Avalanche kills 12 in single deadliest accident on Mount Everest
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
- NEW: Four people remain missing, Nepal Tourism Ministry official says
- The deadliest year on Mount Everest was 1996, when 15 people died
- More than 300 climbers have been given permission to tackle Everest this spring
- About 400 Sherpas will help them make the grueling ascent
Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- A high-altitude avalanche Friday killed 12 Sherpa guides and seriously wounded three in the single deadliest accident on Mount Everest, officials said.
Four others are missing, said Madhu Sudan Burlakoti of Nepal's Tourism Ministry, adding that six people were injured in total.
A group of about 50 people, mostly Nepali Sherpas, were hit by the avalanche at more than 20,000 feet, said Tilak Ram Pandey of the ministry's mountaineering department.
The avalanche took place just above base camp in the Khumbu Ice Fall.
Deadliest accident on Mount Everest
Climber: Avalanche victim was my equal
Deadliest day on Mount Everest
Mount Everest is a journey that challenges human nature on every level. Sandra LeDuc captured this photo as climbers approached the Hillary Step, before the Everest summit. Click through our gallery to see more photos from climbers taken on Everest during 2012.
Everest: from base camp to the summit
The climbers were accounted for, Pandey said. "Rescue teams have gone ... to look for the missing."
Before Friday, the deadliest single-day toll was from an accident in May 1996, when eight climbers disappeared when a huge storm hit. Their tragic story was chronicled in Jon Krakauer's bestselling book "Into Thin Air."
Everest by the numbers
Readying for the climb
Between May 15 and 30 is usually the best window for reaching the 29,028-foot peak.
Climbers and guides had been setting the ropes for the route, acclimating to the climate and preparing the camps along the route when the avalanche hit Friday, said Gordon Janow with Alpine Ascents International in Seattle.
Climbers arrive in April to acclimate to the altitude before heading toward the summit of the world's highest mountain.
Ethnic Sherpas acts as guides for the mostly foreign clients.
The spring climbing season is the busiest of the year.
About 334 foreign climbers have been given permission to climb Everest over the next couple of months, with an estimated 400 Sherpas helping them, mountaineering official Dipendra Poudel said.
Until the late 1970s, only a handful of climbers reached the top each year. The number topped 100 for the first time in 1993. By 2004, it was more than 300. In 2012, the number was more than 500.
The deadliest year on Everest was 1996, when 15 people died. Another 12 climbers were killed in 2006.
Climbers, widow recount deadly traffic jam on Everest
On top of the world in 1963
Journalist Manesh Shrestha reported from Kathmandu and CNN's Ed Payne reported from Atlanta. CNN's Dave Alsup contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.