A MOUNTAINEER who escaped the devastation in Nepal last month says the second earthquake has left his former climbing colleagues fearing for their lives.
Explorer Ellis Stewart, 41, was climbing to Everest’s Camp 1 when the first Nepal earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.9, hit on Saturday, April 26.
He managed to escape unharmed despite being hit by tonnes of falling snow in a resulting avalanche, and has since returned to his home in Hartlepool with his wife Tamara, and their two daughters Lara, 7, and Isla, 5.
But after hearing news of another earthquake in Nepal, with a magnitude of 7.3, Ellis said he was praying for those out there, some who he knows from his time on Everest.
Officials say the death toll is nowhere near as high but more than 1,000 people have been injured.
He told the Mail: “We have checked in with our Sherpa team and have found that everybody is safe which is really good news because apparently this one was closer to Everest this time.
Having been through it and experiencing it first hand, it’s horrifying. I can’t imagine what the people there are going through, having already dealing with it once already.Climber Ellis Stewart, from Hartlepool
“When I heard, my immediate concern was that it could have affected a lot of our staff, but we’ve accounted for most people who we thought may have been affected.
“Some of them are scared though and have come out of their homes and are living in tents. There are a lot of nervous people.”
He added: “Having been through it and experiencing it first hand, it’s horrifying. I can’t imagine what the people there are going through, having already dealing with it once already.
“Nepal needs a break and its not getting it.”
Upon Ellis’ return he launched a T-shirt selling fundraising campaign for the families of two Everest cooks and a climbing Sherpa with whom he spent nine days on the mountain before they were killed.
He has sold 112 commemorative T-shirts for £15 each, with all proceeds going to the families they left behind.
Ellis, who lives on the town’s Bishop Cuthbert estate, and a friend had successfully reached Everest’s Base Camp and were on their way to Camp One when they felt the earthquake around midday.
He was on a stretch called the Khumbu Ice Fall – a notoriously dangerous strip of blocks of ice, some the height of houses, where a number of Sherpas were killed during an avalanche last year – when he said he felt it start to sway.
To find out more about the fundraising appeal and the T-shirts, visit https://www.planet-adventure.com/nepal-earthquake-hg-team-t-shirt or ring Ellis direct on 07815154249.