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Central Washington professor helps climbers during deadly weekend on Mount Everest

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on May 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm with No Comments »
May 21, 2012 1:27 pm

The Associated Press is reporting that at least three people died attempting to summit Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, over the weekend. A Central Washington University professor was reportedly near the summit and supplied help to some climbers.

From the Associated Press:

Three climbers died and two others were missing while descending from the summit of Mount Everest – a toll that raised concerns about overcrowding in the “death zone” at the top of the world’s tallest peak.

The deadly weekend unfolded as an estimated 150 climbers tried to reach the top Friday and Saturday as they rushed to use a brief window of good weather in an otherwise troubled climbing season. Many had been waiting at a staging camp for several days for their chance to head to the summit.

The three climbers who died Saturday were believed to have suffered exhaustion and altitude sickness, Nepali mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha said. Officials on Monday were still gathering details from descending climbers, he said.

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CWU geology professor Jon Kedrowski was on the mountain and helped assist some of the climbers according to his blog.

From his blog at

“Jon said there was a 2 hour wait at one of the main chokepoints near the summit.  High winds moved in an trapped folks who were ascending and descending.  Some folks had already been climbing for 18-hours or more.  The climbers Jon assisted were disoriented, frostbitten, sick, and totally exhausted.

Jon is now back at Basecamp recovering.  He said, “Dont’ count me out just yet for a return up the mountain to catch the weather window May 25-26.”

Here’s a statement released today by CWU:

Jon Kedrowski, a Central Washington University geography professor, attempted to ascend the summit of Mount Everest, in Nepal, on Sunday, May 20.He and his team have been blogging from a base camp on the mountain.
“Jon said there was a 2 hour wait at one of the main chokepoints near the summit. Highwinds moved in an trapped folks who were ascending and descending. Some folks hadalready been climbing for 18-hours or more. The climbers Jon assisted were disoriented,frostbitten, sick, and totally exhausted.” —

Kedrowski, a passionate mountaineer, explains on his website,, thathis purpose in climbing Mount Everest is threefold: “To climb to the top of the highestmountain on the planet in an eco-friendly manner, to examine perceptions of climbers toenvironmental issues in order to improve the climbing experience of Mount Everest, and togive back to the people of Nepal through financial and humanitarian initiatives.” His real-time blog about the climb can be found at

Kedrowski is climbing with friends Dan Mazur and Arnold Coster, who each have morethan 20 years of Himalayan expedition experience.

An extraordinary athlete, Kedrowski has climbed many of the world’s highest mountains.He has ascended three of the worlds seven continental summits: Mount Elbrus, Russia in2005; Denali, Alaska in 2009; and Aconcagua, Argentina in 2010. He reached the summit ofMount Rainier 14 times from 2008 to 2011, including two summits in one day.

In 2011, Kedrowski became the first person to camp and spend the night on the top ofColorado’s “55 Official 14ers” peaks at more than 14,000 feet. He achieved the feat fromJune 23 to September 28, a stretch of only 95 days from start to finish. His book about theadventure, Sleeping on the Summits: Colorado Fourteener High Bivys, is due to be releasednext month.
Kedrowski has just completed a large-scale consulting project with National Geographicfor a movie titled The Wildest Dream, involving Mount Everest. He is developing a secondproject in the Everest-Khumbu region to test glacier water for human waste and other impurities on the south side of Mount Everest.

Kedrowski received a doctorate in environmental geography at Texas State Universityin 2010. His dissertation, “Climber Experience and Environmental Interaction on MountRainier, WA,” was a culmination of two summers spent working with the US Park Service,researching the climber perceptions and permit system management at Mount RainierNational Park.

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