Details on the accident are still a bit sketchy, but according to ExWeb there were two teams climbing the mountain’s North Face this past weekend, one from Russia and another from Uzbekistan. Reportedly the Uzbeks, led by Iljas Tukhvatullin, were attempting the standard route while the Russians were hoping to open a new line to the summit.
Yesterday the Uzbek squad was moving up from Camp 1 to Camp 2 when they were hit by a massive slide of snow and ice at about 3:00 PM local time. Tukhvatullin and climbing partner Ivan Lobanov were both swept away, while a third member of the team managed to escape. After climbing up to C2, that unnamed climber then descended back to C1 to radio for help. Reportedly he has said that the avalanche was not the result of the collapse of serac but instead the entire side of the mountain began to shift and move. ExWeb speculates that an earthquake may have triggered the slide.
According to the article, another team was heading up from Base Camp today to search for survivors. We’ll just have to wait and keep our fingers crossed that they could possibly find someone still alive, although that doesn’t seem likely at this point.
The 8091 meter (26,545 ft) Annapurna is notorious for its avalanche danger and is considered one of the most dangerous mountains in the world in no small part because of how unstable it can be. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this situation in the days ahead, but for now lets up the search and rescue team stays safe as well.
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