Nine climbers are reported dead following the massive avalanche that swept through Camp III on Manaslu this past Sunday, according to both the Associated Press and The Guardian. A local police chief said eight of the bodies had been taken down off of the mountain and a ninth body remained at Camp III. At least six people are still believed to be missing on the slopes of the world's eighth-highest mountain, according to the AP and CTV.
Reports said that more than two dozen climbers were stationed at Camp III when the avalanche hit. Debris swept down to Camp II, where teams gathered to help in the rescue and recovery efforts. A total of 231 guides and climbers were on the mountain, but most were in lower camps, according to the AP. It is not the first tragic accident on Manaslu. An avalanche in 1972 left 16 dead.
A number of companies have posted updates on their blogs, including Alpine Ascents, Epic TV, and Altitude Junkies. Alpine Ascents reported on their efforts to help in the rescue. Epic TV reported that skier Glen Plake was beat up but coming home, though his two teammates were missing. Phil Crampton of Altitude Junkies offered condolences to the dead and missing and said that his team will continue up the mountain:
All of our team members and Sherpas still have a very positive attitude about the mountain and after a few days rest to recover and reflect, we will head back up the mountain for our summit push. We are climbers and this is what we do. We send our condolences and thoughts to the families and friends of the deceased. I personally knew two of the victims and they would wish us to continue with our quest to climb Manaslu.
We will provide updates as more details emerge from Manaslu.