Nepal quake toll mounts as U.S. ramps up aid effort

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Sherpas at Mount Everest have refused to rebuild the route up the world's highest mountain, destroyed by the devastating earthquake just more than a week ago. The move will likely mean an early end to this year's climbing season, which should have gone until the end of the month.

The death toll from the disaster in the Himalayan nation has risen to more than 7,200, meanwhile, and CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports residents in Nepal's battered capital city are still picking through the rubble, trying to recover what they can.

Virtually all hope of finding survivors amid the destruction has been lost, but on Sunday -- a week and a day after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake -- a man who villagers say is more than 100 years old was brought into a hospital after being rescued.

In spite of that remarkable story, Nepal's Home Ministry has told CBS News there is no expectation more survivors will be found, and the country's army is now capable of finishing the recovery work itself.

American teams remain welcome, however, a U.S. Embassy official told Doane's team, because they have the capabilities to reach the hard-hit remote areas outside Kathmandu.

Four "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft arrived at Kathmandu's airport Sunday, and another helicopter was flown in to the country aboard a giant C-17 plane.

"We're going to download these airplanes, and then get them out to the far reaches," U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, who is in charge of the operation, told Doane.

He said the reconnaissance missions were to start Monday afternoon.

Kennedy told CBS News that what he and his troops bring is the ability to get out to the "austere environments very quickly, with capabilities that, I mean, we could build an airfield out of nothing... the international relief community doesn't do that."

Drone video has shown the significant challenge of getting aid into the rugged mountain terrain. There has been criticism over the speed with which aid materials have reached those outlying villages, and even residents in the capital, but Kennedy said Nepal's location in the Himalayas makes the disaster "probably our worst-case scenario."

"It's so distant, it's a land-locked country... There is a single point of entry through this (Kathmandu) international airport," he told Doane. "That makes it tough."

Even the runway at Kathmandu's airport presents a challenge, says Doane. It is in need of repair, and has been for a long time. On Sunday, officials said they'd begin enforcing a weight limit on aircraft flying into the airport -- banning the huge military and private cargo planes that had been used to get aid materials into the country in bulk.

The U.S. military C-17 was among the last large planes permitted to land in Kathmandu over the weekend.