Those were Sue Oakey-Baker’s words that you can read in her memoir entitled “Finding Jim.” Jim is Jim Haberl (1958-99), her partner and a mountain guide who lost his life in an Alaskan avalanche that swept him off Wrangell Cliff last April 30, 1999. The book is more about seeking resolution, dealing with loss after the tragedy and moving forward for Sue; something that those who lost someone in the recent Nepal avalanche would need to face, sooner or later.
Jim Haberl’s name can’t helped but be mentioned as he was one of the first two Canadians to ever conquer K2, the highest peak in Karakoram Range (Pakistan) in the Himalayas. The recent avalanche that happened in Nepal has similarly caused risks and deaths to adventurers. This is what you can gather from Jason Burke’s “Nepal snowstorms trap trekkers as death toll rises” posted in The Guardian – World News Section.
“Rescuers in Nepal are trying to reach more than 20 trekkers trapped below a high Himalayan pass by heavy snowfalls and avalanches as the death toll from the unfolding tragedy was reported to be as high as 32.
High winds and blizzards hit much of central Nepal this week as the tail end of a cyclone travelling west across northern India reached the Himalayan mountain chain. The head of the Trekking Agencies Association Nepal said there had never been a disaster like it.
The trekking group is reported to be trapped close to the 5,400m (17,700ft) Thorong La, a pass on the famous three-week Annapurna circuit route. Clear weather has raised hopes that they will be reached before further deaths, though there are concerns that members may be suffering exposure, frostbite and severe dehydration.
Local officials said 24 bodies had been found on the Annapurna circuit, which circles the Annapurna Mountain and attracts thousands of walkers every year.”
Burke said that there are 168 foreign adventurers reported to trek in the Annapurna trekking circuit where the avalanche happened. About half is still missing at the date of his writing (October 16, 2014), 2 days after the avalanche.
The rescue operations were wrapped up after a week’s effort in the northern mountains due to deadly blizzards. There are still confusion about the exact death toll, which is expected as many parts are inaccessible despite being near Kathmandu. According to “Nepal Ends Blizzard Rescue Efforts as Death Toll Nears 40” published in Mashable – US and World Section and written by the Associated Press, the 39 confirmed dead include trekkers from India, Canada, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, and Japan. The total number of rescued people reached 407 people; 226 of them are foreigners. Meanwhile, the reported number of deaths has reached 39 as of October 20 and more are still reported missing.
The last rescue helicopters hovered over Mustang, Manang and Dolpa districts on Monday, said Yadav Koirala of Nepal’s Disaster Management Division. All the casualties were in those three districts northwest of the capital, Katmandu.
” We believe that all the trekkers and guides have been helped and as far as we know there are no more people stranded on the route We believe that all the trekkers and guides have been helped and as far as we know there are no more people stranded on the route,” Koirala said, adding that some soldiers would remain camped out in the area.
The Annapurna region is a popular destination visited by over a hundred thousand visitors every October, which is a good time considering the fair weather conditions around this time. With this mishap closely following a previous disaster in the Everest last April that killed 16, the Nepal tourism looks bleak. “It will have large negative impression on the trekking business, with concerns about the safety of the tourists,” said Ganga Sagar, chief executive of the Trekking Agencies Association Nepal.
The tragedy is also posing economic difficulties to locals especially the “sherpas,” the trekking guides for foreign trekkers and climbers who earn about $8,000 (£5,000) or more in a year. This income is high in a country where the average annual income is just over $700. This is just one of those possible losses that people have to live and contend with after. For those who lost a loved one, they will be like Sue Oakey-Baker; they will seek resolution to move forward.
Beautiful land- and seascapes, and the wilderness that seem beyond a normal mortal’s ability to conquer continue to inspire adventurers. Wise people uttered words that made risks like it is all part of a life well-lived. When you heed an adage such as “Don’t die without embracing the daring adventure your life is meant to be,” (Steve Pavlina), remember too that “Climate experts (also) say rising global temperatures have contributed to avalanches on the Himalayan mountains.”
When you decide to yield to challenges and take on adventure by the horn, it is worth your life to embrace safety. You must not cower in fear despite the dangers, but be shrewd enough to guard your life. Later, you will relish the moments when you live to tell your risky tales; “(Always remember), it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach).