How Long Will Climbers Be Stuck On Mount Everest?

A number of mountaineering teams are stranded on Mount Everest after the Nepal earthquake caused an avalanche that made it impossible to climb down to Everest's base camp, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Both Rainier Mountaineering and Alpine Ascents International guides said there's no safe way to climb down to Mount Everest's base camp through the ice fall that is normally a key route up and down the bottom of Everest because of instability caused by the avalanche. When will people on Mount Everest be rescued? The Seattle-based companies' teams are expecting to be rescued by helicopter within the next few days, Gordon Janow of Alpine Ascents said in a statement Sunday, according to the Chronicle.

The ice fall that separates climbers in higher camps from base camp has become unstable after the avalanche because of tremors and shifting ice, according to the Seattle Times.

According to the Chronicle, Janow said in his statement that he's heard from his team on Mount Everest and they seem to have all the food and warm clothing that they need. Unfortunately, not all climbers are certain of their security. Danish climber Carsten Lillelund Pedersen wrote in a Facebook message to The Washington Post that those injured have been evacuated, but that some of the dead are still on the mountain with those who are stranded:

It's very tragic, we have many climbers and sherpas stuck higher up in camp 1 and 2. ... And they are getting desperate.

According to the Post, dozens of climbers are trapped in two camps on the side of the mountain, above the ice fall they would usually climb down. Stranded climbers have been posting on social media to keep people updated about their status. The Post said that according to those tweets, ropes and other equipment left in place to help them descend was swept away in the Saturday avalanche:

Kurt Hunter, co-founder of Madison Mountaineering, another company with climbers stranded above base camp, said on the company's website that the 15 climbers plan to descend from Camp 2 to Camp 1, where the Alpine Ascents and Rainier Mountaineering teams are, according to the Seattle Times. Hunter said his team reported being short on food and fuel, and that they hoped to be evacuated Monday. He said the team probably has enough supplies left to stay on the mountain another day. If they have to stay longer, or can't descend to Camp 1 to get more supplies, then he said the situation could become "critical," according to the Times.

Hunter said in the statement that he heard there were about 100 to 120 climbers stuck at Camps 1 and 2. According to the Los Angeles Times, the avalanche killed at least 17 people; three of them were confirmed to be Americans, and 217 people were still missing from the base camp on Sunday. The first group of survivors reached Kathmandu today, according to Fox News.

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