SALT LAKE CITY — The climbing community is mourning the loss of a Utah man who died shortly after reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
According to the Himalayan Times, Donald Cash died while making his way down the mountain Wednesday.
The news was tough for fellow climbers to hear.
“Any time you have anything like this in a climb, it just breaks your heart,” said Dave Roskelley, who reached the summit of Mt. Everest in 2013.
Roskelley and other climbers crossed paths with Cash at a sendoff event earlier this spring.
“We were able to give him advice before he left,” Roskelley said.
Cash and his team reportedly encountered a “traffic jam” while descending and were forced to wait at the high altitude. Roskelley encountered that same scenario.
“When I was there in ’13, we sat for about 45 minutes waiting for people to come up,” Roskelley said. “It’s kind of a first come, first served. It’s really difficult up there.”
That is one of the many challenges mountaineers encounter on their journey.
“You’re overcoming cold. You’re overcoming a lot of your own fears. The lack of oxygen is really difficult on your body,” Roskelley described.
He says about two dozen Utahns have made the climb to the top.
“There is something special about setting a goal and achieving it,” Roskelley said. “Climbing Everest is a lot of suffering. If you don’t love it, it’s not for you.”
He is comforted knowing Cash died doing what he loved.
“He was a go-getter. Knowing him, he’s probably happy that’s where his body will be laid to rest,” Roskelley said.