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August 30, 2012
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Summit survivor: Everest climber speaks in Edwards

EDWARDS - Jon Kedrowski and Chris Toomer are professional communicators, but seven words don't exist in their world: "We've never done it that way before."

The two climbed all of Colorado's 14ers and camped up there. No one had ever done it before. Now someone has.

Westcliffe/Big Earth Publishing published their full-color coffee-table style book about the adventure, featuring photographs as big as the Colorado landscape, sunsets, sunrises, stories of rogue storms, bear attacks, meteorology, geography and a few motivational bits about teamwork, taking risks and climbing your mountains of life.

They'll be at the Bookworm of Edwards in Riverwalk this evening to talk about that, sign some books and talk about Kedrowski's adventures on Mount Everest earlier this year, when the mountain claimed the most lives in a single day- 7 - since the 1996 tragedy.

Rescue?

Kedrowski has had all sorts of notoriety because he was up there and helped rescue some climbers.

"Rescue? That's a strange word. You help who you can," Kedrowski said. "We helped as many people as we could, but we walked through some carnage."

Kedrowski essentially climbed Everest twice in a two-week period. He was forced to turn back 1,000 feet from the summit when a killer storm blew in.

That storm packed 100 mph winds, killed seven people and stranded more than 100 climbers. It would have killed more if Kedrowski and others hadn't helped them.

"I was in the wrong place at the right time. If I'd have gone up when the weather was good, I'd have summited, come down and no one would have paid attention," Kedrowski said.

If your Ph.D. is geography, as his is, you know where in the world you are. Kedrowski pointed out that at 800 feet from Everest's summit he was 100 feet higher than the world's fourth highest mountain - Mount Lhotse.

"It's the closest you can be to being on another planet. There's 30 percent of the oxygen you have at sea level," Kedrowski said.

He was careful about his oxygen intake, using one liter per minute instead of the four or five some of the other climbers were using. If he does it again, and he said might, he's considering doing it without oxygen. Toomer might make his own Everest attempt.

After being forced back once, Kedrowski and Jangbu Sherpa summited Everest at 3:30 a.m. Nepal time, 3:45 p.m. Colorado time.

This was Jangbu Sherpa's 9th Everest summit.

They were far ahead of other climbers that day.

"We had the summit to ourselves for 15 minutes, just Jangbu and me," he said.

Turning back on that first summit assault was the right choice. He'd waited through a four-hour bottleneck.

"I knew that turning around was a good decision," Kedrowski said. "People have been asking me if it was difficult turning back just 1,000 feet from the summit. It wasn't. The mountain would always be there."

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


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 30, 2012 04:59PM Published Aug 30, 2012 04:55PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.