Kenwood climber and custom-home contractor, Jon Reiter, has survived a devastating avalanche that thundered through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 12 Sherpa guides, injuring three and leaving four more missing.
It was the deadliest accident in Mt. Everest climbing history.
The Sherpas were reportedly setting ropes through the icefall, a routine practice preceding the push to higher altitudes by Everest expeditions.
Reiter was making his second Everest attempt, in his effort to complete the Seven Summits, the highest peak on every continent. He has already climbed the other six.
Reiter and a climbing partner were in the icefall with a group of Sherpas when the avalanche hit. The following blog report Reiter sent from Everest explains how the Sherpas saved his life.
“As some of you have heard by now, there was a large avalanche in the icefall today,” writes Reiter. “It came down off the left shoulder of Everest just as we were entering the ‘football’ field, which is just below camp one. Marcus and I were each pushed down behind large blocks of ice by our Sherpas, which shielded us from the brunt. These guys are truly amazing! We are shaken, but OK. Unfortunately, there are some still up there who were not so lucky today. As I write this, I feel emotional and don’t know what to say. One thought is that we were SO lucky! But the overwhelming feelings are for the poor families of the people that didn’t make it.
I’m so near to this situation right now that I can’t think straight. Of course we are all asking ourselves that serious question of, Why are we here?’ I don’t want to try to answer that question in this state of mind but it is the big question floating over our whole camp today.
“I’ll close with these thoughts; I feel so grateful! I do know this is part of climbing these big mountains and I’m willing to accept the risk. But I do love and appreciate my family and friends more than this adventure. I have a wonderful life and I’m SO lucky today. If I didn’t have all of you in my life none of this would matter. I just wanted you all to know what happened and that I’m OK. Thank you for being part of my life.
As a buddy of mine reminded me in times like this,’Stay calm, say a prayer, move forward.’
“Peace and Love, Jon.”