About

Donatella Lorch
Kathmandu, Nepal

Bio: I am a former New York Times foreign correspondent and a former correspondent for NBC News and Newsweek. Lots of formers there. I am also a mom of four, a wanderer and I love living overseas. After living four years in Kenya and three years in Nepal, I am now based in Ankara, Turkey.

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  1. Ed Marzec team

    We are all fighting the same fight here.

    Take action now
    http://www.edseverest.com/take-action/

    Crowdfunding infraestructure:
    https://rally.org/sherpaavalanchefund

    Ed’Letter after avalanche from Base Camp, Nepal:
    ( http://www.edseverest.com/letter/)

    Dear all,

    Thank you for the many emails asking if I am OK. I did not get hit by car sized chunks of ice falling from 500 ft above, sweeping 25 Sherpas off a 45 ft ladder into a 200 ft deep crevice, killing 16 and hospitalizing 7, but I was crushed by what I saw and experienced. 3 members of our team were killed, and Ash Gurung, my close personal friend and one of the 3 guides who was to accompany me to Everest Summit was killed and lost under tons of ice. He was in my tent with my other summit guides as he checked his harness and ropes preparing for his climb to set up our tents at high camp 1. We joked and poked fun at his thick figure but knew he was strong and good enough to handle the job at camp 1. I felt he needed some power bars and Cliff bars since he was leaving at 3 AM to make it to the camp site and be back by Noon, and he jokingly hid the bars in his pack while teasing the other Sherpas saying, “See, my god father likes me best”. Those bars are still in his pack under tons of ice.

    My crampon boots broke and I was waiting for a new set to come in that morning, April 18, and I was to start the trek to go across the Kumba Ice fall at 7 AM since the sun heats up the glacier ice and causes avalanches in the afternoon. At 6:45 AM I felt the shock and heard the thunder of the ice give way. It was such a large avalanche, there was nothing they could do and all I could do is watch the side of the mountain come down on those poor men. We had a tripod with powerful binoculars but all you could see was a white mist cover the route of our friends.

    The search and rescue team was up and working but only few survivors were helicoptered down swinging over our tents to the clinic 100 meters away, but none were from my team. The next day was even worse, watching the helicopters bringing down body after body hung from long lines and flying directly over my tent to the helipad and stacking the dead up to be taken down to Kathmandu. I tried to take photos of each body bag slung under the copters out of respect of the dead, by after a dozen, still no Ash. His body was not found because he was swept into the deep crevice and will be under the crush of the glacier forever, depriving his family of closure.

    The Sherpas have voted to cancel all summit attempts of Everest this year as a memorial to the worst Everest disaster yet. I, along with many other climbers, believe this to be a proper memorial even though I have been working on this summit for 2 years, I am willing to abide by their decision since I am only a guest here. However, although the big American commercial tour operators have agreed to follow the vote of the Sherpas, they are working everyday to change the vote and wait until they think the Sherpas will get over it…..sounds so familiar. I am shamed by our greed and embarrassed by our lack of compassion.

    Sorry, but this is very emotional for me, especially when I think of Ash and his 1 yr old son and 3 year old daughter having to live their lives without a truly great young man. I get emotional when I think about him almost falling while saving my life last year while climbing Yala Peak. I get especially emotional when I think of my insisting on Ash joining our team at the summit of Everest since it would be such a great career step for him and for his resume……and what did I ultimately do? I killed him. He would be home with his family tonight if it wasn’t for me.

    So, I am setting up a fund to provide for Ash’s family so they can live a humble but good life without their wonderful man. However, no money can replace a man that could always make you happy smile when he entered a room or tent.

    His brother Tolshi and I cried when they confirmed his death. By the way, I learned I don’t have to summit Everest to “know the knower”, none of us do.

    Ed

    Reply

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