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Celebrity

Mount Everest Climber: 'We Thought We Were Going to Get Taken Out'

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6summitschallenge/Reuters/Landov. Inset:Madison Mountaineering

A group of climbers on Mount Everest are happy to be alive after avalanches caused by Saturday’s massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal claimed one of their team members.

Garrett Madison, expedition leader for Madison Mountaineering from Seattle, Washington, described the event to Today‘s Hoda Kotb on Monday.

“We were about two-thirds of the way up the route to Camp Two, and we heard an awful noise, and heard avalanches coming down on either sides of the valley. We thought we were going to get taken out. Fortunately we were only dusted by a snow cloud,” said Madison, 36.

“Unfortunately, base camp was hit the hardest. We were very fortunate up on the mountain where we were. We lucked out. The base camp got huge rock and snow slides coming down, and it obliterated most of the base camp.”

One of Madison’s team members and the group’s doctor, Eve Girawong, 28, died in the avalanche that struck the base camp area, Madison Mountaineering confirmed.

Marisa Eve Girawong
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“Again our hearts go out to the family of Eve Girawong. She is loved by all of us in base camp and a great addition to our team and helped us tremendously. She will be missed greatly. We are very sorry for her loss,” Madison said via the website.

The remaining members of the climbing team made it back to base camp on Monday, where they spent a few hours sorting through the rubble left by the landslide, their website says. They left base camp safely on Monday and headed down the Khumbu valley.

The death toll following Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal now tops 4,000.