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Nepal Earthquake Updates on Eddie Bauer Guides David Morton, Dave Hahn and Melissa Arnot
Posted on April 28, 2015

God Rays emanate from behind Thamserku (Ama Dablam behind, to left) from near Monjo, Khumbu, Nepal.

It has now been more than three days since the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country of Nepal, triggering widespread destruction, tragic loss of life and an avalanche that hit Everest base camp. Outdoor news outlets such as Outside Magazine and National Geographic have covered the latest reports from the field and from the mountain, but we’ve focused the Eddie Bauer Facebook and Twitter feeds on updating the status of our guides and teams in the region. For those who may have missed these reports in the crisis coverage, we’ve summarized what we know about the safe status of David Morton, Dave Hahn, Melissa Arnot and The Heroes Project with links to their sources. Once again, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Nepal and to all those impacted by this catastrophic event. —LYA Editor

David Morton


Misty mountains emerge through the trees en route to Namche Bazaar, Khumbu, Nepal. Photo: Jake Norton.

An April 26th update from David Morton’s Facebook page:

“An update from David from Thame: The past 36 hours have been spent trying to make sense of what’s happened here. The people of this community have gathered in a tent throughout the days while trying to pull family valuables out of the destroyed homes. There have been numerous aftershocks over this time and yesterday’s large aftershock left all frazzled, emotionally raw and spent – and pulled down some remaining partially standing walls of homes. As many of you would guess most of the young men in this village are on expeditions and only learning through sporadic connectivity of their situation.

There was a puja last night for one of the two who died in Thame Theng and Yelajung. All are staying in tents outside and praying the activity stops as to continue recovering what they are able. And of course to get through this with the resilience that’s needed, there’s the whole gamut of emotions experienced – crying, laughter, fear, bits of superstition, but mostly a lot of care of each other.”

David Morton was also quoted speaking via sat phone from the village of Thame in this National Geographic story by Freddie Wilkinson. Morton’s quote is below:

“Dave Morton, an American climber and co-founder of the Juniper Fund, was eating lunch in the village of Thame when the earthquake struck. “I was having lunch with Danuru and Lhamu Chhiki,” he said via satellite phone. “They had absolute panic in their faces. At first I thought the kitchen had caught on fire… they bolted, and I followed them outside.”

“Lhamu Chikki was just hanging on me, crying. I kept saying it was going to be all right, then I started seeing the building corners falling off, mud popping out of the masonry,” Morton said.

It’s difficult to assess the extent of the damage in the Khumbu. In Thame, which appears to be one of the worst hit villages, Morton estimated that nearly 100 percent of the structures were destroyed. “Looking out, metal roofs are still up, but all interior walls are out,” he said. “I’m shocked that nobody was killed here.”

Melissa Arnot


Peaks of the lower Khumbu rise from near the village of Monjo, Nepal.

An April 26th update from Melissa via sat phone.

“Thank you all for your support and concern – our team is safe and sound. We were down valley when the earthquake and aftershocks hit. Our thoughts are with the thousands that are effected by this devastating tragedy.”

The Heroes Project US


Ama Dablam and chorten with prayer flags, from Pangboche.

The Heroes Project, April 27th Facebook update:

Another major aftershock felt today. We are safe once again at Basecamp on the North side of Everest. All teams around us on the Tibetan side are ok. Our hearts continue to go out for the well being of our Sherpa and climbing friends on the Everest South side, as well as all the people of Nepal.

The Heroes Project, April 28th Facebook update:

“We’re still on lockdown at Everest Basecamp, there have been numerous aftershocks and more deaths but we are probably in the safest place on Everest to be at. We can’t go up to climb because of the fear of more earthquakes. The roads to Nepal are destroyed so essentially we are trapped.

Now we wait as Chinese government decides whether to re-open the mountain, or terminate the climbing season.

Team is doing fine, but with heavy hearts for our Nepali neighbors. We will keep you posted.

Dave Hahn


Lhotse and the Lhotse Face rise mightily from the Western Cwm on Everest as viewed from Pumori Camp 1, Nepal. Photo: Jake Norton.

April 27th update via the RMI blog:

At Camp One, we were up before dawn, boiling cups of instant coffee and hurriedly packing.  It wasn’t going to be an ideal scenario, by any means… Being “rescued” from 20,000 ft on Mount Everest, along with perhaps 180 of our closest friends… But we weren’t likely to get any better offers… The Icefall Route that should have been a two hour descent to Basecamp was decidedly out of order and couldn’t be fixed while the earth was still shaking.  We got out in the cold shadows in our down suits and thankfully saw clear and calm conditions.  Perhaps we all did have a chance to escape the Western Cwm.  It seemed unlikely that ninety plus landings and take offs -at what was a record breaking rescue altitude for helicopters only twenty years ago- could be accomplished without chaos or catastrophe… or at least unworkable delay, but sure enough, the first B3 powered on in at 6 AM and the great Everest Air Show began.

A fear of the team leaders was a helicopter mob scene ala Saigon ‘75, but we’d arrayed our helipads in a way that didn’t allow for mobbing and everybody seemed to understand the need for superior social skills on this day.  There was one way out and nobody wanted to get put on the “no fly” list.  Eventually there were four or five birds in the air at any time, flying a dramatic loop from BC to Camp One to BC.  A line of climbers with packs formed at each pad and a stream of climbers from Camp 2 made their way into what was left of Camp 1 and then joined the queues.  It took four laps in Kiwi pilot Jason’s B3 to get our team down.  Although it seemed already like a full day, it was only about 9:30 AM when Chhering and I got off the final RMI chopper.

There was no back-slapping.  No cheering.  No high fives.  We’d put down at the epicenter of a disaster and we could barely believe our eyes.  Whatever relief each of us felt at being off the mountain was quickly replaced with sadness and awe at the destructive power on evidence all around us.  Hearing on the radio about the quake triggered Avalanche that blasted BC did nothing to prepare us for experiencing the aftermath first hand.  It was as if an enormous bomb had detonated.  We each walked slowly through the obliterated camps, stopping to understand how much force had bent this or that bit of steel.

We finally understood the enormous death toll and the nature of the numerous injuries to the survivors.  When we reached our own greatly altered camp and heard a few stories from neighbors, we finally understood Mark Tucker’s heroism of the last few days, helping to stabilize and transport dozens upon dozens of seriously injured, bloody and broken people.  He and our Sherpa team had gone immediately to help others, even though their own camp was largely destroyed.  By now, we are not even mildly surprised to learn that they somehow found time and energy to rebuild camp for our arrival.  Our “ordeal” seems trivial by comparison… we had to stay a bit longer in a beautiful and legendary hanging valley and deal with a bit of uncertainty.  Now back down to earth… we understand just how lucky we’ve been and we are sad beyond words to learn how unlucky others have been.

April 28th update via the RMI blog:

We’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that Everest summit for 2015 is out of reach for our team.  Besides the rather obvious and glaring philosophical difficulties of pursuing a recreational venture in the midst of a national -and local- disaster, there are the on-the-ground mountaineering realities that will not permit us to look upward again.  We have no viable route through the Khumbu Icefall and the Earth is still shaking.  We couldn’t think of asking anyone to put themselves at the risk required for re establishing that route under such circumstances.  The effort at this advanced stage of the season would normally be focused on building a route to Camp 4 rather than to Camp 1,  nobody will be able to say when the aftershocks will end, but it will -without a doubt- be too late for fixing the upper mountain and stocking camps before the normal advance of the monsoon.

We’ll put our efforts into an organized and safe retreat from the mountain.  Nobody harbors illusions that travel in this stricken and damaged country will be simple, but we’ll head for home now in any case.

Please check back tomorrow on the Live Your Adventure Blog for the official announcement about Eddie Bauer’s response to the tragedy in Nepal..

Author: - Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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