At least three Americans were among thousands killed in the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck 50 miles outside of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, on Saturday and triggered an avalanche on nearby Mount Everest. Reuters reports the U.S. State Department has confirmed that at least two of those dead were climbers scaling Everest or serving in a support role for the climb.
Girawong, a 28-year-old physician's assistant who was known to friends as Eve, was from Edison, New Jersey. She was stationed at base camp on Mount Everest to treat climbers from Madison Mountaineering of Seattle, and was among more than a dozen people who died in the Everest avalanche. Kurt Hunter, co-founder of the company, mourned Girawong’s death in a post on his company’s website.
Girawong was an avid rock climber, according to her profile, and had successfully summitted Mount Washington and Mount Rainier before taking her post at Everest in 2014. On Saturday morning, she wrote abut the “arduous journey” on Facebook and mentioned the falling snow and her craving for sushi just hours before her death. A few weeks earlier, she posted “I can’t think of anything that makes me as happy or peaceful as being here” with a photo of a valley in Nepal, to Instagram.
Girawong majored in biology at Rutgers University-Newark College of Arts and Sciences and had completed her master’s degree and training to become a physician’s assistant at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania and John Stroger Hospital in Chicago. She earned a second master’s degree in mountain medicine through the University of Leicester, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Fredinburg, a 33-year-old who worked as Google’s head of privacy for innovation and lived in San Francisco, was in the middle of an Everest expedition with a few other Google employees when he was also killed in the avalanche by the earthquake. Jagged Globe, the U.K.-based tour company that Fredinburg was climbing with, released a statement about Fredinburg’s death.