Tragedy at Mount Kang Guru (20th october 2005)
An unexpected and exceptional climate change in the Mid-Western region of Nepal has lead to a series of massive avalanches. One of these swept down, on October the 20th, the base camp used by a French team ascending Mount Kang Guru, taking the life of seven French climbers and eleven Nepalese. It has been one of the worst tragedies in the history of mountaineering in both Nepal and France.
Daniel Stolzenberg, the Team leader, was an old and close friend of the Kingdom. As part of his professional activities at the Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme, the main French institution in this field located at Chamonix (Alpes), he trained during years Nepalese guides in France, and held regular high altitude advanced training courses in Nepal. Faced by the tragedy, his former students have overwhelmingly volunteered to try to rescue the expedition. The French Embassy in Nepal pays tribute to those who braved danger, and specifically to the Himalayan Rescue Association, the Royal Nepalese Army and Police forces, the guides, and the search and rescue experts dispatched from France.
The French Embassy presents its most sincere condolences to the French and Nepali victims’ families, to their friends and to the whole community of climbers.
Since the victory over Annapurna in 1950, mountaineering comradeship has been the core of our bilateral cooperation with Nepal, and an important part of the bonds linking our two countries. France-Nepal’s friendship is also grieving from this tragedy.
A first search and rescue party was sent by Himalayan Rescue Association along with French mountain guide Anselme BAUD. Mr. BAUD is a teacher at “National School of Skiing and Mountaineering” of Chamonix (France), responsible for training of Nepalese student guides, as well as for advanced altitude training of already graduated Nepalese guides in the Langtang range.
In this capacity, Mr. BAUD is also the successor of Mr. Daniel STOLZENBERG who was leading the French team to Kang Guru. Mr. STOLZENBERG came to Nepal many times within the framework of France-Nepal cooperation in the field of mountaineering that associates the French Embassy, Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and “National School of Skiing and Mountaineering” of Chamonix (France). Many volunteers who joined immediately HRA search and rescue party to Kang Guru were his former students.
While this party was heading for Kang Guru, French Foreign Affairs sent reinforcement :
Mr. Yves MARTINE, mountain guide specialised in search and rescue, and mountain adviser of Mr. DOUSTE-BLAZY, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Serge KOENIG, mountain guide, and mountain adviser of Mr Jean-François LAMOUR, French Minister for Youth and Sports.
MM. Franck LAVAL & Bernard LEHUCHER, French Foreign Affairs experts in crisis and disaster management.
These four persons were flown on October 25 to mount Kang Guru in order to join HRA team and Mr. BAUD. They came back on the same day. Search operations will resume after a few days, once the danger of further avalanches can be discarded.
In the meantime, two more French experts are dispatched from France and will arrive in Kathmandu on October 28. They are MM Michel GONZALES and Michel GOUZE. Specialized in post-avalanche search operations, they come with two sniffler dogs trained for mountain rescue, and with special equipment. They will be flown to Kang Guru as soon as possible.
All the efforts of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs are now concentrating on recovering the bodies of all missing climbers.