Washington-based doctor killed in Nepal earthquake

A Washington-based mountain-climbing company reported a fatality Saturday after a massive earthquake in Nepal.

In a news release, Madison Mountaineering confirmed the death of Eve Girawong, the company’s Everest/Lhotse base camp doctor. Girawong was a victim of an avalanche that struck the Mount Everest base camp following the magnitude-7.8 quake, the release said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Eve and her family and friends. We will have more information later after daybreak in Nepal and additional updates from our team,” the release said.

Several other Washington-based companies reported that their teams had checked in safe after the quake.

About a half-dozen Washington outfits — including Alpine Ascents, International Mountain Guides and Rainier Mountaineering Inc. — had expeditions on or near Mount Everest when the earthquake struck Saturday. The avalanche claimed at least 10 climbers and guides. The overall death toll was more than 1,800 as of Saturday evening Pacific time.

The parties led by the Washington firms total dozens of climbers, Sherpas and porters. Guide Dave Hahn wrote on the website of Ashford-based Rainier Mountaineering that he was in a camp above the base camp when the avalanche struck, but others in his team, including guide Mark Tucker, were down below and had worked feverishly to help the injured.

Gordon Janow, director of programs for Alpine Ascents International, said from Seattle that his team had come through the avalanche unscathed.