Local Everest Climber Reacts to Fatal Avalanche

By Evan Kruegel, Local 5 News

Published 04/18 2014 09:18PM

Updated 04/18 2014 10:25PM


        Lance Fox knows the dangers of Mt. Everest well, having summited the world's tallest mountain in 2009.

        "We got back to base camp and on May 7th, 2009, an enormous avalanche came down and actually killed the first person in the 2009 climbing season," he says.

His expedition up Everest took him straight through the Khumbu Ice Fall, the site of Friday's tragedy.

        "I like to tell people think of the glaciers in Alaska breaking off in the ocean, but take that process and put it on dry land," he says. "It's a daunting area to be on, on Everest."

That expedition left him with a profound respect for Everest - and for the Sherpa guides that lead Westerners to the top.

        "You become very indoctrinated with that culture" says fox. "You live with them for 60 days. We're on the mountain for 45 days roughly.

Fox says climbing season usually begins in early May, but before that can happen, Sherpas must clear a path to the top.

        "These Sherpa were from multiple expeditions setting up the higher camps going up through that ice fall in the early morning hours, because it's at typically it's most stable point. Unfortunately, there's lots of snow and ice up high, and she came down."

Resulting in the deadliest single day - in the history of Everest. Fox says that only adds to the respect he holds for the Sherpa people.

        "We owe them a debt of gratitutde for what they do for us."

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