DENVER (CBS4) – Jim Davidson came back from Mount Everest with an anything-but-ordinary story. The Colorado man was on Mount Everest’s Camp One during an avalanche following the Nepal earthquake in late April.
After being rescued and flown to base camp by a helicopter, Davidson connected with friend and fellow climber Jon Kedrowski.
Kedrowski, who was making his second trip to Mount Everest during the avalanche, says he wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
“Mountains are my passion and I think it’s just a place I really have a connection to actually, Nepal as a whole,” Kedrowski told CBS News.
Davidson says he’s waiting to see how the mountain and community stabilize and recover following the avalanche.
The climbers say the avalanche began as they felt an incredible shaking of the glacier, followed by a giant wall of white come down from the side. Davidson told CBS News conditions were cloudy without site of how big the avalanches were and doubted his survival at the time.
“Even in that few seconds that you have, you try to optimize your chances of survival … even if you don’t survive hopefully they’ll be able to find you. So you still try to optimize your survival even in those last few seconds where the uncertainty is pretty high,” Davidson told CBS News.
As terrifying as the conditions sound, Davidson says it was mostly a feeling of extreme anxiety as he tried to cling on to his life in every way possible. Foggy conditions added to the intensity as little could be seen.
“Normally on a clear day you could see where it was coming from. Instead this giant roar comes from all around us whether we were in base camp or it was up in Camp One. You had no idea where it was coming from until it was almost on you,” Kedrowski said.
Kedrowski compared the avalanche to a compressed air blast which obliterated tents with debris and rocks being tossed everywhere. The whole route from Camp One had disappeared under collapsed ice. A helicopter arrived after 42 hours to rescue about 140 climbers from the upper mountain to base camp.
“I wanted to go there to learn the most I could about myself and my fellow climbers and the human capacity. You know it’s a physical challenge but it’s a spiritual and mental challenge as well. I learned probably more about humanity and the people around me by being inspired by how resilient the people were,” Davidson said.