Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Santa Monica Documentary Filmmaker Killed At Mt. Everest Base Camp

Our June member drive is live: protect this resource!
Right now, we need your help during our short June member drive to keep the local news you read here every day going. This has been a challenging year, but with your help, we can get one step closer to closing our budget gap. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership.

A Santa Monica man working on a documentary about base camp at Mount Everest was killed in an avalanche triggered by this weekend's devastating 7.8 earthquake in Nepal.Tom Taplin, 61, had been at base camp for four weeks when the quake struck, according to ABC 7. His wife Corey Freyer said that she reached out to him when she heard there was a quake but she never heard back. Eventually, she received a call from a climbing guide using a satellite phone who delivered the bad news.

The quake triggered avalanches that blanketed base camp. The falling snow also created gusts of wind that blasted through the camp—that's what killed Taplin. Tourism officials estimated that 1,000 people were at base camp or making the trek up the peak when the quake struck. 18 people were killed in the avalanches, including a Google executive. That makes this the deadliest day in Everest history.

Taplin and Frey had been together 24 years. The pair traveled to Antarctica and Patagonia together. She told ABC 7, "We were great companions and we had a lot more things to do in our lives."

Taplin loved traveling to extreme landscapes around the world and mountaineering. Taplin wrote a book about climbing Aconcagua in the early 1990s. On his first try, he fell into a crevasse, broke his arm but was able to pull himself up to where he could reach help. He returned the next year to successfully complete his climb. His IMDb page lists him as an actor and producer, including as the executive producer of the excellent The Beaches of Agnès.

Support for LAist comes from

Freyer isn't sure when Taplin's body will be flown back, but she has a memorial service planned for friends to celebrate his life. She told NBC News, "It sounds trite, but he died doing what he loved doing."

Nepalese officials raised the death toll and said that more than 3,800 were killed in the quake. Fifty-seven firefighters from Southern California are expected to arrive in Kathmandu today to help with rescue and recovery efforts.

Here's a terrifying video from base camp that shows the avalanche:

Most Read