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. raven

    Hi Superman!!!...I think of you whenever I see anything climb related now. And my friend who was killed on K2.( Youre in good company as he was a wonderful human being) How are you? Did you ever get to Utah with your daughter??

    May 26, 2012 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • lagtat1

      Yes, I think of him too! Whenever I think of the phrase "reading is fundamental ."

      May 26, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. mark

    people ought to be banned from climbing the mountain

    May 26, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. wildone

    Attacked by a yak?! AAAAACK!

    May 26, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Yakity Yak

      Don't talk back.

      May 26, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. cpc65

    Yak attack? Just wait until the Yeti shows up!

    May 26, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Will

    People climb this thing voluntarily. The sad stories of fatalities are only because PEOPLE CLIMB THIS THING VOLUNTARILY. As far as the trash, well that's what humans do – trash the earth. They accomplish this by overpopulating from irresponsibly producing too many offspring. Then they don't install respectful values in the offspring.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shecky Greene

    They should increase the fee to summit make it $50,000 or more for the pernit. The mountain should be closed to climbers every few years to allow for cleanup. I have never climbed a mountain, but ave hiked and camped all my life. The rule has always been garbage in garbage out. Too many ppl who want to summit have no respect for nature or the mountain. new band yak attack will be opening for the rolling stones on their as yet announced fall tour. You heard it here first!

    May 26, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. International Fracking Headquarters, Dallas, Texas, USA

    we will begin fracking Everest in 2013

    May 26, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Texas Bo

    Thanks for the great chuckle! You get my vote for post of the day!!

    May 26, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. mike

    Seems foolhardy to pay all that money on an endeavor the success of which seems more dependent on unpredictable weather than one's skills.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Fladabosco

      Read Krakauer's Into Thin Air and you'll change your mind. The weather is obviously a huge factor but it ain't so easy to climb up there.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Superman

    @@@raven,,,superman here no i never left instead i took off with a good friend to needles and did som rock garden of the gods,,,utah wont be for at least 2 yrs im moving there maybe so how are you? We tried yo get permits for mckinley on the 8th to the 21st while another group was there and missed out so ,,,,anyways think you for your thoughts yes everytime i go climbing i think of your friend and many of mine that have left us im driving by there good

    May 26, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. ©bobcat (in a hat)©

    A farmer just got married and was going home on his wagon pulled by a team of horses. When one of the hoses stumbled, he said, “That’s once.”

    Then it stumbled again. He said, “That’s twice.”

    Then later it stumbled a third time. This time, he didn’t say anything, just pulled out a shotgun and shot the horse dead.

    His new wife cried out and started to yell at him. The farmer turned to her and said, “That’s once.”

    May 26, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. OnTopOfOldSmokey

    I've heard they have a fast food restaurant at the top of Everest call Yak-in-the-box. Is this true?

    May 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    YAK uses CHARGE. It's super effective!

    May 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RA

    I admire those who can climb Everest because I have trouble climbing the 13 steps to my second floor.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. joe

    I can't imagine what it would be like to be attacked by a yak along with the other difficulties encountered on a trek of this magnitude. Just the thought of a yak attack is sort of funny.

    May 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
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