May 22, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Vail Daily News "Local man among rescuers in Everest tragedy"

This is an incredible story of survival and human compassion alongside courage.

Randy Wyrick:
"EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado — The window to summit Mount Everest was death's door for at least four climbers, but a few others may live because a local man was helping with rescue efforts.

Jon Kedrowski was near the summit of the world's tallest mountain Saturday when the weather changed and 100 mph winds trapped dozens of climbers, Kedrowski said.

It's being called the worst Everest tragedy since 1996, when eight people died. That event was the subject of Jon Krakauer's book, “Into Thin Air.”

Kedrowski said there was a two-hour wait at one of the main chokepoints near the summit, as more than 150 climbers attempted to summit during Friday and Saturday's brief weather window.

High winds moved in and trapped folks who were ascending and descending. Some folks had already been climbing for 18 hours or more.

Many climbers had been waiting at a staging camp for several days for their chance.

“Jon was ascending while others were descending from 18-hour climbs to the summit,” said Chris Tomer, Kedrowski's climbing partner for 15 years and a meteorologist with Denver's Fox 31 television. “They were exhausted, sick from altitude, hallucinating, frostbitten and disoriented.”

Kedrowski spotted four climbers on the verge of death and did everything he could. One man had his hat and gloves off, and was completely frozen.

“He reach out to Jon like a zombie for help,” Tomer said.

Another person was lying face-down in the snow with his headlamp still on.

“Another climber was so sick, Jon and a Sherpa stuck that guy with a needle full of DEX (an altitude drug),” Tomer said....."  (Read more?  Click title)

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