BEIJING (AP) — American mountaineer Anna Gutu and Nepalese mountain guide Mingmar Sherpa were killed Sunday after avalanches hit the slopes of a Tibetan mountain, according to Chinese media reports, while two others remained missing.
According to state news agency Xinhua, the avalanches hit Mount Shishapangma in Tibet on Saturday afternoon at an altitude of 7,600 meters (about 25,000 feet) and 8,000 meters (about 26,000 feet).
Two other people, American mountaineer Gina Marie Rzucidlo and Nepalese mountain guide Tenjen Sherpa, had disappeared, the news agency said.
Sherpa was one half of a duo that broke the record for the fastest climb of the 14 mountains with a height of more than 8,000 meters in July this year. He wanted becoming the youngest mountaineer to climb all 14 peaks twice.
The avalanches also seriously injured Nepalese mountain guide Karma Geljen Sherpa, who was accompanied down the mountain by rescuers and is currently in a stable condition.
According to Xinhua, a total of 52 climbers from various countries, including the United States, Britain, Japan and Italy, were attempting to climb the mountain when the avalanches struck.
Due to the snow conditions, climbing activities on Shishapangma have now been stopped. Shishapangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world at over 8,027 meters (26,335 feet) above sea level.
October is a popular time for trekking in the Himalayas as it falls after the rainy monsoon season. But experts warn that climate change has increased the risk of avalanches in the region.
At least 120 people have died in avalanches in the Indian Himalayas in the past two years.