A pair of avalanches in the Japanese corridor nearly swept the Basques team off Everest on Saturday. According to reports, each avalanched pitched at 7,200 meters and destroyed the team’s camp forcing them to stand “until dawn behind a rocky outcrop.” Climber Mikel Zabalza told reporters “We stood since 3:00am on a 40 cm ledge, kicking the wall to avoid frostbite.”
Once the sun was up, the team fled the area by rappelling down the Couloir for seven hours. Team member Juan Vellejo believes that it was their “experience in extreme situations” that saved their lives claiming that the knowledge of what to do in the event of an avalanche was exactly what kept them alive and returned them safely.
Though the experience would be a traumatic end to a career for some, Basques is not finished with Everest just yet. The team plans to rest up for a few days and then “give the mountain another go.”