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May 22, 2012
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Local man plans second Everest summit assault

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - You just can't keep a good man down, like Dr. Jon Kedrowski.

Three days after scrambling to save others during the worst Mount Everest tragedy since 1996, Kedrowski is still determined to summit the world's tallest peak.

That means another trip through the "death zone" where as many as seven people died Saturday as he waited his turn to sprint to the summit. Kedrowski was in the middle of the tragedy, trying to save at least four other climbers.

He's back at base camp now, still battling demons but has recovered physically.

Kedrowski is part of Dan Mazur's SummitClimb Expedition, and plans to join team guide Arnold Coster and two Sherpa for a speed ascent to the summit on Friday and Saturday, the next weather window.

"The four of them are fast, fit and highly motivated," said Chris Tomer, a meteorologist with Denver's Fox 31 and Kedrowski's climbing partner for 15 years.

They plan to skip a couple of the higher camps and push directly to the summit quickly to hit the weather window.

"I could tell in Jon's voice that he's ready to do this and I'm 100 percent confident in him," Tomer said.

The jet stream suddenly backed itself over the summit, Tomer said. A two-hour wait at one of the chokepoints near the summit left climbers caught in 80 mph winds.

Kedrowski was ascending while climbers who had already summited were descending through the chokepoint after 18 hours or more on the mountain.

Cut-off times were ignored and oxygen had run out, he said.

The word around base camp is that up to seven people may have died during last weekend's horrific 48-hour weather window, Kedrowski said. Teams are still trying to locate clients and Sherpa.

Some teams are packing up and leaving, and the heli-pad is busy with climbers flying out, Kedrowski said.

Saturday's carnage is the worst Everest tragedy since 1996, when eight people died. That event was the subject of Jon Krakauer's book, "Into Thin Air."

Kedrowski said there was a two-hour wait at one of the main chokepoints near the summit. More than 150 climbers attempted to summit during Friday and Saturday's brief weather window.

Climbers are advised not to try for the summit after 11 a.m. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2:30 p.m., Nepali mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha told the Associated Press.

The Everest climbing season runs from late March through early June. The Nepalese government places no limits on how many climbers can be on the mountain at once.

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


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The VailDaily Updated May 22, 2012 11:03PM Published May 22, 2012 11:00PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.