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)
  1. surfdog

    runaway yak!!

    May 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. keb carerra

    He could die , 100 going for the summit. Maybe leaving camp no later than 2AM . Quick and light , I hope he makes it and has an easy time getting by the other 100 on the way down as they are on the way up .

    May 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Meki60

    this is a bit dumb to me, why not just have a helicopter lower you to the top and avoid the fuss.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Learn About It Before You Comment

      A helicopter can't safely reach those elevations.

      May 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      RE: Meki60 comment:

      It's a joke, "Learn it before you comment"!!

      May 26, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Techsupport

    Yes yes, everest is dangerous and scary and people die on it and those who make it are totally cool etc, but I came to hear more about this yak attack, which I'm sure sucked, but also sure it was probably pretty funny if he was able to continue the trip afterward. Instead, we get everything that's already been said about going up and down that big rock.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rick.s

    Thats why u take along a cattle prong or shotgun!!!DUHHHHHHH!!!!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    O.K. Why don't you go support somebody and get lost. 🙂

    May 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dick D'Addario

    Was it a yak attack or a Big Yak Attack?

    May 25, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    You will find, any rescue attempts, if feasable, we're most likely accomplished at about 16,000, by your precious helicopter.
    And. Before you ask. No. Like wise, you cannot fly over Mount Everest and jump out of an airplane and parachute down.
    So go find a quiet IRC chatroom to vent your anger about us, with the other ding dongs.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    So you swam, 150 miles from Muskegon to Milwauke under 4 minutes? I'm impressed woman. And yes...PIZZA IS GREAT GREAT GREAT!!!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sdcscw43

    How many stiffs did he see up there? Take a sharpie and write "loser" on the foreheads

    May 25, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mrdifficult

    If they weren't constantly littering a wonder of nature with their garbage and carcasses, I'd say these fools were doing the world a favor by climbing up and not down..

    May 26, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. fearlessdude

    So you get to the top and you are in a semi-coma. What is the point?
    The climbing permit fees should be higher to allow for the cleanup of junk and the removal of bodies.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. AC

    LOL, this report, just like any other in western media about climbing Everest (real name – Sagarmatha) lies abput one important fact – the people who really do the climbing are the Sherpas – carrying all the gear and sometimes even the white climbers themselves. This has been true since the first 'fake' white climber 'Sir Edmund Hillary'

    May 26, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Superman

    No bodies stay!!! To clean up the mountain of human waste is another thing i know 4 people that have been to 26,000 ft and have said that it is horrible, the human waste is out of control they packed it out so why cant everybody else? What JON is doing is for the people, theres no reason why anybody that can pay for a trip to climb everest shouldnt do it as long as they treat the mountain with respect by packing it out. Sir edmund hillary had concerns the commercial expeditions would desecrate this prestine wild and it happened! Its called disrespect!!! And it should be done his research on this mountain ,,, hats off to you JON keep up the work

    May 26, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • mgc6288

      Not that I disagree, but the reason a lot of that stuff is left is out of desperation or fear of death. A person will naturally toss anything if meant between life or material item.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Superman

    @@@AC,,, some of these sherpas make really good money besides there base pay they get gratuities,,,on top of that plus the funding for there hospitals schools and homes thru climbing this mountain its there living and for that fake white climber,,,hahahahahahahahe maybe gone but will not be forgotten like you will be he helped finance those people to build them better lifes

    May 26, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Sunshine100

      Aaarrrrgh! there. their. they're. Why is this so hard to learn, remember, and use? Your (ah, another one: your, you're) poor communication skills interfer with the audience comprehending your ideas and messages. On the bright side, you're most likely very sharp with math and related subjects, and that I admire.

      May 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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