WATCH ABOVE: After spending a week at Annapurna base camp, Edmonton climber Al Hancock arrived safely in Kathmandu this weekend.
EDMONTON – An Edmonton man who spent the past week at Annapurna base camp has arrived safely in Kathmandu following last weekend’s devastating earthquake.
“Flying into Kathmandu was felt with sadness and tribulation as you look down and you see the destruction all over the place. Some communities there are only a few people living, and whole towns have been wiped out,” said Al Hancock.
The 55-year-old professional high-altitude climber is in Nepal as part of his big 14 challenge. He’s trying to become the first Canadian to summit the world’s 14 tallest peaks; he’s already reach seven of them.
Hancock and his team were at Annapurna base camp last weekend when the deadly earthquake hit.
“I was in my tent at the time. It was like a freight train. The sound was so intense and the ground was shaking uncontrollably,” he explained from Kathmandu Sunday morning.
“Then I looked out my tent, I was putting on my boots and people were running for their lives thinking that these several thousand feet of rock wall in front of us was going to come collapsing down on our tents.”
Hancock says several aftershocks were felt at base camp in the days following the quake. He and his team patiently waited for help to arrive.
“Certainly we knew that the resources for helicopters, etc. were spread out through Nepal and we needed to be patient, and rightfully so. Other people needed those resources.”
On Saturday a government helicopter picked him up and transported him to Kathmandu. While Hancock has seen a lot in years of travelling, he says he’s never seen devastation like in Nepal.
“I’ve seen a lot of people perish in the mountains but the devastation that one sees throughout the kingdom of Nepal, the death toll, the devastation, it’s unparalleled,” he said.
“My heart goes out to the loved ones of the lost ones here in Nepal. The devastation is felt no matter where you go and it’s just very, very sad.”
Hancock will continue his big 14 challenge in Pakistan in June. In the meantime he will be spending his time on the ground in Nepal helping any way he can.
“My care, my focus, my attention is on the people of Nepal.”
To follow Hancock’s journey, visit his website.