May 25th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Geographer reaches Mount Everest summit

[Updated at 10:07 a.m. ET] According to Chris Tomer, meteorologist and best friend of Mount Everest climber Jon Kedrowski, the climber has successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest.

At 3:30 a.m. in Nepal, Kedrowski's ascent ended well, amidst a "perfect weather window." Tomer posted an entry on the climber's Everest blog to let those following Kedrowski's journey know on the morning of May 26. Saturday marks the official end of the Everest climbing season.

Since beginning his ascent of Mount Everest in April, geographer and professor Jon Kedrowski has celebrated a birthday, used a constant stream of basketball metaphors to fuel his journey and witnessed tragedy that still gives him "demons."

He has also endured an attack from a yak that got out of line on April 13, and continues to carry a little red toy car to the summit, in honor of a young girl, Ryan Marie, who died too soon. The mini car was her favorite.

With help on the ground from his best friend, Denver meteorologist Chris Tomer, Kedrowski has been blogging his ascent.

His live blog, "No Off Days," reveals details both cheerful and chilling, from forming new friendships with fellow adventurers to trying to aid and rescue fallen climbers during Monday's tragedy on the mountain. Four people died due to a combination of bad weather and overcrowding on Everest.

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The assistant professor in Central Washington University's geography department has climbed countless mountains, and in 2011, he became the first person to camp overnight on the top of Colorado's 55 "Official 14ers," - peaks over 14,000 feet.

But Kedrowski, true to his profession, isn't climbing Everest just for fun. He regards his expedition as having a three-pronged approach.

Kedrowski wants to scale Everest in an eco-friendly manner, work with the Mount Everest Biogas project to test and study water quality from the melting ice, and give back to the Nepalese people through humanitarian initiatives, according to his website.

Because of the high amount of waste left by climbers, concerns over the water and ice quality have increased in recent years.

On April 17, Kedrowski posted on his blog that he and his climbing team had reached the Mount Everest Memorials. He was especially saddened to see Scott Fischer's memorial. The American died in 1996, Everest's worst year to date.

In the days that followed, he described seeing a trail of dried blood down the side of a crevasse, where a Sherpa didn't clip onto the line and lost his life. A constant stream of falling rocks and rough weather also halted his climbing team, and those ascending and descending the Lhotse Face.

"If anything, seeing this further focused my attention. I’ve had many wake-up calls throughout my career in the mountains, and this was no different. You never decide that you want to die up there in the mountains, but you do get to control certain things," he wrote.

At the beginning of May, Kedrowski began to describe the "deadly traffic jam" that others have blamed for the recent Everest tragedies. Slow-moving crews of climbers and even cameramen clogged both routes for those ascending and descending.

He showed an increasing frustration at not being allowed to begin his climbs earlier in the morning to avoid the snarl of traffic and bad weather.

Before May 21's tragedy, Kedrowski described seeing 300 climbers trying to summit, with high winds and brutal weather conditions that made frostbite inevitable. The bad weather only served to trap the surplus of climbers.

Tomer jumped into the blog's narrative when communications from Kedrowski became sparse. He detailed that Kedrowski was still "battling demons" from trying to rescue climbers that "were disoriented, frostbitten, sick and totally exhausted."

Tomer said the tragedy occurred because the jet stream, which Everest pierces because of its elevation, backed itself over the summit, leaving climbers caught in 80 mph winds.

This caused Kedrowski to change his tactics, moving lightly and quickly while skipping two camps in the ascent to the summit, which is rarely ever done, according to Tomer.

Tomer expected a "24-hour weather window" that should allow Kedrowski to summit safely Friday night or Saturday. The winds are forecast to return Sunday.

Kedrowski responded to Tomer's warnings that he expected 100 climbers to attempt to summit at the same time. Many of the others have left after Monday's tragedy and "the sound of helicopter rotor-chop is constant," he said.

Kedrowski remains determined and optimistic about reaching the summit. Because of his background as a basketball coach for kids, the metaphors of progressing from the "sweet 16" to the "elite 8" part of his journey are present in nearly every post.

"I’ve been climbing mountains since I was a kid, and I’ve become only as good as the mountains have let me become," he wrote. "Its [sic] time for the mountain to decide, but I’m gonna give it my all. Every mountain I’ve ever climbed, [...] I’ve always played “Everest” in my head, I’ve always rehearsed what I’d do on each day.  Then comes Summit Day. It’s gonna be the greatest game I’ve been able to play."

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Filed under: Mount Everest • Nepal
soundoff (67 Responses)

    Mans got a dream and I wish he and his group well.

    May 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justin

    Is it the runaway yak that is continuing to carry a little red toy car to the summit, or Mr Kedrowski? 😉

    May 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakity Yak

      Justin, you nailed it. It reads as if the yak is carrying the toy car. Nice!

      May 26, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. ajk68

    Climbing Everest is a waste of human life.
    It's just vanity.

    (Let's see how long it takes some idiot to post in reply: "you are a waste of human life.")

    May 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gil Nodges

      You are a waste of human life..........happy now?

      May 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      but its not for you to decide – well you can if you wish but it seems rather meaningless – people will always climb regardless of what you think.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • flip


      May 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • cs

      ajk68 – "Vanity" is wearing "bling". Feeling the wind in your face and standing on top of the world looking at the clouds below....knowing that you are not at home sitting on a exiliaration and achievment. It also makes you appreciate that couch when you get back.

      You don't strive for something and feel good afterward? Is that always "vanity" in your mind? If so, we might as well cash it all in. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steven Spielburg didn't do what they did for vanity. Same goes for most of the people who climbed Everest.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      No, I just feel pity. The more people in the West lose their nerve to do things like this, the further behind Asia, etc., they fall. So "progressive" parents, next time you slather little Jimmy with hand-sanitizer and admonish him for crossing the road on his own, remember that NOTHING comes without risk and without risk there is NOTHING.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LadyB

    @ajk68, no, you are not 'a waste of human life', but a lifetime of human waste is destroying Everest. None of these articles about Everest ever describe or explain the acres of human excrement that cover the slopes of the mountain. It freezes and stays there, an open frozen sewer that contaminates the local water runoff. The people who spend their money to leave their poop on Everest's slopes are the worst kind of arrogant megalomaniacs that have no respect for the environment.

    May 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dude

    Didn't a Japanese woman in her mid 70's recently climb Everest? Wow dude, you can do what an old lady does...impressive lmao. Only she didn't need an attention seeking blog to go with it

    May 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      And do you know for fact she doesn't ? so her effort trumps others just by age? what a naive little person you are.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Prasad

    I sometims wonder why so few folks try to climb K2. Would it be because it is so much more difficult? Certainly there will not be a traffic jam on K2.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • haha

      Because you have to be a mountaineer to climb K2 – you can't pay your way to the top of that one!

      May 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • flip

      My ambition: to climb a low mountain.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "5 - Words Succinct"

    Scaling Everest to get high.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dazzle ©

    To my funny troll, a much needed laugh. TY.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Coolius Unroolius

    "Conquering" the mountain is a Eurocentric concept. For Hindus and Buddhists, we approach OUR Himalaya with devotion and respect as we regard these mountains as holy. Nepal is poor and depends on mountaineering expeditions to keep the country afloat financially.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Riiiight, but you left out the many climbers from Asian countries – or maybe you just have some thing against the Euro's

      May 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon samuel

      OK. whatever. Meeting challenges and achieving success is what led Eurpeans and Americans to discover vaccines, medical breakthroughs and attain the highest standard of living in the world while Hindu's and Buddhists live in relative squalor. I'll think about your comments the next time i see a picture of dozens of Indians hanging onto the outside of a passing bus

      May 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ©bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ dazzle ©

    Did you see where took all my jokes down today. What kind of a system am I fighting when you can't even try spread some humor among all the gloomy news ?

    May 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • flip

      Did you hear the story about the three holes in the ground?

      May 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. flip

    That was no yak, it was the adominal snow dog.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beau

      adominal ?? "I'll take a dictionary for $200, Alex."

      May 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. flip

    Actually I have better things to climb on.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fiona

    Sometimes the best way to honor nature is to sit back and leave it alone. There is no reason to join that highly destructive "deathly traffic jam" of egomaniacs trying to summit. There is nothing to be learned on that peak over any others. It's twisted to want to parade past corpses. Really sick.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TexMan

    These are nothing more than a bunch of rich egocentrics looking for a thrill. .... Not newsworthy ... Who really cares if every lost one of them falls into an abyss

    May 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • surfdog

      Unhappy broke guys, sitting around eating ding dongs and twinkies on the couch watching Two & a half men, while others are conquering the world. Pathetic

      May 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Todd in DC

    Yak attack? Must be the 5th day of Yaksgiving.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
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