BEIJING (AP) — American mountaineer Anna Gutu and a Nepalese guide Mingmar Sherpa were confirmed Sunday dead after avalanches struck the slopes of a Tibetan mountain, while two others remained missing, according to Chinese media reports.
The avalanches struck Tibet’s Mount Shishapangma on Saturday afternoon at 7,600 (about 25,000 ft) and 8,000 meters (about 26,000 ft) in altitude, according to state-owned Xinhua News Agency.
Two others, American climber Gina Marie Rzucidlo and a Nepalese mountain guide Tenjen Sherpa went missing, the news agency said.
Sherpa was one half of a duo who shattered the record for the fastest climb of the 14 mountains more than 8,000 meters (about 26,000 feet) high in July this year. He wanted to become the youngest climber to scale all 14 peaks twice.
The avalanches also seriously injured Nepalese mountain guide Karma Geljen Sherpa, who was escorted down the mountain by rescuers and is currently in stable condition.
A total of 52 climbers from various countries including the U.S., Britain, Japan, and Italy were attempting to summit the mountain when the avalanches hit, Xinhua said.
Climbing activities on Shishapangma have since been suspended due to snow conditions. Shishapangma is the 14th-highest mountain in the world, at over 8,027 meters (26,335 ft) above sea level.
October is a popular time to trek the Himalayas as it’s after the rainy monsoon season, but experts have cautioned that climate change has increased the risk of avalanches in the region.
At least 120 people in the Indian Himalayas were killed by avalanches over the past two years.