Rescue team members after an avalanche, at Mount Manaslu Base Camp September 23, 2012
Revelstoke's Greg Hill was one of six people working for or affiliated with the ski mountaineering company Dynafit who were climbing Nepal's 8,156-metre Mount Manaslu -- the world's eight highest peak -- when the slide struck about 5 a.m. Sunday.
Hill, an accomplished athlete, was serving as the team's videographer.
The Dynafit climbers, who hoped to set a speed ascent record -- climbing and descending the mountain in 24 hours -- were among the first people at the scene of the avalanche and were heavily involved in rescue efforts, said Jim Lamancusa, Dynafit sales and marketing director.
The slide killed at least nine people, and on Monday, four people were still missing, including Quebec's Dr. Dominique Ouimet, who was climbing the peak to raise money for his hospital in St. Jerome. Lamancusa said some of the Dynafit team members planned to head home while others would retry the climb.
"Three of them are going to head home -- I think Greg is part of that group," he said Monday.
Lamancusa also said Hill taped interviews with two of his German teammates in the wake of the slide, adding he thought the footage would be released publicly Tuesday.
Both Lamancusa and Alberta-born professional skier Eric Hjorleifson were with the Dynafit team in Nepal just a few weeks ago, climbing the roughly 6,500-metre Mera Peak as the team prepared for Manaslu.
Hjorleifson, who was born in Banff, raised in Canmore and now lives in Whistler, BC, said when he left the group in Nepal, arriving back Sept. 6, keeping contact was difficult because of their remote location.
"I was hoping it was going well -- I hadn't heard much from them," he said.
As news broke of the slide Sunday, Hjorleifson was anxiously trying to sort through information to see if his friends were okay.
He said he even saw reports that he himself was among the missing.
"At first I was really concerned they were involved," he said.
"Obviously I was still quite saddened there were so many casualties, but it was a relief the people I know weren't involved."
Nepalese tourism official Balkrishna Ghimire said Monday there was little hope of finding the still-missing climbers alive.
"I am sad to report that the possibility those missing survived the avalanche have almost faded," Ghimire said.
"Even if the missing climbers were only injured, it will be very difficult for them to survive. There are no camps and no one at that altitude could help them or treat them."
Ghimire said a ground search resumed Monday after it was interrupted due to bad weather.
An air search was suspended indefinitely.
Officials have identified eight of the nine dead climbers. They include four Frenchmen, a Nepalese guide, a Spaniard, a German and an Italian.
-with files by QMI Agency