The Worst Disasters on Everest: 10. The North Col Avalanche

With the 2012 climbing season underway, we look back at some of the most incredible moments to take place on the world's tallest mountain over the last 150 years

Avalanche

Himalayan avalanche via Shutterstock     Photo: Galyna Andrushko

That climbing Everest was not to be taken lightly became clear from the very first British expedition, in 1922. On June 7, while George Mallory, two British teammates, and 14 Sherpas were plodding through waist-deep snow, approaching the North Col at 23,000 feet, they heard a loud report and the mountain started sliding over them. A massive avalanche swept away nine of the porters, flushing them into a crevasse a few hundred feet below. Remarkably, the survivors managed to find two of them alive; but the remaining seven were left on the mountain, where they died. Mallory blamed himself for the accident, and later wrote to his wife, Ruth, “There is no obligation I have so much wanted to honor as taking care of those men.”

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