Raleigh man climbing on Mt. Everest uninjured in avalanche following earthquake
Posted April 25, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh man attempting to climb to the base camp of Mt. Everest was uninjured Saturday when a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, triggering an avalanche on the world's highest peak.
Ron Wahula, who arrived in the country earlier this month with an REI expedition, was caught in the avalanche, which killed at least 10 people and hurt 30 more when it swept the mountain between the Khumbu Icefall and the base camp where most climbing expeditions have their main camps.
An unknown number of people were missing following the avalanche, although nobody in Wahula's climbing group was hurt.
Wahula, the race director of Raleigh's City of Oaks Marathon, posted on his Facebook page Wednesday that he had climbed past 14,400 feet, about 3,000 feet short of the Nepali base camp. Cara Greening, a friend of Wahula's, told WRAL he was about 20 minutes out of Gorak Shep Saturday when the earthquake hit.
Greening said Wahula was able to contact his wife via text message following the earthquake.
More than 900 people have been confirmed dead in four countries as a result of the massive earthquake.
The quake was the strongest to hit Nepal in more than 80 years, and it leveled houses and centuries-old temples in the Katmandu Valley, according to The Associated Press.
The quake's epicenter was 50 miles northwest of Kathmandu, and it had a depth of only 7 miles, which is considered shallow in geological terms.
The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries, and witnesses said the trembling and swaying of the earth went on for several minutes.