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American Climbs Everest, Dies in Return 'Traffic Jam'

Don Cash of Utah achieved his goal of 7 summits
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2019 7:19 AM CDT
In this 2013 photo, climbers navigate the knife-edge ridge just below the Hillary Step on their way to the summit of Mount Everest.   (AP Photo/Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian Ballinger)
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(Newser) – A 55-year-old American reached the summit of Everest Wednesday, fulfilling a goal of conquering the highest summit on each continent. However, Don Cash of Sandy, Utah, died on the descent despite guides' efforts to revive him. The details:

  • Bottleneck: Cash went up the mountain with an expedition from Nepal's Pioneer Adventure and started having trouble at the summit after a 12-hour climb. He collapsed there, but guides were able to revive him with CPR, reports Gripped. Cash again lost consciousness on the way down. Then came the wait at Hillary Step.
  • Long delay: Cash and his sherpa guides made it to the famous rock feature below the summit known as the Hillary Step, where Outside Online reports they encountered a "summit traffic jam"; because of the good weather, more than 200 climbers decided to summit that day. Sherpas offered Cash their oxygen, reports the Himalayan Times, but he died during the two-hour bottleneck. The cause of death is not known.

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