EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - If you can't keep a good man down, and you can't, it should surprise no one that Dr. Jon Kedrowski finally summited Mount Everest.
Kedrowski reached the summit with Jangbu Sherpa last Friday, 3:30 a.m. Nepal time, 3:45 p.m. Colorado time.
It was Kedrowski's second summit attempt in a week. He was in the middle of what may turn out to be the worst one-day tragedy in Everest history last week, when 100 mph winds and heavy climbing traffic left several people dead and many others injured. More than 100 climbers were trapped near Everest's 29,029-foot summit.
Kedrowski, born and raised in the valley and an Eagle Valley High School grad, helped save several climbers who otherwise would have died. At least a half dozen died anyway.
"Folks were falling over, completely exhausted, frost-bitten and disoriented," he said.
He had barely turned away from that first summit attempt when he decided to try it again, if the weather permitted. On Friday it did.
"Many people might think it is a death wish. Well, this is where I get to show that I am still strong enough to climb to the top and also that I get to climb the mountain my way: fast and light," Kedrowski said prior to his second summit attempt.
Friday's summit followed a speed ascent. He and Jangbu skipped the two middle camps and powered toward the summit.
"Jangbu had to keep telling me to 'slow down Jon,' but I just wanted to get this done," Kedrowski said in a blog entry. "I looked back and could see a stream of headlamps heading up the ridge, but I was ahead of them and moving way too fast to worry."
The work was worth it.
"We had the summit to ourselves for 15 minutes, just Jangbu and me," he said.
The trip down was just as eventful.
Kedrowski kept a detailed account of his adventure, essentially two trips up Everest. Among other things, he was conducting air and water quality tests that have never been done at those altitudes.
But that's not the most compelling part of the story.
Kedrowski said at least part of his second summit charge was try to make sense of the tragedy.
"I wanted to go back up there and see the dead bodies and put some of the pieces back together," he said. "I want to be able to make more sense of the past events by returning to the upper reaches of Everest and going to the top."
He's back at base camp (17,100 feet) and is trying to catch a flight back to the U.S. from Kathmandu.
He called summiting Everest a "huge relief."
He talked with Chris Tomer, his climbing partner for 15 years and a meteorologist with Denver's Fox 31.
"I need a shower and a shave," he told Tomer. "And, I'm skinnier than you've ever seen me. Now all I want is a shower and a shave ... and a real bed might be nice, too."
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.