By Ammu Kannampilly ,AFP
KATHMANDU — When an avalanche thundered down Mount Everest last weekend, guides tweeted calls for help and dramatic video footage quickly went viral as trekkers accessed Wi-Fi on the roof of the world. When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain 62 years ago, news didn’t reach the outside world until four days afterwards and no photographs of Hillary were taken at the top. ��As soon as I spoke with colleagues and realized the impact of this snow tsunami, I tweeted about it so we could get help to deal with this huge disaster,�� said veteran guide Dan Mazur. The 7.8-magnitude quake that struck Nepal Saturday, killing more than 6,700 people, sent a cascade of snow tearing through Everest base camp, leaving more than a dozen dead and scores injured. Within minutes reports and photos of the disaster were circulating widely across social media, largely due to the actions of mountaineers like Mazur, sparking relief operations into action and helping save lives. ��A Massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone,�� the American posted on Twitter, moments after the avalanche roared past. The contrast to the news emerging of Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing’s monumental feat in becoming the first climbers to reach the top of the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) high mountain in 1953, could not be more stark. They arrived at the summit on the 29 May but word did not reach London until June 2, just in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
No pictures were taken of Hillary at the top, apparently because Tenzing did not know how to work a camera. But in his autobiography the New Zealander claimed it had never occurred to him to ask for a picture. Today, the hundreds of tech-savvy climbers who attempt Everest every year are armed with smartphones, iPads and laptops that they use to live-tweet their ascents to a global audience. AFP Roberto Schmidt sent his dramatic photograph of the avalanche via a Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminal.