Image of Kang Guru Peak by Søren Viit Nielsen courtesy of Stan Roquette.
Kang Guru tragedy: Climbers confirmed dead - alert issued to Annapurna trekkers

Posted: Oct 24, 2005 07:05 pm EDT
Nepal TV reported yesterday that all the 18 missing people on Mount Kang Guru (6,981m) had been killed by an avalanche. Authorities and the French Government were however reluctant to confirm the deaths. News were expected from the seven-member HRA rescue team, who approached the isolated area (in Manang district) aboard an MI-17 chopper yesterday. <cutoff>

Unfortunately, the HRA has just confirmed that the missing climbers have died. reports: "Bikram Neupane, president of HRA has made the following statement to the press, after visiting the area where the avalanche took place: 'All members of the French Expedition to Kang Guru have died'."

<b>Survivors stranded in ghost camp for days</b>
Only 4 sherpas survived, standing outside their tents when an avalanche triggered by the storm and recent heavy snow fall struck the camp. The survivors were stranded with the victims for four days in bad weather. Only yesterday did the conditions clear enough for the rescue helicopters to reach the area. A team from HRA was probing the Kang Guru camp with avalanche search and rescue gear.

<b>Trekking alert issued</b>

Heavy snow falls and storms have arrived early this season, and the Rescue Association fears that other trekkers and mountaineers in the area may be affected. The situation tragically recalls the fall of 1987 when 27 Western mountaineers and trekkers were found dead in Nepal trapped by snow storms.

The French ministry of Foreign Affairs has published an alert for people visiting Nepal to avoid trekking in the Annapurna area, due to the excess of snow. The trek to Annapurna BC and the Annapurna circuit are among the most popular trekking areas in Nepal. In addition, October and May are the two busiest months for Nepal trekkers.

<i>Acording to Nepals ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, the names of the French mountaineers are Bruno Chardin, 54, Bernard Constantin, 65, Pierre G. Fleuatti, 35, Jean Francois Jube, 63, Jean Paul Minette, 51, Marie Odile Stolzenberg, 62, and Daniel Stolzenberg, 60.

Daniel Stolzenberg, expedition leader, was a climbing and mountaineering teacher with ENSA (l'École Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinism) the prestigious National School of Ski and Alpinism based in Chamonix. Daniel organized Himalayan expeditions every year for his friends. He was climbing Kang Guru with his wife and the couple perished together.</i>

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