Colorado climber reaches summit of Mount Everest
Dr. John Kedrowski
NEPAL — Mountain geographer and Avon, Colorado native Dr. Jon Kedrowski successfully reached the summit of the world’s tallest peak early Saturday morning, Mountain Time.
Kedrowski reported summit winds “nearly dead-calm.”
Kedrowski had kept in touch with climbing partner and best friend KDVR/KWGN-TV meteorologist Chris Tomer through the entire expedition.
Tomer was brought on-board to provide detailed weather forecasts for the expedition, and Tomer gave the team the “green light” to go for the summit early on May 26th.
Team guide Arnold Coster sent Jangbu Sherpa along with Kedrowski to the summit from Camp 4 just seven and a half hours earlier – a true speed ascent. The big crowds of a week ago were nowhere to be found. Kedrowski cruised to the top of the world reflecting on the “Death Storm” one week ago.
Kedrowski’s first attempt to summit was anything but routine. Late on May 19th into May 20th, Kedrowski was climbing to the summit in 60 mph wind gusts.
“I could barely stand up….spin-drift was hitting me in the face and it hurt….very odd weather for all these folks to be attempting a summit-bid,” he said.
Kedrowski noted over 150 climbers ahead of him from the Balcony to the 29,029-foot summit. As Jon approached the Balcony at 28,000 ft. here’s a direct excerpt from his personal diary:
“To try to understand what was happening the evening of the 19th and the early morning of the 20th during my summit attempt, you have to first rewind to the early morning hours of May 19th, which was the first significant number of summits of Everest of this 2012 season. Close to 200 people were trying for the summit that day, and the crowds led to potential bottle necks and people exposing themselves up higher en route to the summit and also back down again. The 4 near-death and dying people I came across in the chute of mixed rock and snow below the Balcony between 11pm on the 19th and 2am on the 20th, and again between 330am and 5am on my descent were likely all climbers that collapsed while descending from higher up on the mountain after being up on Everest all day on the 19th. I did everything I could for them.”
This was not the first big mountain rescue for Kedrowski. A few years prior, Kedrowski participated in the rescue and recovery of Colorado Doctor Gerald Myers on Mount Denali in Alaska. Earlier this season on Everest, an entire team and their guides were off-route during a snowstorm headed into danger. Kedrowski intervened and brought the team back on route, through the Khumbu Icefall, and into base camp. Kedrowski’s research over the years has focused on Risk Perception while climbing mountains.