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Nepal Earthquake: Climber Melissa Arnot Says Her 'Heart Is Broken' After Everest Avalanche

Melissa Arnot, who hopes to become the first American woman to climb Everest without oxygen, has said her "heart is broken."
/ Source: NBC News

Melissa Arnot, who hopes to become the first American woman to climb Mount Everest without the aid of oxygen support, said Tuesday her "heart is broken" over the deadly avalanche on the world's tallest peak.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday triggered an avalanche which killed at least 18 people on Mount Everest.

"My heart is broken for all the loss and all the impact on rescuers in the last few days," Arnot said on Instagram. "We are trying to see now where our team can best be used and trying to adjust our reality to this new one."

Arnot, 31, also posted a photo Tuesday which was taken before the avalanche as she and others descended from Lobuche Peak — where they were sleeping to acclimatize to high altitudes.

The climber said on the photo-sharing website that she and her team were not in any danger during the avalanche and asked people to donate to The Juniper Fund, which supports local mountain workers and their families.

"Thank you all for your support, not only for me but also for this community and this country that I hold so close to my heart," she wrote.

Arnot had said she initially planned to make her final ascent in mid-May. While mountaineers have said the avalanche means the end of this year’s climbing season, Arnot has not announced whether she plans to cancel her attempt this year.

Arnot tried to climb Mount Everest in 2014, but the effort was derailed after an avalanche in April of that year killed 16 sherpas who were trying to carve out a route for climbers. Until the most recent avalanche, that disaster was the deadliest day recorded on the mountain.



— Phil Helsel