Hill and his Dynafit-sponsored team were camping away from the slide path when the avalanche came down directly into the site of camp three on the mountain.
Hill’s team was one of the first on scene, heading up in the darkness to try and rescue people. Hill’s account is both chilling and thought-provoking. It provides insight into the conditions on the mountain and the experience of helping the survivors and discovering those that died.
The following is an excerpt from his blog post:
Skinning up, our headlamps lit up a down boot, and we knew that the tents had been hit. Tents, clothes, sleeping bags, lone boots, everything lay partially buried everywhere. Within minutes we were helping people get warm and digging others out of the snow. It was hard to tell how many people where involved so we focused on those that where above the snow. Knowing that those who were buried had very little chance of surviving.
The variety of injuries was astounding, some people were “OK” from their 1000 foot tumble, others were so full of internal injuries that life escaped them quickly. Some had arrived sitting on top of the debris while the tent beside them was completely buried in hard suffocating avalanche debris. There were injured people stuck in their tents with the dead body of their tent mate wrapped around them. The line between life and death was inches. Some people were talking to their tent mates as it happened, and when the avalanche stopped their partners were nowhere to be seen.
. . .
We spent 5 hours helping people, mourning with people as they watched their friends pass away beside them, digging a helicopter platform and moving the injured people close enough to fly them away once the helicopters got there. While also digging out the deceased and trying to locate any other missing people.
At one point I sat and openly cried for those that had died.
He writes about the snow conditions on the mountain, the placements of the campsite, the rescue effort and his emotions following the avalanche. You can read his full account here: http://www.greghill.ca/pages/disaster-strikes-on-manaslu/
Hill is expected to return to Revelstoke in the next few days.