The month of May offers that rare window of opportunity for those whose bucket list includes "climbing Mount Everest," but for some---it's a one-way trip.

When news of climbers attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest starts showing up, you can be pretty sure it's May. May is the one month of the year that weather seems to be somewhat cooperative with those trying to reach the top of the world's highest mountain.

However, even if the weather plays along with the mountaineers plans, there's still the mountain and the conditions on the mountain that can and will kill you.

The latest death to be reported from Everest is Colorado climber Christopher Kulish, a 62-year-old Boulder attorney. Kulish died Monday at a camp below the summit during his descent. The cause isn't yet known, but is suspected to be altitude sickness.

Kulish's death came after he reached the top of Mount Everest and achieved his dream of scaling the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.


About half a dozen climbers died on Everest last week, including Don Cash of Utah, who also had fulfilled his dream of climbing the highest mountains on each continent. Most of them died while descending from the summit during only a few windows of good weather each May.

Most are believed to have suffered from altitude sickness, which is caused by low amounts of oxygen at high elevation and can cause headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.

There are 41 teams with a total of 378 climbers permitted to scale Everest during the spring climbing season. An equal number of Nepalese guides are helping them get to the top.

If you want to learn about Rockford's connection to Mount Everest (and the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world), you should look to a man raised right here in Rockford, Ed Viesturs.

Edmund Viesturs (born June 22, 1959)[1] is a high-altitude mountaineer and corporate speaker. He is the only American to have climbed all 14 of the world's eight-thousander mountain peaks, and the fifth person to do so without using supplemental oxygen.[2] Along with Apa Sherpa, he has summitted peaks of over 8,000 meters on 21 occasions, including Mount Everest seven times; only four other climbers, Phurba Tashi Sherpa Mendewa, Juanito Oiarzabal, Namgyal Sherpa, and Ang Dorje Sherpa, have more high-altitude ascents.

Viesturs took part in the 1996 IMAX filming of Everest shortly after the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which became the highest grossing documentary up to that time.[3] Thirteen days after the disaster, his team summited Everest accompanied by a film crew.[4] He also had a cameo in the year 2000 Hollywood blockbuster Vertical Limit.[3] Clive Standen plays Viesturs in the 2015 remake of Everest telling of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.[5]



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