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Kenwood climber describes deadly Mount Everest avalanche (w/video)

The Sherpas on his team were unharmed, he said. The guides "are truly amazing," Reiter wrote on his blog Friday. "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."

The Healdsburg High School graduate, who is on his second bid to climb the 29,035-foot Everest, told his wife, Susan, that he is going to reassess the ascent before deciding whether to continue.

"He said it was horrible watching the helicopters getting the dead bodies down," she said. "Physically, he's doing great. Emotionally, he's in a state of shock."

Mount Everest Avalanche

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Mount Everest in Nepal is the last challenge in Reiter's goal of climbing the highest peak on each continent — the so-called Seven Summits.

He was forced to turn back on Everest last year at about the same spot when an ice bridge collapsed and cut off his team's climbing route.

Reiter, a father of two boys who builds custom homes in the Sonoma Valley, appeared in his online post, at jononeverest.blogspot.com, to be contemplating his mountaineering goals in the wake of the disaster that also injured several climbers.

"Of course we are all asking ourselves that serious question of &‘why are we here?'" he wrote. "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."

In the interview Friday evening (Saturday morning in Nepal), Reiter resolved to continue the climb in a few days.

"We'll probably go up," he said. "It was a horrible day, but that's part of being in the mountains. We'll sit quietly for a couple of days. Then we're going to go on. But we'll play it safe."

Hundreds of climbers, guides and support crews are at Everest's base preparing to climb to the summit when weather conditions will be at their most favorable early next month. They have been setting up camps at higher altitudes, and guides have been fixing routes and ropes on the slopes above.


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