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Elia Saikaly was nearly swept away by an earthquake-triggered avalanche that roared down on climbers this weekend on Mount Everest. The Ottawa resident, a highly respected mountain climber and filmmaker, was preparing to eat lunch in a tent at the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain on Saturday. And then the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal and nearby countries, killing more than 2,500 people and injuring many thousands more. At Everest, the quake unleashed a torrent of snow down icy slopes toward Saikaly and hundreds of others in the camp. The avalanche took the lives of at least 17 people at Everest, including one of Saikaly’s friends — a senior executive of Google. On Sunday, Saikaly, 36, told his story to the Citizen, answering a series of written questions sent to him at Everest, where he remained.
Photos: Aftermath of the earthquake in NepalPhotos provided by Ottawa filmmaker Elia Saikaly, who was at a base camp on Mount Everest working on a special project at the time of the earthquake in Nepal, show the devastation on Everest following an avalanche triggered by the quake.
This time, he was there to shoot pictures for a director at Under Armour who was planning to climb six 8,000-metre summits in a year. Seconds after the earthquake, it triggered a massive avalanche off Pumori, a 23,000-foot peak that is adjacent to Everest and directly above the camp, which was at 17,598 feet.
The force of the avalanche hit him like a “freight train,” Richards said, and it continues to affect his personal life and career today.
When Richards returned home from Pakistan, he got married and tried to continue living a normal life, only to feel withdrawn and secluded without understanding why.
Richards’ “selfie” he took of himself after the avalanche received national attention and was published on the cover of National Geographic.
The more Richards withdrew himself, the more he understood the direction his marriage was heading. Richards came to terms with his PTSD when he went on a 150-mile journey through the jungles in Myanmar, a country formerly known as Burma in Southeast Asia. The goal of the journey was to climb some of the tallest mountains in the right corner of the Himalayan Mountains and map a new route to the summit, or highest peak, of one of these mountains.


After a 40-day journey, the group finally saw the top of the summit, but were too tired to carry on. Richards decided to take another expedition to the mountains to fully face the root of the issue that was consuming him. It took Richards two months to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and he began to remember why he loved the mountains. Sixteen years ago, on May 10, 1996, Neal Beidleman was involved in the most devastating mountaineering disaster in recorded history, one that became the subject of best-selling books and a raft of films and documentaries. Back then, Beidleman was working as a guide under his close friend and seasoned mountaineer Scott Fischer.
Fingers were pointed in numerous directions and many were blamed for what happened that day but there were only words of praise for Beidleman, who went up as a mountaineer and came down a hero.
For years, Beidleman was in high demand to speak about the lessons he had learned on Everest, about team building, about taking risks and living with the consequences, and about how disasters are rarely caused by one single action or one single person but often a cascading series of bad luck and bad choices.
Beidleman decided to take a second chance of his own when a few years ago he got the feeling the mountain was calling him back. Last May, Neil Beidleman had the summit in his sights as something went terribly wrong, something that may well have cost him his own life, something that changed his vision of the past. Watch what happens as Neal Beidleman recounts the deadly 1996 Everest expedition on his climb back up the mountain and as he gets close to the summit, something goes horribly wrong.
Relaxing in the backyard of her charming house in small town Texas, Lara Logan feels very lucky. Then in 2012, while still recovering from the attack, Logan was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Lara Logan and husband Joe Burkett with (from left) children Ashley, Lola and Joe Amanda Friedman "I was in a panic," she recalls.
After undergoing a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation, Logan is in remission and refuses to live in fear of the cancer returning. Now settled into their new life, Logan who's still passionate about her work at 60 Minutes, has made family her first priority.


He had been coming there in recent years, taking pictures of trekkers as they climbed the mountain, and even climbing right to the summit himself. Richards nearly died on his way down Gasherbrum II, the 13th tallest mountain in the world. Wednesday morning lecture in the Amphitheater, Richards, a climber and visual storyteller, talked about post-traumatic stress disorder and how it affected not only his relationships, but the way he sees the world.
A documentary, titled “Cold,” was released later that year, capturing the journey to the top of the mountain where Richards and two others became the first people to climb the peak in winter. He showed the audience a photo he took of his wife’s arms stretched out as she took a photo on an iPhone. They knew if they continued without proper rest, food or gas, they would likely freeze to death on the mountain top.
He knew there was something deep inside of him that was broken, making him think of himself as unlovable. As he surrounded himself with nature and the beauty of the world, it made him care about the direction the planet is heading. But this, this jungle storm, this pre-monsoonal storm was flowing up from the south onto us," Beidleman said. At altitudes like this -- the Everest peak in 29,028 feet -- the oxygen is so thin the brain gets foggy and judgments cloud. While covering the Arab Spring demonstrations from Egypt's Tahrir Square, a mob of hundreds suddenly turned on her, and brutally sexually assaulted her. In November 2013 her 60 Minutes report about the attack on Benghazi was found to be inaccurate, and Logan was forced to take a leave of absence from the job she loved.



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