10 Sep 2015

NZ company won't abandon Everest attempt

3:12 pm on 10 September 2015

Reports that climbing Mount Everest is even more difficult since Nepal's magnitude 7.8 earthquake have not deterred a New Zealand-led expedition up the world's highest peak.

Rescue team personnel carry an injured person towards a waiting rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp.

Rescue team personnel carry an injured person towards a waiting rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp following April's earthquake. Photo: AFP

Wanaka-based Adventure Consultants are perservering with plans for an expedition next year.

Sherpas currently repairing the route, which was destroyed in April's earthquake, said they have had to overcome huge new crevasses.

The Sherpas - known as "icefall doctors" - said the route between Base Camp and Camp One would be a harder climb than usual because of the earthquake.

One of those repairing the route, Ang Kami Sherpa, told BBC News that Camp One appeared to have dropped from its earlier height and that much of the equipment left behind by mountaineers in the spring had been buried under thick snow.

"Snow is still piling up in many areas because avalanches have continued in the region probably because the mountain slopes overlooking the icefall have been shaken by the quake," the BBC reported.

The Sherpas said they had finished repairing the route between Base Camp and Camp One, while only a small stretch to Camp Two remains to be done.

Adventure Consultants general manager Suze Kelly said an Everest expedition was still being planned for April and May next year.

She said the company did not undertake summit attempts in Nepal's autumn because the spring was the "popular and more successful" season.

She said the icefall on the Khumbu Glacier moved slowly each year, so changes to the route were expected and planned for.

"From year to year it can be more difficult.

"The earthquakes would have contributed to some movement on the mountain but we just have to find out each year," she said.

Two of the Sherpas killed in April's quake worked for Adventure Consultants.

Ms Kelly said Adventure Consultants was in regular contact with the affected Sherpa families and said they were preparing to rebuild their homes once the monsoon season ended.

Adventure Consultants currently has an expedition attempting to climb Mount Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, which is also in the Nepalese Himalayas.

Ms Kelly said the team had found the trail into the region was badly hit by the earthquakes, but so far the route itself was not greatly changed.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs