Some things weigh heavier on the mind than others.

Kathmandu, Nepal is 7,667 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado. As Americans we hear about natural disasters and tragedies that occur on the other side of the globe, and the initial shock of such events hits hard but generally are forgotten in a day or two. In the case of the massive earthquake that hit Nepal on Sunday, April 26th, I couldn’t help but worry.

My initial thoughts went right to RAC member Jim Davidson and his quest to climb and conquer Mount Everest. Despite the fact that Everest is nearly 100 miles northeast of the Nepal capital, the devastation on the mountain was real … as witnessed from a German climber’s video — who was stationed 2,000 feet below Jim at the South Everest Base Camp, where at least 17 people were killed and 60 injured. This video that has since gone viral: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/helicopter-needed-for-american-everest-climbing-teams-trapped-by-earthquake/

Evacuations of Camp 1
One of the first choppers for the evacuation on C1 (19,900 ft) 4/27/15 Photo by: Jim Davidson

“Is Jim safe? Was he at this base camp?” The questions that raced through my mind were quickly put at ease thanks to today’s technology and Jim communicating through social media even at 19,800 feet (his location at Camp 1 – C1 – at the time of the quake). From what we gathered through Jim’s Facebook page, he and another Colorado climber Alan Arnette, left Base Camp just 24 hours prior to the avalanche.  After hours stuck in their location, evacuations began to bring climbers back to Base Camp.

He tweeted early Monday, April 27th, “Weather good on Everest. Evacuation of C1 & C2 going well. I am safe in basecamp now …the injuries, fatalities & tragedy are heartbreaking.” The tweets and facebook posts continued through the week including one on Tuesday, April 28th, “My day in Everest base camp feels like a month. Dig medical gear out of rubble. Move a body. Confirm death of climber I knew, confirm life of another.” Jim was mourning the loss of his team’s doctor Marisa Eve Girawong of New Jersey.

Phortse village in Nepal
Phortse village in Nepal

After descending from Base Camp, Jim and other rescued climbers were able to help villagers in the Phortse village in Nepal to prepare to rebuild homes that were destroyed in the earthquake. Jim said, “Their courage inspired me and their warm spirit gives me hope. Strength and resilience are multiplied when you help someone who is facing bigger challenges than you.”

We are keeping Jim in our thoughts as he nears the end of his journey and heads back home to Colorado. We are anxious to hear from him directly when we host his “Journey to Everest Presentation” scheduled for Friday, June 12th at 5:30pm inside our Enlighten Studio. More details will be posted on this seminar as the date gets closer.

By: Jon Yunt & Bridget Holt

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