A deadly avalanche has taken the lives of 11 people with more climbers missing in the Himalayas in Northern Nepal. Shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday, September 23rd, the Manaslu peak of 26,758 ft (8,156 meters) came rushing down over a climbing expedition gone-wrong. Many of the dead are German and French, with a detailed report out shortly by authorities in the region.
Glen Plake, world renown freestyle skier and pioneer, was a survivor of the avalanche. Plake was swept nearly a thousand feet in his tent, with an eye injury, minor wounds and missing teeth as a result. The freeskiing pioneer and ski mountaineers Rémy Lécluse and Greg Costa, have been attempting to become the first team to ski the world’s eighth highest peak without oxygen. While Plake is confirmed alive, Lécluse and Costa are still missing.
The Mansalu peak is a treacherous climb. In 2008 alone, there were 297 summits and 52 deaths on this dangerous mountain, reported Adventure Journal.
Revelstoke’s Greg Hill survived the tragedy and reported on his Facebook page, “A huge avalanche swept through camp 3 at 4:45am on Manaslu, catching lots of people in their sleeping bags, many dead, and injured. Luckily our team is fine, and helped with the rescue, Glen Plake is also fine but my heart goes out to all the others…”
“There are up to 14 people missing. There were 25 tents at Camp 3 (6,800 meters) and all of them were destroyed,” said Glen Plake. “Twelve tents at Camp 2 (6300m) were banged up and moved around. Greg (Costa) and I were in a tent together, Rémy was in another,” Plake told the press. “I was swept 300 meters over a serac and down the mountain and came to a stop still in my sleeping bag, still inside the tent… I punched my way out of the tent and started searching.
“I found everything that was in my tent … but there was no sign of Greg. Rémy and his tent are nowhere to be found. … The Dynafit crew (Canadian skier Greg Hill’s team) were sleeping at a high Camp 2 and were immediately on site to rescue people. … We’ve done three searches but when the fog rolled in we had to call it off. It was a massive serac fall, probably 600 to 700 meters across. It’s a war zone up here.”
Plake said he went looking for the rest of the people in the camp, all of whom were supposed to be wearing avalanche transceivers — electronic devices that can signal other similar receivers — as he was.
“Eric Hjorleifson is back in Whistler safe and sound,” reported Michael Douglas on Twitter. “He left the expedition over a week ago.”
“We are really happy to announce that our athlete Glen Plake survived the avalanche in Manaslu,” posted Glen Plake’s official Facebook page. “Our condolences to the friends and family of the lost skiers.”