US Climber, Sherpa Dead After Himalayan Avalanches

2 more are missing, including sherpa who recently set record
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
US Climber, Sherpa Dead After Himalayan Avalanches
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Mount Shishapangma is seen from Baiku Lake in Xigaze, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region on Sept. 2, 2023.   (Chen Zepeng/Xinhua via AP)

American mountaineer Anna Gutu and a Nepalese guide, Mingmar Sherpa, were confirmed dead Sunday after avalanches struck the slopes of a Tibetan mountain, while two others remained missing, according to Chinese media reports. The avalanches struck Tibet's Mount Shishapangma on Saturday afternoon at about 25,000 feet and about 26,000 feet in altitude, according to state-owned Xinhua News Agency. American climber Gina Marie Rzucidlo and a Nepalese mountain guide, Tenjen Sherpa, went missing, the AP reports. Sherpa was one half of a duo who shattered the record for the fastest climb of the world's 14 highest mountains in July this year. He wanted to become the youngest climber to scale all 14 peaks twice.

The avalanches also seriously injured Nepalese mountain guide Karma Geljen Sherpa, who was escorted down the mountain by rescuers and is currently in stable condition. A total of 52 climbers from various countries including the US, Britain, Japan, and Italy were attempting to summit the mountain when the avalanches hit, Xinhua said. Climbing activities on Shishapangma have since been suspended due to snow conditions. October is a popular time to trek the Himalayas as it's after the rainy monsoon season, but experts have cautioned that climate change has increased the risk of avalanches in the region. At least 120 people in the Indian Himalayas were killed by avalanches over the past two years.

(More Himalayas stories.)

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