UPDATE: Greg Hill survives Nepal avalanche that killed at least nine

"I just want him home," says Tracey Hill, wife of Revelstoke ski mountaineer Greg Hill, after his brush with Mount Manaslu avalanche.

Revelstoke’s Greg Hill is amongst the mountaineers that survived a massive avalanche on Nepal’s Mount Manaslu that killed at least nine people early Sunday morning.

“A huge avalanche swept through camp 3 at 4:45am on Manaslu, catching lots of people in their sleeping bags, many dead, and injured,” he wrote on Facebook Sunday morning. “Luckily our team is fine, and helped with the rescue, Glenn Plake is also fine but my heart goes out to all the others.”

For his wife Tracy, “relieved” was the word she used after learning about the incident, and her husband’s safety. She was away camping when news of the avalanche broke Sunday morning and didn’t find out until she returned home at around 5:30 p.m. that day and found 31 messages on her answering machine.

Fortunately, the first one was from Greg.

“It took about five messages for it to sink in,” she told the Times Review. “It didn’t sink in when Greg said it because he kind of played it off a little bit. He said it was a big avalanche and a lot of people died, but he was fine and he’d call later. Five messages later, after reporters and some friends, it sunk in and I cried. It was overwhelming.”

Hill was part of a Dynafit-sponsored expedition with German speed climbers Benedikt Bohm and Sebastian Haag, who were attempting a speed skiing record to the summit of Mt. Manaslu, which, at 8,156 metres, is the world’s eighth highest peak. Hill was a videographer with the expedition.

Plake, the legendary freeskier, was part of another skiing expedition on the mountain. Two other members of his team died.

According to news reports, the avalanche happened while people were sleeping at camp three on the mountain, which is located at an elevation of about 7,000 metres. Nine people were confirmed dead as of press time, with six more missing, including Quebec doctor Dominic Ouimet. The rest of the deceased included one Nepalese Sherpa and eight Europeans.

Tracey spoke to Greg Sunday evening. “I talked to him and we had a good conversation so I found out everything,” she said. “Now I’m definitely relieved more than anything.”

Greg told her that he and his team were camped away from the avalanche path that slid, but were woken up by the thundering slide at around 4:45 a.m. They waited for it to get light and to make sure it was safe out before going out to help.

Plake relayed an account of the avalanche to the website EpicTV, which was providing updates of his expedition. Plake told EpicTV the avalanche struck camp three, where 25 tents were set up. It then flowed down into camp two 500 metres below, rattling a further 12 tents. He said he was in his tent when the avalanche hit and he was swept down the mountain.

According to the Plake, it was Hill that rescued him.

“The Dynafit crew [Canadian skier Greg Hill’s team] were sleeping at a high Camp 2 and were immediately on site to rescue people,” Plake told EpicTV. “Sergio, Stephane, Doji our Sherpa – all strong alpinists – have all come up to search. We’ve done three searches but when the fog rolled in we had to call it off. It was a massive search [field], probably 600 to 700 meters across.

“It’s a war zone up here.”

Greg Hill has spent much of his adult life skiing in the backcountry. He is most famous for climbing and skiing a record two-million vertical feet in 2010 and he has accomplished several first ski descents. Tracey said she does her best not to think about what Greg is doing when he is out in the mountains.

“I try not to think, is the key,” she said. “Not that I don’t think – I worry – but I think with anything that Greg does you can’t worry because you can’t live your life worrying about something that may or may not happen. For me, I just don’t think about it.”

Hill and his team started their expedition by skiing off the summit of 6,470-metre-high Mera Peak earlier this month, prior to making their attempt on Manaslu

“So far this has been an adventure unlike any I have been on in the past,” he wrote on his website www.greghill.ca. “I have come to the Himalayas for my first time and am being blown away by the culture, the people, the mountains and the altitude.”

Tracey spoke to Greg every five days on this trip, she said. She knows him to be safe and not take “crazy risks.”

“Not that you can predict everything that’s going to happen but I know him and I know he won’t do anything that would mean he won’t be coming home, and I trust him for that,” she said.

Following the avalanche the team returned to base camp and were scheduled to return to Kathmandu, Nepal, for the flight home. Tracey said she hoped he would be back in time for their anniversary this Thursday, Sept. 27.

“I just want him home.”

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

From left to right. Jeremy, Ryan and Mitch Hunter are all third generation owners of Excel Tire, which will soon to become Trail Tire. (File)
3 generations later: Iconic Revelstoke tire business to be retread with new name

Excel Tire soon to become Trail Tire, but is still owned by the Hunter family

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Downtown Revelstoke on March 4, 2021. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
48 COVID-19 cases in February for Revelstoke

Since the start of the pandemic roughly one out of 30 local residents have contracted the virus

About 50 people gathered Friday, March 5, 2021 in Penticton to protest city council’s decision to close a temporary winter shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)
WATCH: Protest over Penticton shelter draws large crowd

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Paramjit Bogarh, connected to the murder of his wife in Vernon 35 years ago, has been relerased on full parole, one year after he was sentenced to five years in prison for accessory after the fact. (Contributed)
Full parole for ex-Okanagan man who helped wife’s alleged killer escape

Paramjit Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after helping brother flee Canada

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, normally held in August, was denied a grant due to COVID. (File photo)
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

Most Read