Boulder lawyer dies on descent from summit of Mount Everest

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- A Boulder lawyer died on the descent from the summit of Mount Everest on Monday.

Christopher Jon Kulish, 62, scaled the 29,035-foot peak from the Southeast Ridge route in the morning but died at South Col after descending from the summit, a Nepal tourism department official told Reuters.

"We are heartbroken at this news," the family said in a statement.

Kulish went up Everest with a small group in nearly ideal weather conditions after the huge crowds last week, the family said. He saw sunrise at the summit.

Kulish climbed the highest peak on each continent, with Everest being the last, the family said. He is survived by his mother Betty "Timmie" Kulish, sister Claudia and brother Mark.

"He passed away doing what he loved," the family said.

Kulish, a patent lawyer, is the 11th person and second American to die on Everest this year.

Lancene Cadora lives across the street from Kulish, and says he was a quiet and kind man.

"My yard is across the street from his, and my little trees break often, and almost always he finds his way over to clean up my yard," she says. "After last week's storm, I kept thinking where is he? He didn't show up."

She says it's comforting, but bittersweet, knowing one of his final views was from the top of the world.

"I'm glad for that, and I'm really sorry for that."

Most of the deaths have been attributed to exhaustion and tiredness because the clogged route has caused delays with so many people on the world's tallest mountain.

Kulish's family said they believe he died of cardiac arrest.

A record 381 climbers had received permits to climb the mountain from the Nepal side this year with another 130 climbing the northern side in Tibet.

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