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Avalanche in Tibet kills US, Nepalese climbers

Nepali guide Tenjin Sherpa (pictured with Norwegian climber Kristin Harila) is missing after the avalanche.

Nepali guide Tenjin Sherpa (pictured with Norwegian climber Kristin Harila) is missing after the avalanche. Photo: Getty

An avalanche has struck the peak of Shishapangma, in Tibet, killing an American and Nepalese climber, while two others are missing, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency says.

Shishapangma, which stands at more than 8000m above sea level, is the world’s 14th tallest peak. 

An initial investigation showed one American and one Nepalese climber were killed, with another American and Nepalese still missing, Xinhua reported on Sunday, without identifying the climbers.

A seriously injured Nepalese climber has since been escorted down the mountain by rescuers.

Chinese state media has yet to describe the scale of the avalanche, which it said took place at an elevation of more than 7600m, or give details on whether there were other climbing parties in the vicinity and if they were affected.

All climbing activities on Shishapangma were suspended as of Saturday.

Nepalese newspaper The Himalayan Times named the two dead as Anna Gutu and her guide Mingmar Sherpa.

It said Gina Marie and her guide Tenjen Sherpa were missing.

Tenjen Sherpa was the guide of Norway’s Kristin Harila when they summitted K2 in Pakistan in July to become the world’s fastest climbers to scale all of the 14 eight-thousanders.

October is a popular month for climbers in the Himalayas due to its traditionally more stable conditions as monsoonal rains ease. 

But scientists warn global warming is raising avalanche risks in high-altitude regions, including the Himalayas.

Earlier this week, a Chinese expedition set up a series of weather stations on the 8201m Cho Oyu on Tibet’s border with Nepal to measure the impact of climate change in the Himalayas. 

–AAP

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