Lost in Tibetan Avalanches, 2 American Women Close to a Record | Court Practice News


Two climbers who were hoping to become the first American women to scale the world’s 14 tallest peaks were among a group of mountaineers struck by avalanches in Tibet on Saturday.

One of the American women, Anna Gutu, was killed, along with her Nepalese guide, Mingmar Sherpa, according to a report in Xinhua, a Chinese state media organization.

The other American, Gina Marie Rzucidlo, and Tenjen Sherpa, a Nepalese guide, were missing, the report said. Ms. Rzucidlo was only 80 meters from the summit of Mount Shishapangma when she was struck, her mother said.

A third Nepalese guide, Karma Geljen Sherpa, was seriously injured, Xinhua reported.

Susan Rzucidlo, the mother of Gina Marie Rzucidlo, said her daughter, who was 45 and lived in New York City, and Ms. Gutu were racing for history, hoping to become the first American women to climb the world’s 14 peaks above 8,000 meters.

Climbing the world’s 8,000ers, as the mountains above 8,000 meters high are known, requires time in the so-called death zone, an altitude at which reduced oxygen levels make it difficult for humans to breathe effectively and where climbers can die.

Susan Rzucidlo said her daughter had been training for years and had climbed five peaks above 8,000 meters this year and eight others in previous years. Mount Shishapangma would have been her 14th.

“What I heard was she was the strongest and happiest ever on that mountain,” Ms. Rzucidlo said.

Xinhua reported that the two avalanches had struck the mountain at 7,600 meters and 8,000 meters, as 52 climbers were attempting to reach the peak at just over 8,000 meters.

It seemed highly unlikely, three days later, that the missing climbers would be found alive. Xinhua reported that climbing on the mountain had been suspended.

Mingma David Sherpa of Elite Exped, a company that organizes mountaineering expeditions, told Agence France-Presse that rescue efforts were complicated because of Chinese restrictions on the use of helicopters there.

Susan Rzucidlo said she had been told that search-and-recovery efforts might have to wait until the spring.

“Gina was just an amazing person,” she said. “She just lived life to the fullest. She really wanted to accomplish this.”

Ms. Gutu had documented her adventures — mountain climbing, skydiving and paragliding — on Instagram. This month, she posted a photo of herself holding the American and Ukrainian flags atop Cho Oyu, writing that it was the 13th mountain above 8,000 meters that she had climbed.

“One step, one peak closer to accomplish all 14 highest mountains on earth,” she wrote.

Tenjen Sherpa and a Norwegian mountaineer, Kristin Harila, had recently set a record by climbing the world’s 14 peaks above 8,000 meters in 92 days, according to Outside.

A message on Ms. Harila’s Instagram page said she was “now on the plane, on her way to Kathmandu, to help in any way she can.”




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