On Saturday, April 25, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The earthquake caused an ice cliff to shear off, creating an avalanche that sent many tons of ice crashing more than 2,000 vertical feet down toward Everest Base Camp. 18 deaths and numerous injuries resulted on Everest. More than 8,000 people in Nepal and the adjoining areas of India, China, and Bangladesh lost their lives.
In light of that horrific tragedy, the Nepal-based climbs of Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu scheduled for the spring as part of the 6 Summits Challenge were cancelled.
The 6 Summits Challenge team, who were present on Mount Everest Base Camp during the avalanche, provided aid in Kathmandu and the Gorkha region alongside Mission 14’s existing partner organizations Tiny Hands International, Shared Hope, and Catholic Relief Services. The team shared gear, food, and water and assisted with rescue, recovery and rehabilitation efforts after the disaster. Nick Cienski, Sandi Cienski, Elia Saikaly, Russell Brice, Jarek Gawrysiak, Pawel Michalski, and Simone La Terra (at Makalu base camp) were all unharmed.
The team's experience in Kathmandu heartened their commitment to fulfill Mission 14’s goal of raising global awareness to help fight human trafficking more than ever.
Beginning in July 2015, the 6 Summits Challenge will continue with an attempt to summit Gasherbrum I (26,150ft), Broad Peak (26,398ft) and Gasherbrum II (26,400ft), which are the 11th, 12th and 13th highest peaks in the world, respectively.
In late August, the team will travel to Tibet and attempt to summit the 14th highest peak in the world, Shishapangma (26,235ft), in early September. Following Shishapangma, the team will take on Cho Oyu (26,864ft), the world’s 6th highest peak.
Finally, the 6 Summits Challenge will finish by returning to Nepal and climbing the world’s 8th highest peak, Manaslu (26,781ft), in late September.