They had gone to scale the mountain from Gurja Village on 7 October and were noted missing Friday when officials couldn’t contact them. A rescue crew aboard a helicopter then spotted eight bodies but couldn’t land due to bad weather. The climbers had been waiting for a window of good weather so they could reach the summit, when the storm hit Friday. The base camp, which is at least one-day’s trek from the nearest village, is at 3,500m (11,483ft), on the 7,193m-high mountain. The camp was completely destroyed.
The violent snowstorm buried the climbers. It was a difficult expedition with an ambitious goal. The rarely-climbed Mount Gurja sits in Nepal’s Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest mountain. Gurja was first summited in 1969 by a Japanese team. According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja’s summit since 1996 and only 30 people have successfully climbed to its peak compared with more the than 8,000 people who have reached the Everest.This was one of the deadliest mountaineering accidents to hit the Himalayan region in recent years. Rescue officials tried to send a second helicopter to the site Saturday afternoon but it was unable to fly due to strong winds.