Monday, April 27, 2015

Jon is heading home

Additional helicopters arrived at Everest Base Camp today.  Several members of the team including Jon, Moises and Nathan loaded the last of the injured victims and then later, the casualties, to be carried off the mountain.

After that, the three guys got on the last helicopter of the day and headed down from base camp to Lukla and then on to Kathmandu.

Surprisingly, I was able to book Jon on a flight at the Kathmandu airport to leave 24 hours from now.

Erin Burnett did an interview with Jon on CNN:

-- Susan Reiter

Monday update

A few news programs have asked for an update on the situation at Everest Base Camp.  This morning (Monday), Jon might be on Good Morning America and the Today show.  Tonight (Monday night), he might be on CNN on Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper.
Jon Reiter, left and Moises Nava,right 

Our local paper, the Press Democrat, received this message from Jon:

"A little hectic getting injured out today. We have helis today so we're moving everyone we can down below the icefall. Two more Avalanches last nite. 
No more casualties over night."

When Jon called me tonight, we had a bad connection and couldn't hear each other very well.  He had a great connection when he called his good friend Jerry.  Here's what he found out:

"I just received a call from Jon, as communications were briefly available. Although sleep has been minimal he is FINE as those uninjured continue to aid those in need. Their goal is to get all injured off the mountain via helicopters. It is now 9:00 a.m. in Nepal and he's optimistic that they'll reach their goal, however there's a possible storm coming, so nothing is for sure.
   At this point, Jon has no idea when he'll get off the mountain, let alone down to Katmandu and eventually home. We all know he has a strong 'constitution', but I'm sure he would appreciate a few prayers for his safe return."

Sunday, April 26, 2015

CNN International interview

Click on the link that has a helicopter in the video and it's 3:31 seconds.... It's Jon on CNN International .....he says, "We're feeling pretty lucky today"....

Here are a few photos that Jon sent from Everest base camp.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Update from Everest Base Camp

It is the next morning in Nepal now.  Jon said there are 18 people dead at Everest Base Camp.  Helicopters are arrived to get the injured people out.

Jon was just interviewed on CNN International.  It's the video titled, "We're feeling pretty lucky today."

I talked to a reporter, and here's a link to the article:

Please continue to send your positive thoughts to Nepal.

Thank you,

Earthquake and Avalanches at Everest Base Camp


Jon just called from his satellite phone to let us know that he and everyone on his team are OK.  There was a major earthquake in Nepal:

He said that the ground shook for a very long time and that avalanches were happening one right after another on the mountain.  We just talked for a minute and he got off the phone because he and his climbing partner Moises are helping with the rescue effort.  Jon and Moises don't have medical training but they are acting as medics because so many people are injured.  He said that most of base camp was damaged.  All the IMG (International Mountain Guides) group tents are being used as temporary medical facilities for the injured.

Please send your positive thoughts to everyone in Nepal.

Thank you,

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A day of reflection

Lots of snow this year. It looks cold but the snow actually insulates the tents nicely. 
You just don't feel like digging out until the sun hits the camp.

April 18, 2015 
(One year after 16 lives were taken by an avalanche on Everest)

A year ago today was a pretty heavy day in all of our lives. Today most of us sit quietly contemplating, paying our respects, counting our blessings and being thankful that we're still here living our dreams. It wasn't our time last year and hopefully it won't be this year either.

We're off to a late start this season. The snows have been heavy and the route through the icefall is new and challenging. Our first team of strong Sherpa haven't been able to get through the thigh deep snows and long ladders in the icefall yet but they hope get up to C1 (camp 1) within the next few days.

Susan has been on me about updating this blog, but things are a little different this year. I'm finding myself deep in thought and lacking for words to express what I'm thinking and feeling. I've actually written several entries over the last few weeks but deleted each because they didn't seem describe the experience. They were lacking. And I know my crew back home won't put up with lacking, meaning gibberish ;)

I feel a little detached this year. My head is completely in Nepal. I'm not as worried this time about making the summit (although it's high on my list :) but more focused on soaking in the scene, the experience, the people, and just the life and time that we're having by being here. Just crawling out of my tent, standing up on a pile of snow and looking around. Its hard to take it all in. Everest base camp, the icefall, the mountain itself, snow, silence, staggering beauty on an enormous scale! Just standing here looking around you quickly realize how charmed your life is if you're here at all.
I feel quieter this year. Happy, grateful, fulfilled, but a bit quieter.

A little about the team: The group of guys we have this year really makes up a spectacular team. Everyone seems to be on the same page. Everyone is strong (except me, I've got a little cold thing going on), everyone is upbeat and feeling positive. We all miss our families and friends but we seem to be equally focused on the task at hand. Each guy seems to be supportive of the others, real team players. It's an unusually lucky draw of guys and a good sign. Our Sherpa are positive as always. They're such strong people, both physically and mentally. We really couldn't do this without them.

I don't know what this year will bring but I do know that I'm with a great group of guys, we're having one of the best expeditions of our lives and things are looking great overall. It's all in the attitude, right? Well this team seems to have that part down! We're three weeks in, the honeymoon is over and everyone is still happy, positive and eager to move uphill. It's good, we're happy and were on our way!

I'll try to write more often. I really do miss all of you and it means so much that you all want to share in my life and this experience.
I may be quiet now but once the action starts up high I'm sure it'll be a wild and wooly ride with lots of pictures and stories to follow. Keep the positive thoughts and prayers headed our way and we'll keep putting them to good use.

We're sending gratitude to each of you for sharing this experience with us! Your participation in my life is what really gives it meaning!


Nathan and I on the ridge approaching Everest Base Camp

Letting off steam after making camp.
Mosey (in the upper left), of course, takes the opportunity to pile on the pain once his buddy goes down.

Sharing the local interstate with the yak train trying to get to Everest Base Camp

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jon made it to Everest Base Camp

Jon has not had wifi in about 5 days so he hasn't been able to send photos.  He calls Agustin and me every evening from his satellite phone to let us know that everything is OK.

His group arrived at Everest Base Camp yesterday.  The wifi was working there for a few hours when they first arrived but now it's down again.  Moises was able to get these photos out that show scenes on the way to Base Camp.

-- Susan

Mingma, Jon Reiter and IMG guide Max with an amazing background
Jon is on the left with his hands in the air

Part of the group arriving at Lobuche basecamp on the way to Everest Base Camp
Yaks carrying supplies to Everest Base Camp
Daniele (Moises' girlfriend) and Jon Reiter

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Update from the trek to base camp

Jon is at 12,687 feet by the Tengboche monastery.  The trek is going very well.  Today, the weather turned cold and a little snowy and the group is heading to Pheriche (14,340 feet).

-- Susan Reiter

Video from Jon of the view from his room in Tengboche
(This video plays on a laptop/computer but doesn't play on my iPhone)

Jon Reiter and Moises Nava
At the Hotel Everest View on April 4, 2015
First View of Everest and Lhotse

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Life's great and unpredictable journey continues

Jon and Susan Reiter in Dubai in front of Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building)

Many of you have asked me "why" I'm headed back to Everest. As each of you ask this question with such wonder, I think to myself that I can't quite find the words to tell you why, or what really pulls me back to the mountains. But as I sit here in Dubai (headed for Nepal) alone with my thoughts at 4:30 AM, it seems that it'd be nice to at least try to describe what I'm thinking and feeling about going back.

After the tragedy that claimed 16 lives on the mountain last year, a fellow climber wrote the following on my blog - "For those who seek adventure, meaning, solace or solitude in the mountains, there can be no other way but to embrace all possible outcomes. Few who choose this way of life would exchange it for another. Lucky we are to be surrounded by those who share our passion, but doomed we are to share such tragedies."

Although I feel that this is so well said, there may be some of you who don't understand or can't relate to what it means to me and other climbers. I love my family first and foremost, without a doubt, and I also love the mountains. The adventure and the idea of setting goals in life and trying to reach them is something that's ingrained in my core; it's simply part of who I am. I'd like to finish the goal that I've started, the goal to climb the highest mountain on each continent - and I'm so close (I think :)

When we were in the midst of last year's events it was hard to see the big picture. It was hard to remember that people die in the mountains but that it's more rare than not. It was hard for me to remember that I'm not choosing between my life at home and dying in the mountains. I like to think it's similar to surviving a plane crash or a major pile up on the freeway. We might be hesitant to get back on a plane, or back on the highway, but the chances are...

When my brother was killed and I was sitting at his funeral thinking about what I'd regret not doing in this life, I must have known that a major goal like this would come with some obstacles and setbacks. Actually, I believe that almost anything worth doing in life is gonna have obstacles. If it's something that's worth our limited time it's going to have a high price.

I guess it comes down to this: I set out to climb the seven summits and I have six of them done. Last year on Everest slapped me down pretty hard and I didn't think I'd get back up, but I did. I think Everest is right in front of me and I can finish this worthy goal if it's still important enough to me. I want to spend a long and happy life with my wife and my boys but I also want my boys to know that life is going to throw us all some curve-balls that we need to deal with.. without giving up if the price isn't too high.

I guess I've realized that the chances are good that I can have both: a wonderful life with my crew at home and the seven summits. This life really is full of wonder and mystery and we really don't know what's around the next corner. But what I do know is that I want to keep going. I want to keep looking and exploring and living great adventures! If there's more setbacks along the way I'll do my best to deal with them as they come. If there's a price to pay, I'll do my best to remember that it's part of the life I've chosen. What I don't want to do is to find myself on my death bed saying to myself that I wish I had... 

It really isn't a dress rehearsal my friends! I hope that each of you go find your Everest, find whatever it is that's important to you and do what you can to make it part of your life! Do whatever it is that you'd regret not doing if your time was up. 

Thank you all for being part of my life; part of my journey!


You can track his current location with the following link:

If you'd like to get more information about the expedition, here's the link to IMG's blog:
Jon is in the third team.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A final thought or two as we prepare to come home

At Lukla airport after flying down from Everest Base Camp.
Left: Jon Reiter of Kenwood, California
 Right: Marcus Bridle of Melbourne, Australia
Marcus and I are headed home. This trip may not have seen us on top of Everest but it has provided more life experience than I had ever expected or bargained for. What a trip!

After getting back to Kathmandu and seeing all the press, I can't help but to step back from it and think "I just wanted to come climb a mountain". But as we all now know, Marcus' and my climb has instead become a pawn in a much bigger story.

The loss of 16 Sherpa's lives, watching their bodies be brought down one by one and the near miss for Marcus and myself, has together somehow changed mountaineering's position on my list of life's priorities.
I've enjoyed a great decade of climbing the world's highest peaks and I've certainly enjoyed sharing these times with all of you back home. However, I think it's time for this chapter of my life to come to an end. It's nice that I have this option, the choice to decide to end this chapter and move on to the next life experience; to spend the next 6 years participating in my boy's life on a day to day basis before he leaves for college; for 16 men on Everest they'll never get that choice.

We've all heard about these life illuminating events and we've all surely experienced something that has set us back on our heels and made us re-evaluate what means what; this expedition has done just that for me. I feel so lucky to be headed home; to get to be there for my boy as he grows; another shot at living a full life (I may have used up all of my "get out of jail free" cards at this point :-) and a chance to appreciate all my friends and family once again..

I'd also like to say thank you to all of you who have taken the time to send thoughtful and appreciated notes offering support for the disappointment that Marcus and I must feel. We have read each and every one of them and they've meant more to us than you know. It's true that missing the summit of Everest is a great disappointment but what we have witnessed and been a part of has impacted us much more than the summit ever could.

Life is a great and unpredictable journey. We each make of it whatever we choose. I think that if we want to focus on the worst, on the negative, surely that's exactly what we'll find and what life will deliver. If we decide to do the best we can, to try to see the best in others and to remember that we only have so many days on this planet to practice this... We'll each do ok.

Thank you all for participating in this adventure with Marcus and me. With each passing year and adventure, it seems to become clearer and clearer to me how simple life really is. As someone once said, we just need to watch our words around others and our thoughts when we're alone... Life is simply a reflection of the thoughts we choose to think..

Today I choose to think about all the wonderful friends as family that share my life. I'm a lucky guy...

Enjoy your journey! JR

Below is a link to the NY Times article that so many people have responded to.  The best part is at the end.