Sherpa deaths on Mount Everest hit close to home for San Diegans

SAN DIEGO - A massive avalanche killed at least 12 people Thursday in what some consider the worst-ever disaster on Mount Everest. Four more are still missing, apparently buried in the ice.

"It was just that one last piece of what that started the avalanche and it must have been huge," said Sherri Gould, who has visited the mountain.

Gould and Jeff Seckendort are San Diegans who climbed the base of the mountain for charity.

"It's the most dramatic, spectacular, incredible place on earth," said Seckendort.

It is an incredible place with beauty but at times, it can be unforgiving and deadly. A hail of ice and snow took out 16 sherpas, killing at least 12 of them.

"They are strong. They would carry two 50-pound backpacks on their backs up the mountain," said Gould.

Sherpas are expert guides who spend their lives conquering Everest. Those killed were setting ropes creating a roadway up the mountain.

"It's Mother Nature. Things like that we can't control," said Gould.

Seckendort and Gould went in a group of 10 to climb the bottom of the mountain so they could raise awareness for the project Summit 4 Stem Cell, a research organization for Parkinson's disease.

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