We suspect that the peace expedition leader, Phurba Thile Sherpa, and his team are at Camp 1, above the deadly avalanches. However, making their way down to likely assist in rescue operations is complicated as the trail has been devastated by the avalanches.
Several factors will further hamper rescue efforts, including snowy weather that prevented any helicopters from reaching Base Camp today and the fact that most of the cellular system in Nepal is not working because of the earthquake.
While those in Base Camp struggled to survive, approximately 100-200 climbers and Sherpas were acclimatizing at camps higher up on the mountain when the earthquake struck. Most of these teams appear to have weathered the disaster without injury—although they now may well be stuck, since the quake apparently caused substantial shifting of blocks within the Khumbu Icefall, destroying the route that has been painstakingly constructed with aluminum ladders and fixed ropes over the last month.
“#Icefall route destroyed,” reported Dan Mazur, an American guide who is currently in Camp I above the Khumbu Icefall, on his website. “Please pray for everyone,” he added.
...Dave Hahn, an American guide for RMI, posted an update from his team at Camp 1: “About the same time as the earthquake a pretty good snowstorm commenced up here in the Western Cwm and down at Base Camp....But we don’t have the ability to travel right now, good mountaineering sense dictates that we stay put and ride this storm out.”
...The quake struck at 11:56 AM on Saturday, April 25th local time. According to the United States Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program, which monitors global tectonic activity. The epicenter was near the village of Lamjung, in the Gorkha region, approximately 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city.
The USGS rates the initial shock as 7.8 on the Richter scale. In the hours after the seismic event, the USGS has logged 20 aftershocks, ranging from 4.2 to 6.6 on the Richter scale.
At least 2,300 people have been declared dead, mostly in Nepal, with additional victims in India and China. There are more than 4,600 injured in Nepal and the death toll is expected to rise.