanche.
I met you in Thailand before your journey last month to Nepal. I’m visiting in California now and was so upset to hear about this quake, I’m so happy to hear you are safe and at home. You have been in my prayers as well as the people of Nepal. Thank you for being such a great inspiration and God bless you and your family.
Bill, Thanks so much for the information. I’m sitting here safe and sound in California and my heart and soul have flown to the Himalayas. Nepal is my special place and I am devastated at the news of the suffering and damage. I’m also shocked at all the strife of the mountaineers in the Everest region. Needless to say, my prayers are thoughts are with them all. geri lennon
Bill, what is the most direct way to donate to the relief effort? I’m sure you’re tuned in to something more specific than the Red Cross. Any suggestions on how we can help? Something reputable online, perhaps?
Here is message from S2 Mountaineering Adventures. I don’t know anything about this charity, but it looks reliable.
Family, Friends and Fellow Climbers:
I hope you’ll consider making a donation to Wide Open Vistas, a grass-roots non-profit 501(c)(3) emphasizing development and education in Nepal. The founders are close friends, and we are collaborating to direct funding to local communities in Nepal as quickly as possible. Focused on children, I have witnessed first-hand the great work they’re doing with virtually no overhead – it’s a wonderful group of volunteers. They have reported that the school in the rural village of Chyangba was destroyed along with several homes – projects are already being identified.
Please consider a donation by visiting http://wideopenvistas.org/earthquake/ and pledging your support. I hope you’ll also keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers as the recovery begins.
More information on relief efforts can be found in Alan Arnette’s blog today:
Hi Bill and Mike,
Thank you for including Jeff’s (S2 Mountaineering) email about Wide Open Vistas (WOV). I co-founded WOV with Dorjee Sherpa after he helped me organize my Everest climb in 2011. He also organized the S2 expedition in 2012. That is the connection.
We are a small charity – volunteer run though so no administrative overhead. We are a 501(c)(3) and registered in the state of Washington. Our core focus has been on keeping children in school – we have a great evidence based plan around this. we are not a disaster relief organization but we have a significant amount of public health expertise on the board. We’ve raised a little over $8,000 in the last few days and will likely allocate (with donor input) this toward helping children return to school through helping rebuild schools and tuition help.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks for your help and thoughts on Nepal.
Seth Wolpin PhD MPH RN