Earthquake – Expedition stopped

They had just arrived in Nepal, when the country was hit by the severe earthquake of 25 april. Katja Staartjes and Henk Wesselius from the Netherlands did arrive in Nepal on 20th of april. The objective was the climb of Gurla Mandhata (7694 m) in West Tibet. it was just a very small scaled expedition with their friend Chhiree Sherpa (basecamp manager) and Dawa and Ngima Geljen, two Nepali climbers. The planning was to drive to Tibet by Kodari. And as the Nepali teammates were well acclimatised, Katja and Henk did leave on 24th april for a trek in Helambu. Just a short drive to Sundarijal and then start trekking.  They slept that night in Chisopani and continued the next morning. During lunchtime they sat as the only guests in a lodge (Thotungdanda, 2100 m, between Chipling and Kutrumsang), when the earthquake of 7.8 hit the area. A huge tragedy for the country and all the victims.

Katja and Henk were at 80 km east of the epi centre of the quake and Helambu was one of the severely hit areas. Personally the couple, and the Nepalese family were very lucky to be safe. The Dutch mountaineers came back to Kathmandu the next day and started a fundraising action.

More information on the Dutch expedition website www.gurlamandhata.nl and their blog