Sherpa missing in Everest avalanche

KATHMANDU: An avalanche on Mount Everest left a Sherpa guide missing and presumed dead, while two Austrian climbers with him were rescued, an official said Friday.

The avalanche hit the climbers just above base camp on Thursday, Nepal Mountaineering Association official Ang Tshering said.

Two Austrian climbers were buried in the snow but rescued. The third climber - a Nepalese Sherpa guide, Lakpa Norbu - was missing and presumed dead, he said.

Tshering said there is no hope of finding the guide alive, but other climbers in the area were continuing to dig through ice and snow, looking for the body.

He did not know the names of the Austrians.

The Khumbu Icefall area just above base camp where the avalanche struck is one of the riskiest areas on the ascent to the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) summit of the world's highest mountain.

An ice collapse in the area last month had blocked the route of scores of climbers, and destroyed a path set with aluminum ladders and ropes to move over the crevasses and shaky ice.

The spring climbing season is the most popular time to scale mountains in Nepal where a few days window of calm weather in May usually allows mountaineers to hastily make their way to the summits and then retreat to safer altitudes.

A total of 65 teams have been given permission by Nepal's government to climb various mountains during the season. Of them, 25 teams are attempting Mount Everest.