by Josh Lieberman | April 18, 2014
An avalanche on Mount Everest has claimed the lives of 12 Sherpa guides, the deadliest avalanche in Mount Everest history. The avalanche occurred 21,000 feet high, near Camp 2, and hit the Sherpas as they prepared the way for climbers to trek up the mountain. Four Sherpas are still missing, according to USA Today. 

"Usually what contributes to avalanches are unstable layers of snow, usually a bottom layer that has been melted some and then refrozen with a fresh snowpack coming on top of it," said Western Weather Expert Ken Clark. "Think of the bottom layer being like a teflon pan and the top layer your eggs."

Prior to the avalanche, the deadliest Everest disaster occurred on May 11, 1996, when a snowstorm killed eight climbers. The deaths of seven more Everest climbers that year made 1996 the deadliest year on the mountain. Approximately 240 people have died climbing Everest.  

Since Edmund Hillary first climbed Everest in 1953, some 4,000 climbers have made it to the top. One such climber, Adrian Ballinger, an expedition guide who has gone up Everest six times, told USA Today of the ever-present danger while climbing the mountain. 

“Everest is an incredibly dangerous place,” said Ballinger. “It’s a natural beast. This is an accident all of us know is a constant possibility.”