On April 25th 2015, Nepal was hit with a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed some 3,000 people and injured 6,500. Al feels absolutely blessed to have been spared, having been on Annapurna at the time of impact. He would like to send out his thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families.
He and around 50 other people are currently awaiting a helicopter to pick them up from base camp. They are down to only rice, tea and water, but Al is in high spirits as he awaits rescue, which should arrive by April 30th.
The Annapurna journey had been nothing but misfortune for Al before the quake even hit. On April 23rd, camp 4 on Annapurna was hit with an avalanche, covering Al and other team members with 7’ of snow as they slept in their tents. They had to cut their way out and narrowly escaped death. They made their way back to camp 3 and settled there for a day before heading back to base camp, where the earthquake hit shortly after.
As of now, the status of the Big 14 Challenge is unknown. Al will have to reattempt the Annapurna summit sometime in the future, granted he raises the funds needed from sponsors and speaking engagements. He still hopes to conquer Lhotse, but the time frame of that journey is up in the air.
Al is counting his blessings while trying to stay warm and positive at Annapurna base camp. It is still unknown whether or not he will return to Canada after rescue or if he will continues the Big 14 Challenge.