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13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

KATMANDU, Nepal — Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides on the world's highest peak.

Three other guides remained missing, and searchers were working quickly to find them in case weather conditions deteriorated, said Maddhu Sunan Burlakoti, head of the Nepalese government's mountaineering department.

The painstaking effort involved testing the strength of newly fallen snow and using extra clamps, ropes and aluminum ladders to navigate the treacherous Khumbu icefall.

The avalanche slammed into the guides about 6:30 a.m. Friday near the "popcorn field," a section of the Khumbu known for its bulging chunks of ice. The group of about 25 Sherpa guides were among the first people making their way up the mountain this climbing season. They were hauling gear to the higher camps that their foreign clients would use in attempting to reach the summit next month.

One of the survivors told his relatives that the path had been unstable just before the snow slide hit at an elevation near 19,000 feet. The area is considered particularly dangerous due to its steep slope and deep crevasses that cut through the snow and ice covering the pass year round.

As soon as the avalanche occurred, rescuers, guides and climbers rushed to help, and all other climbing was suspended.

Hundreds of climbers, guides and support crews had been at Everest's base camp preparing to climb the 29,035-foot peak when weather conditions are most favorable next month.

The mother of Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, waits for his body in Katmandu, Nepal, on Saturday.

Associated Press

The mother of Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, waits for his body in Katmandu, Nepal, on Saturday.

St. Petersburg lawyer readies for his climb

ST. PETERSBURG — The avalanche on Mount Everest that killed at least 13 Sherpas and is considered the mountain's most deadly incident has not deterred a St. Petersburg lawyer from attempting the ascent. Jeff Brown of the firm of Brown & Doherty has blogged from Nepal about Friday's tragedy. He wrote that "all systems are go, to continue forward with the journey." Brown has been there for more than 15 days, according to his blog, and his group plans to head through a pass called the Khumba icefall, a treacherous section to navigate because of a maze of immense ice chunks and crevasses.

Times staff

13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche 04/19/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2014 12:20am]
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