On April 18, 2014, 16 Sherpas lost their lives in one of the biggest avalanches that Everest has seen in recent years. The avalanche began at the Khumbu Icefall. This area is known to be among the most hazardous sections of any regularly climbed mountain anywhere, the icefall is a steep, constantly shifting labyrinth of teetering seracs, crevasses, and contorted ice that spills 2,000 feet down a gorge between Mount Everest’s west shoulder and Nuptse, the 25,791-foot peak that looms over Base Camp. The "Ice Doctors" had already set up their hand lines throughout the region, but early on the morning of the avalanche, some of the ladders had fallen, and long backups were occurring in the region. The full story, written beautifully for Nat Geo, of the men who lost their lives (and of those that survived) can be found here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/11/sherpas/brown-text What many hikers are now wondering is what this means for the future of hiking on Everest, and exactly what caused this disaster. Was it global warming, as some are quick to claim, or natural shifting on the mountain that caused the thousands of tons of ice to drop off the face and rush down the mountainside? Or, it could just be gravity, which is the cause of many avalanches after snow and ice pile up for a long time. While we can't be sure, we can be sure that the serac that lead to the loss of 16 experienced Sherpas was huge. Its surface area was roughly the size of an NBA basketball court. It was 113 feet (34.5 meters) high and weighed as much as 657 fully loaded Greyhound buses, about 31.5 million pounds (14.3 million kilograms).