Scenes from the climbing route
Most of the nearly 1,000 people on the mountain were here, relaxing or eating lunch. In addition to the mountain workers, cooks and doctors who spend the entire climbing season at base camp, more than 700 foreign climbers and native guides had permits to climb the mountain.
The earthquake, aftershocks and avalanche destroyed the route through this treacherous field of ice towers and crevasses. The icefall is a steep, narrow and inherently unstable part of the Khumbu Glacier, which rumbles along at up to six feet per day. It is the same site where an avalanche killed 16 Sherpa guides last year.
Up to 200 people were above base camp when the earthquake struck, including Sherpas who had gone ahead to set up Camp 2, and these climbers were unable to cross the icefall and return to base camp. Because an Everest climb requires several up-and-back trips to ever-increasing altitudes, the camp had been stocked with more than enough provisions for several days. Veteran mountaineering journalist Alan Arnette reported that helicopters evacuated more than 170 people, including himself, from the Western Cwm, a wide, sheltered valley between camps 1 and 2.
Sources: News reports, expedition teams and Digital Globe via GoogleEarth.
Graphic by Bonnie Berkowitz, Emily Chow, Patterson Clark, Alberto Cuadra, Laris Karklis and Katie Park. Photo and video research by Emily Chow and Divya Verma. Published May 2, 2015.