The French Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs (FFCAM) said in a statement on Sunday that three young French climbers on a trip to Nepal had gone missing and that a rescue team had been dispatched to the scene.
All three are mountaineering celebrities from the National Alpinism Excellence Group (GEAN), a federation. They were part of a group of young athletes who set out for Khumbu (Everest) on September 30, climbing several peaks at 5,000 to 6,000 meters above sea level south of Ama Dublam (6,814 m).
The three missing climbers set out from October 24 to climb the peak near Ama Dablam, and according to FFCAM, the last telephone contact with them was October 26.
A helicopter chartered by the federation carried out surveillance on Saturday and found “ascending traces as well as the wreckage of a large-scale avalanche in the face”. “Today, Sunday, October 31, the rescue team sent a helicopter to the scene to try to find the survivors,” FFCAM added.
GEAN chief Stefan Benoit told the French regional daily Dauphin liberation Must be “in shock, destroyed, like the whole group.”
According to him, the group of eight climbers “split into two groups, five on one side and three on the other. […], On another ascent. There was a delay during their ascent; FFCAM took the lead and the helicopter flight came over their wall ”.
“They found traces at that end. One can imagine that they were washed away by the avalanche. The helicopter spotted material traces at the bottom of the wall. Tomorrow, Nepal’s guards will go there. Weather forecast is good to intervene. We know it is dangerous, but we are doomed,” he said.
According to the newspaper Himalayan Times, Tents and mountaineering equipment were found by the rescue team near the glacier under Mount Ama Dablam early Sunday morning.
An official from the Ministry of Tourism told the newspaper that the climbers did not need the necessary permission for the climb.
“We do not yet have clear information on the number of missing persons,” Ang Norbu Sherpa, president of the Nepal National Association of Mountain Guides, told AFP.
“We sent a team of five highly experienced mountain guides. They are on their way and will start search operations tomorrow. [lundi]”, He added.
Mountaineers have returned to Nepal after it was completely shut down last year due to an epidemic that devastated the economy of a country of 30 million people who depend heavily on tourism. The country reopened to tourists in September, with the exception of those vaccinated from detention.