Randy Wyrick

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January 10, 2012
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Eagle County native climbs high

Jon Kedrowski climbed and camped atop 58 Colorado fourteeners this summer, and he's tackling Mount Everest this spring.

Some people ask silly questions like, "Why?"

Kedrowski is a "why not?!?" kind of guy.

He has peaked four of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on earth's seven continents. Kedrowski grew up here.

"You start getting this experience and Colorado is one of the best places in the world to train. It's time to try the Big E," Kedrowski said, referring to Everest, of course.

He's giving a presentation about his mountaineering adventures and misadventures Wednesday night at Eagle Valley High School. It's also a fundraiser to increase the size of an annual scholarship he and Bob Pietrack give to EVHS student/athletes - and to help come up with cash for his share of the Everest permit.

"Mountains are metaphors and everyone has their own mountains to climb," Kedrowski said.

Local guy goes high

You remember Jon. He's a valley native and played basketball with Eagle Valley High School. He runs the annual No Off Days basketball camp with Pietrack, another Eagle Valley graduate and former Devils teammate.

He used to climb 14ers as a way to train for basketball, both at Eagle Valley High School and later at Valparaiso University.

In 2005 he climbed all of Colorado's 14ers in 42 days. As he was standing up there admiring it all, he wondered what it would be like to camp up there. There was only one way to find out.

But it wasn't all scenery and serenity.

Sierra Designs provided him with gear, even after one of their tents was struck by lightning. The poles got fried and everything else was vaporized.

A bear attacked his truck; it dove right in through the passenger's side window of his Chevy Tahoe.

Solving alpine problems

Kedrowski earned his Ph.D. in geography and he's a college professor at Central Washington University when he's not on a mountain somewhere.

He takes off for Nepal around the end of April and should summit Everest mid to late May, depending on the weather.

While at Everest, he'll be part of an international collaboration of researchers contributing to improving water quality and managing the permit system on Everest and in the Khumbu for climbers and trekkers to the region.

"Environmental problems are cropping up as the result of more than 100,000 people trekking and climbing in that valley each year," Kedrowski said.

Dan Mazur will help with the research. He's been guiding and climbing in the Everest region for 23 years as part of the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development.

That many people in a confined space create a mess. There's trash, of course, and spent oxygen bottles and fuel canisters. Then there's the human waste.

"We hope to assess the feasibility of taking all this human waste and making some sort of biofuel out of it," Kedrowski said.

Dawa Stephen Sherpa runs Asian Trekking and Eco Everest Expeditions that promotes climbing in an eco-friendly way. When they find trash, they pack it out.

That's how Kedrowski will be climbing.

He presented his ideas in Nepal in 2008 and they liked it. It took until this spring to get back there and begin putting them into practice.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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The VailDaily Updated Jan 11, 2012 05:11PM Published Jan 10, 2012 04:25PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.