An Irish climber on Mount Everest captured the moment he barely escaped an avalanche triggered by the earthquake in Nepal.
Paul Devaney, who is attempting the Irish Seven Summits challenge, filmed his lucky escape as Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused an avalanche to hurtle towards Everest’s base camp.
In shocking footage, Devaney and fellow climbers run for cover as a wall of snow pounds toward their base. The climbers huddle beneath tables as snow wipes out their camp, killing a reported 18 people, and injuring many more.
In daily updates to the Seven Summits Challenge blog, Devaney described the moment when the earthquake was felt on Everest.
“We were in the food tent on morning of the quake on 25th and I noticed the table starting to move, then a violent movement,” he says.
“I ran outside and the entire Khumbu Glacier was moving violently under my feet. Our camp was directly under the icefall so I stared up at the icefall expecting any danger to come from there. The movement was extraordinary and exaggerated by the fact that we were stood on an active glacier.”
In the video, shouts can be heard to “go inside” as Devaney rushes for cover.
“My climbing buddy, Teo from Norway, screamed at me to turn around,” he continues, “and I then saw a wall of snow as high as I could see coming towards our camp at frightening speed.
“It was a massive avalanche from Pumori triggered by the quake. We just had enough time to dive into the food tent and scurry under the table before the wall of snow and energy hit. Between the quake and the avalanche, we didn’t really know what had happened.”
Other climbers can be seen praying and huddling under tables with Devaney as they wait for the snowfall to cease.
Devaney has since traveled to the safety of Periche but not before trekking through the base camp to inspect the full force of the damage.
His video shows personal effects and equipment scattered throughout the snow and the full impact of the destruction.
“What followed was the longest night of my life,” he writes. “Every sound caused us to jump. I could still feel movement under my feet. It was not real but it felt real.
“We knew an aftershock was likely but we had no idea when or how big. I could still see in my mind that wall of snow and energy coming towards us like something from a movie. We were all very scared. I was scared to death.”
“I am now in the safety of Pheriche and now, we sit and wait,” he continued.
“The climbing season is most certainly over now. Our next decisions are about how to get home. This country has been shaken to its core. We are all in shock and it will take much time to process it all as well as all that has been seen and cannot be unseen.”
This is the second time Devaney has diced with death on Everest’s slopes as part of the Irish Seven Summits Challenge. Last year, as he barely escaped the Everest avalanche which claimed the lives of 16 sherpas.