Climbers to recount tragedies on Mount Everest

Climbing guides Dave Hahn and Mark Tucker will lead a discussion of the recent tragedies on Mount Everest during the Rainier Mountain Festival this weekend.

In April 2014, an avalanche on the south side of Everest near the base camp hit a group of guides and sherpas that were fixing ropes and carrying equipment in the Khumbu Icefall as they prepared routes for the climbing season. The avalanche killed 16 sherpas.

Almost a year later, on April 25, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. It also triggered avalanches at Everest, including one that swept into the base camp. The earthquake left more than 9,000 people dead and more than 23,000 injured. The avalanche at Everest killed at least 19 people.

Hahn, who has 15 summits of Mount Everest to his credit, will talk about his involvement in the two events. He was among a group of climbers, guides and sherpas caught at 20,000 feet on the mountain after the earthquake and avalanche.

In a blog post for Rainier Mountaineering, Hahn wrote after getting off the mountain: “There was no back-slapping. No cheering. No high-fives. We’d put down at the epicenter of a disaster and we could barely believe our eyes. Whatever relief each of us felt at being off the mountain was quickly replaced with sadness and awe at the destructive power on evidence all around us.”

Also sharing his stories, Tucker was at base camp during the avalanche this year and was one of the primary medical caregivers on the scene.

During the Everest roundtable discussion, they will be joined by other climbers to talk about climbing mountains, guiding and managing the risks associated with climbing.

There will be more than a dozen famed climbers at the event, including Ed Viesturs, and Jim and Lou Whittaker. There will be book signings, slideshows on climbing Denali, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Rainier, and the opportunity to talk with the climbers.

The festival, which is a celebration of the end of the traditional climbing season on Mount Rainier, also includes discussions on how climbers should prepare themselves for taking on the challenge of climbing Mount Rainier.

Other activities: There also will be alpine games, equipment sales at Whittaker Mountaineering, gear demonstrations, live music, food court and beer garden.

If you go

Rainier Mountain Festival

WHEN: Sept. 19-20; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Whittaker Mountaineering, state Route 706, Ashford.

INFORMATION: 800-238-5756, rainierfestival.com/schedule.