Langtang, the Valley Destroyed by the Nepal Earthquake
J Thoendell stashed this in Outside
When the earthquake struck, a combination of factors—snow-covered peaks, the height and steepness of the mountains looming over settlements, and the full occupancy of many teahouses—was disastrous. In an instant, the tremors dislodged parts of the hanging glaciers on Langtang Lirung and Langtang II, two of the area’s highest peaks. As the glaciers hurtled down, they shattered and then picked up more snow and debris. What the earthquake didn’t destroy, the avalanche did. It buried 116 houses and generated pressure waves with winds of up to 93 miles per hour—strong enough to flatten forests on the opposite side of the valley. It’s estimated that 308 people died, including 176 Langtang residents, 80 foreigners, and 10 army personnel. More than 100 bodies were never recovered. Approximately 300 people were evacuated after four days of being cut off by the numerous landslides and avalanches.
Map by Julia Amirzadov
Of all the badly hit areas in Nepal, nowhere was the destruction so complete as in the Langtang Valley. And yet, in the intervening months, few media outlets have spoken with those who witnessed the devastation firsthand.