Kelsall teenager Alex Staniforth has described his fear of being 'buried alive' in a deadly avalanche caused by the Nepalese earthquake that has killed more than 5,000 people.
The 19-year-old was attempting his second trek up Mount Everest when the disaster hit last Saturday when the quake hit Nepal, triggering an avalanche which claimed at least 18 lives - including three of the group's Nepali guides.
The former Tarporley High School student has spoken of his total devastation at the weekend's events, and said it would be 'unthinkable' for the expedition to continue.
And he has relived the moment of terror when the avalanche hit the mountain, throwing him to his knees instantly.
"I was in the icefall when the ground shook; the same force that released huge avalanches full of rock and ice, largely from Pumori," he said. "I couldn't run due to huge crevasses surrounding me. I was blinded, thrown to my knees and suffocated by what felt like a snow cannon. I thought this was it - I was going to be buried.
"Eventually it subsided and I found my way to Camp 1 where many other teams were already located. My team are now safely back at basecamp after being evacuated from Camp 1 once conditions were deemed safe; the icefall was impassable due to the avalanche.
"Tragically, three of our Nepali staff were killed at base camp and I am hugely saddened by their loss. They are very much in my thoughts and I am very lucky to be alive.
"My heart goes out to Pasang Temba, Tenzing & Kumar from our cook crew who lost their lives at basecamp along with thousands of others across Nepal.
He added: "I will be staying to help with the clean-up at basecamp, as some gear has been scattered literally 300 metres across the glacier by the huge force.”
The tragedy comes a year after Alex was forced to cancel his first attempt at climbing Everest , after a huge avalanche left 16 Nepalese Sherpa guides dead. He had already been raising money for those affected by last year’s avalanche and is now appealing for people to support those affected by the latest disaster.
A statement on Alex’s Facebook page EPIC7 - Through Adversity to Everest 2015, said: “Alex’s message is clear - do whatever you can to help these people. If you can donate to the Nepal disaster funds, please do and if you can’t, please share this update and get the message out to others who can."