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WKU professor moves research to new site after Everest avalanche

Even though he won’t be climbing Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse this year after a deadly avalanche on April 18, WKU professor John All is continuing climate research in another nearby area of the Himalayas.

After he returns from the Himalayas, Dr. John All will continue research this summer in the Cordillera Blanca range in Peru. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

After he returns from the Himalayas, Dr. John All will continue climate research this summer in the Cordillera Blanca range in Peru. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

“The avalanche was a terrible experience for everyone,” said Dr. All, who traveled to the Himalayas in early April for a two-month expedition near the Nepal and Tibet border. “We lost one of our friends. We worried for nearly a day about others as we searched the bodies being brought down. Seeing the blood and gore really broke everyone down. The petty politics that ensued has really pulled a lot of people who were close, far apart in sad ways.”

The 2014 climbing season was shut down after the Khumbu Icefall avalanche killed 16 Sherpa guides. Dr. All and his research team had to change their plans to travel to Lhotse and left the Everest Base Camp for Mount Himlung, located between Manaslu and Annapurna ranges.

“For us, the research for the University of Colorado and NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) won’t happen,” said Dr. All, associate professor in WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology and director of the American Climber Science Program, which is a research and conservation program of the American Alpine Club. “But we will still get some good data to compare to our ongoing work in Peru. And because it is lower elevation, we can involve more locals and several Nepali researchers and students will join us in the Annapurna area.

“The avalanche was a horrible tragedy that still haunts me sometimes, but we have made the best of the situation and created some different partnerships that will be very interesting.”

johnall-award

WKU professor John All was honored in early April by the Nepal Botanical Society for his work on mountain conservation with Nepalese students. The award was presented by British Ambassador Andrew James Sparks; Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation; and Krishna Kumar Shrestha, president of the Nepal Botanical Society. (Photo courtesy of John All)

After he returns from the Himalayas, Dr. All will lead another research expedition this summer to the Cordillera Blanca range in Peru.

Before he traveled to Everest Base Camp, Dr. All was the keynote speaker April 9 at a seminar on climate change in Sagarmatha National Park in Kathmandu, Nepal. Dr. All’s topic was Climate Changes and Human Impacts Affecting the Sagarmatha National Park Region.

During the seminar, the Nepal Botanical Society honored Dr. All for his work on mountain conservation with Nepalese students. The award was presented by British Ambassador Andrew James Sparks; Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation; and Krishna Kumar Shrestha, president of the Nepal Botanical Society.

More information about the ACSP and this year’s expeditions is available at www.mountainscience.org and www.climberscience.com

Contact: John All, mt.clim8@gmail.com

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