An avalanche roars down a mountainside close to the Mount Everest climbers base camp.

From Base Camp, Chip witnesses an avalanche as it rumbles down the mountain. The yellow and blue tents of the sprawling Base Camp in the foreground are dwarfed by the huge avalanche. (Photograph by Ciprian Popoviciu. More about the photograph)

Avalanches are very dangerous and are the leading cause of death on Mount Everest. They are also very common — sometimes occurring more than a dozen times a day. As a result, the Base Camp tents must be positioned away from the potential path of avalanches. Some avalanches are so large, however, that they still dust some tents with ice and snow. But despite all the hazards posed by avalanches, they are quite a spectacular sight.

Tents of all shapes and sizes occupy any flat piece of ground that can be found at Base Camp. In addition to the climbers’ tents, Base Camp has a kitchen tent, a first-aid tent, and outhouse tents.