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Alums confirmed safe after scare in Nepal blizzard

Two Stanford alumni are safe after being caught in a deadly blizzard while hiking in Nepal.

Christopher Anderson B.S., M.S. ’11 and Jonathan Potter B.S., M.S. ’12 departed from Kathmandu, Nepal on Oct. 6 to hike the Annapurna Circuit, a hundred-mile trek that takes more than two weeks. On Oct. 14, a sudden blizzard caught hundreds of hikers on the circuit.

Vilma Anderson, mother of Christopher Anderson B.S. ’11 M.S. ’11, heard about the disaster on Thursday and stayed up all night monitoring the news and social media for news about her son.

Consulting an itinerary for the circuit, Vilma Anderson calculated that her son should have just passed the town of Menang when the storm hit. She spent the day working phones and laptops, calling any agency in the area that could have seen Chris.

At 11:21 p.m., she received a message: “Was lost in the mountains for a few days, now back in Menang, will send you details later.” It was Chris.

Both he and Potter are safe but with limited communication, leaving even their parents in the dark about what happened. Vilma Anderson thinks they may have departed without a guide and gotten lost after the blizzard wiped out their ability to navigate with a map.

“They couldn’t find their way and probably decided to backtrack, but it took it them two days” without shelter, she said. “My guess is that there was no trail, and four, five feet of snow.”

More than 1,700 people, many of them Stanford alumni, have ‘liked’ a Facebook page called “Find Chris and JP in Nepal,” a source of information for the families and a way of connecting to people on the ground in Nepal.

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