At noon on April 25 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded at Mount Everest Basecamp. The violent shaking of the ground created large avalanches off the nearby slopes of Pumori Peak, which killed 19 people and injured nearly 100 at the Everest Basecamp. Off the mountain, Nepal would suffer more than 10,000 lost lives and vast damage.
Vail Valley resident Jon Kedrowski, Ph. D., was at the Everest Basecamp when the quake and subsequent avalanches occurred. Uninjured, Kedrowski helped in the mountainside recovery efforts and witnessed firsthand the destruction caused to the trekking area of Lukla and the Kathmandu metropolis.
“Right after the earthquake and the avalanche, it suddenly wasn’t about climbing anymore,” Kedrowski said. “If there were Sherpas out working on expeditions, it became about what happened to their families. It was so much bigger than just basecamp.”
On June 18 at the Donovan Pavilion, Kedrowski will offer his firsthand account of the earthquake in a specially organized Vail Symposium Unlimited Adventure Program. The event is free to attend and is therefore not a fundraiser. There will be information on hand about organizations that are independently collecting donations for their specific reparation missions.
“The opportunity to listen to such a decorated mountaineer recount the events in Nepal, and from within the Everest basecamp, is a very unique and important experience,” said Tracey Flower, the Symposium’s Executive Director. “For years the Vail Symposium has hosted mountaineers, and they all have thrilled audiences with their tales of climbing the world’s tallest peaks, including Everest. The region is dear to our organization, speakers and our adventure crowd.”
Kedrowski is an accomplished ski-mountaineer who became the first person to camp overnight on the summit of all of Colorado’s 14ers. In May of 2014, he climbed and skied the 20 highest volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest in 30 days, ascending and descending over 100,000 vertical feet. He was also present on Everest during the May 2012 disaster, which left seven people dead. He spoke to the Vail Symposium this winter before his trip to Everest.
“The Khumbu region of Nepal is one of the most sought after destinations in the world, but there are so many other districts in Nepal,” Kedrowski said. “The Himalayas spread for 300 miles and tucked away in those mountain valleys were areas with severe destruction.”
Kedrowski mentioned the tiny village of Langtang, and how nearly 300 of the town’s 500 inhabitants perished under a slide of rock and ice.
“That whole town was flattened,” Kedrowski said. “Everything was destroyed. It is an area that gets very few visitors, and there are other towns just like it. Describing the events on that day goes so much deeper than Everest. In Vail, we are mountain people. Over there, across the country, they are mountain people. We have to feel a connection to that.”
Click here or call 970.476.0954 for more information and to register for the program.
If you go…
Who: Jon Kedrowski, Ph. D
What: Firsthand account of the recent Nepal earthquake
When: June 18, 2015
Where: Donovan Pavilion
Time: 6:30 p.m. reception l 7:00 p.m. presentation