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.

Overheard on Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?

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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Teen who summited Everest to tackle Antarctica
Jordan Romero, pictured on Carstensz Pyramid, will soon try to climb Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica.
November 29th, 2011
04:57 PM ET

Teen who summited Everest to tackle Antarctica

The California teenager who set a world record by climbing Mount Everest last year has another big challenge ahead.

In a few weeks, 15-year-old Jordan Romero will travel to Antarctica to begin ascending 16,000 feet up Mount Vinson Massif, the tallest mountain on the continent, his father, Paul Romero, told "This is a life mission for Jordan," said Romero, a professional mountaineer, explaining that when his son was 9, he became transfixed by a mural in his elementary school depicting the 7 Summits.

"Jordan hopped in the car one day after school years ago and announced, 'I want to climb the 7 Summits,' " the father recalled. "I said, 'OK, sure, what do you know about the 7 Summits?' And he apparently had looked up a lot of facts on the Internet and spent 20 minutes or so rattling off all this information to me. That's Jordan. That's when this 7 Summits goal began."

Before Romero made international headlines last year on Everest, the teen trained and focused continually for years, climbing all six of the 7 summits (and another in Australia for good measure). Mount Vinson is considered the final mountain in the 7 Summits juggernaut. The 7 Summits are Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa; Denali in Alaska; Mount Elbrus in the western Caucasus mountain range in Europe; Aconcagua in the Andes mountain range in the Argentinian province of Mendoza; Carstensz Pyramid in the western central highland of Papua province in Indonesia and Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

Paul Romero's girlfriend Karen Lundgren, also a professional mountaineer, will tackle Mount Vinson with father and son.

The Romeros have their critics. Some have said that Jordan is too young to handle such a physically demanding climb or that a kid his age couldn't possibly comprehend the lethal danger involved in this kind of mountaineering. The teen has rejected those criticisms, as has his father.

"I think Jordan has more than shown he's capable of doing this and that he wants to do it. We've taken a lot of criticism about what Jordan has done, but we're quite experienced and we've tried to stress that we know what we're doing," Paul Romero said. "This is something Jordan believes in. He's driven, tough, smart. He knows what's involved."

Jordan's Antarctica climb has a campaign - "Find YOUR Everest" - which he hopes will inspire kids to find their passion and to live healthier by knocking off the junk food. The teenager has also issued a challenge to school teachers to stop rewarding positive behavior with sugary treats.

The teen will tweet and post on Facebook and Flickr during the expedition, and people following the team's progress will be able to track them online through free iPhone and Droid apps, which will be available shortly on Romero's Web site.

It's impossible to know how many days it will take to ascend, Romero said.

Mount Vinson has treacherous and unpredictable winds, and it's one of the coldest places on Earth, so each moment on the mountain is a judgment call. The expedition has been carefully planned for a short window when the winds are thought to be manageable, Romero said.

The Romero family hopes to be back in the United States to enjoy New Years. After celebrating, he'll have just enough time to prepare for his next awesome challenge - getting his driver's permit.

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Mountaineer calls wife from top of Mount Everest
Briton Kenton Cool called his wife from Mount Everest.
May 12th, 2011
11:59 AM ET

Mountaineer calls wife from top of Mount Everest

As if his name weren't impressive enough. British mountaineer Kenton Cool summited Mount Everest for the ninth time on Thursday and called his wife on his cell phone - from the top, according to the BBC and other reports. The network interviewed Cool a day after he returned from his adventure.

Last year, 3G signal coverage became available on Everest.

Cool claimed to be the first to tweet from the mountain as well, but there's talk that that might not be the case, Wired magazine writes.

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Years after 'Into Thin Air' deaths, survivor returns to Everest
Neil Beidleman, who survived a tragic experience on Mount Everest in 1996, is back on the mountain.
May 10th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Years after 'Into Thin Air' deaths, survivor returns to Everest

On May 10, 1996, eight climbers on Mount Everest disappeared when a huge storm hit. Their tragic story was chronicled in Jon Krakauer's bestselling novel "Into Thin Air"

Neil Beidleman, a guide to one of the climbers who died, told the New York Times earlier this year that he planned to return to Katmandu, Nepal, and take on the world's highest peak again. The 51-year-old father of two said he hoped to retrace his steps from 1996 which would take him from Katmandu to Everest's South Side base camp.

Beidleman told the newspaper that he wants the trip to be a "closing chapter" to what happened in 1996. "The story doesn't have to be about the past," he said.

On Tuesday, Beidleman's wife Amy told that her husband's trek up Mount Everest has so far gone smoothly. Posts about his adventure can be found on the Twitter page of his co-climber Chris Davenport.

"We'd rather have him here. Mama Bear is not happy because we have two children who miss their dad," she said. "But they know they have a cool dad and this is what he wanted, so we're supporting him."

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Filed under: Environment • Mount Everest
October 26th, 2010
11:51 AM ET

Well-known Mount Everest Sherpa lost in avalanche

Sherpa Nima had summited Mount Everest 19 times, once fewer than the record.

A legendary Nepalese sherpa who scaled Mount Everest 19 times was hit last week by an avalanche, reports say, and the days-long search for his body has been called off.

On Wednesday, Chhewang Nima was leading a British expedition up Mount Baruntse in eastern Nepal. The 43-year-old was working ropes near the summit when the avalanche hit, according to reports quoting Jeevan Ghimire, a spokesperson for Nima's hiking agency, Sherpa Shangrila Trek and Expedition. The Toronto Star and other outlets reported that another guide was also struck.

The avalanche missed the party other climbers. When all the snow cleared, the group began to furiously dig in the snow but couldn't find the men, reports say. A helicopter search was also unsuccessful, according to Outside magazine.

Nima was close to tying the record for the most Everest summits. Fellow Nepalese climber Appa Sherpa has climbed the mountain 20 times.

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