Sherpa guides missing in avalanche on Nepal peak

AP News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2010 5:13 AM
Sherpa guides missing in avalanche on Nepal peak

A veteran Sherpa guide who has scaled Mount Everest 19 times and another Nepalese guide are missing after an avalanche hit them while they were climbing a smaller Himalayan peak, his agent said Sunday.

Chhewang Nima, 43, was hired by a British expedition to scale the 23,380-foot (7,130-meter) Mount Baruntse and was fixing ropes near the summit when an avalanche hit him and the other guide on Saturday, said Jeevan Ghimire of the Sherpa Shangrila Trek and Expedition agency.

The accident occurred at an altitude of 23,100 feet (7,045 meters), he said. The other members of the team dug in the snow but were unable to find the missing climbers.

Ghimire said the rest of the team was reported to be safe.

A rescue helicopter was sent to the area Sunday and will begin searching on Monday, Ghimire said.

Nima has climbed Everest 19 times and was just one climb short of the record set by fellow Nepalese Sherpa Apa, who has scaled the world's highest peak 20 times.