Life can change in a heartbeat. Just before noon on Saturday 25th April 2015 it did just that. Rolfe and Jo had just arrived into camp 1 at 6,100m in the Western Cwm on Mt Everest on their first acclimatisation rotation. Life below in base camp was getting on at a gentler pace for our Sherpa team, getting kit ready to bring up to camp 2 the next day, seeing friends now that the 3 teams in our base camp were up the mountain. Life was getting on as normal in what was supposed to be a safe place.
Just before noon on Saturday 25th April 2015 life changed forever, in a heartbeat. An earthquake of 7.9 magnitude struck Nepal, it’s epicentre just west of Kathmandu. At camp 1 the mountain shook, the earth moved beneath our feet, avalanches were happening all around us but we were safe. Little did we know of the destruction and devastation going on at base camp. Huge seracs and ice cliffs were shaken loose from Pumori and Lingtren, two mountains to the left hand side of base camp causing the obliteration of the central part of base camp, where our little village of tents was based.
Pasang Temba, Kumar and Tenzing lost their lives in the few minutes following the earthquake. Base camp was destroyed, lives shattered.
Support4Sherpas fund was set up last year in the wake of the avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall which killed 16 Sherpas, 3 of which 360 Expeditions had worked with for many years. The fund supports the families of our lost comrades, our lost friends. This year is no different. The fund will support primarily the families of Pasang Temba, Kumar and Tenzing not just in the immediate but for the longevity of their dependants. Thereafter the fund will support all we can from the Sherpa community who live and breathe the mountains as we do.
We are now working in partnership with our Nepalese colleagues, our friends who we spend up to 5 months of the year with to support the families of our Sherpa team who have been lost to the mountains. Please see the donation page for more information on what our aims are and how we hope to make a difference.
As the weeks unfold we will be giving you updates on the progress of the charity. This is non-profit fund and every pence donated will be going to Support4Sherpas. A just giving page will be set up shortly, once we have gained charity status – for now though please donate here.
We are in the early stages but PLEASE DONATE now – It will take less than 5 minutes of your time. If everyone donated just £5 it will make the biggest of difference, helping support and give a better future to the families of people who dedicate their lives to us and the mountains.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Tom Martienssen’s Panorama programme, click here for the link through to iPlayer.
UPDATE – 25th June 2015
2 months ago today Rolfe and Jo were at camp 1 on Everest trying to come to terms with what had just happened. 3 of our Sherpas were dead along with over 8,000 people throughout the affected areas of Nepal, tens of thousands of people injured and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods. As of today our fund stands at £11,500, an incredible amount which is growing every day. We are working in partnership with our agents in Nepal to distribute the funds throughout the families affected, our Sherpa friends. We will keep you posted with updates as they come in. Once again, thank you. Jo.
UPDATE – 7th May 2015
On 1st April Rolfe handed over $10,000 to Iswari Paudel, Director of Himalayan Guides, our partners in Nepal. This money has gone directly to the families of our 3 friends and colleagues who lost their lives in the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas on 18th April 2014.
This year the fund already tops £5,000 to support those affected by this years devastation. We cannot thank you enough.
The Support4Sherpas Team