A New Zealand guiding company's team have all been rescued by helicopter from the Western Cwm on Mt Everest, but 17 other people were stranded overnight at their high-altitude snow camp.

Wanaka-based Adventure Consultants said that now its team was down from Camp 1 above the Khumbu Icefall, the plan was for them to walk down to Lukla, a three-day trip.

However, the anxious family of United States climber Patrick McKinley told the Herald via Twitter that there were 17 climbers at Camp 1 awaiting helicopter rescue after Nepal's earthquakes, which killed at least 18 people at the Everest Base Camp in an avalanche and rendered the route through the Khumbu Icefall too dangerous to descend on foot.

"Waiting - no food or fuel," Katherine McKnight said yesterday.


Patrick McKnight, a university professor in Virginia, is climbing with the Summit Climb guiding outfit, which has bases in the US and Britain.

Ms McKnight posted online yesterday: "... just spoke to Pat. They're all packed up and waiting for the helis to come. I've been in constant contact with Global Rescue - they know they're waiting and the plan is to get them out today [Monday] and at least down to base camp. But the choppers fly by Visual Flight Rules because they don't have the equipment to do otherwise. That means they can't fly if they can't see. And right now they can't see. We're waiting for a weather window to get them out."

Other guiding companies reported at least 150 people were airlifted from Camp 1 yesterday. At least three helicopters - one said to be flown by Queenstown pilot Jason Laing - were doing six to 10-minute round-trip laps to Camp 1 while the weather held.

"It took four laps in Kiwi pilot Jason's B3 [helicopter] to get our team down," Dave Hahn, of US-based guiding company RMI Expeditions, wrote on his blog.

New Zealand guide Russell Brice, of the Himalayan Experience, said the company's team of 25, plus Sherpas, were safe and well at the Everest Base Camp.

Ex-Auckland mayor's son dies on Everest trek

The New Zealand trekker who died in the Mt Everest region following Nepal's devastating earthquake was Greg Kay, a son of former mayor of Auckland the late Colin Kay.

Greg Kay died in his sleep of a heart attack on Sunday, at a hotel in the village of Tengboche where his trekking group stayed overnight. His family said he had not been diagnosed with a heart disorder.

Greg Kay died while on a trip to Nepal. Photo / Supplied
Greg Kay died while on a trip to Nepal. Photo / Supplied

A Remuera resident aged 61, Mr Kay had wide business interests. He was a former chief executive of state-owned Coalcorp (later called Solid Energy), and of the agricultural services company Wrightson.


He was on a trekking trip led by Peter Hillary, son of the late Sir Edmund Hillary. The group was raising money for a new water system at the village of Lukla, where Sir Edmund built an airstrip that is the aviation hub for access to the Everest region.

Greg Kay is survived by his wife, Sudy, two adult sons and one granddaughter.