Santa Rosa man descended from Mount Everest before quake hit

Byby Sergio Quintana KGO logo
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Santa Rosa man descended from Everest before quake hit
A Santa Rosa man was on an expedition up Mount Everest when a head cold forced him to descend early. That cold may have saved his life.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- In a race against time following the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal, there have been glimmers of strength and survival. Rescue crews pulled people out alive from underneath piles of rubble, two days after the 7.8 quake struck.

In the meantime, rescue crews are busy scaling the top of the world's highest mountain to help people trapped by quake-triggered avalanches. At least four Americans died on Mount Everest. They include 33-year-old Google executive Daniel Fredinburg from San Francisco, 61-year-old documentary filmmaker Tom Taplin from Santa Monica, 28-year-old Marisa Girawong, and Vinh B. Truong. Girawong was a doctor from New Jersey and had been living and working in the Everest area for more than a year.

READ MORE: How you can help Nepal quake victims

There were several other hikers from the Bay Area on expeditions up Mount Everest. ABC7 News spoke with one man by phone on Monday who had to come down the mountain early because he caught a head cold. That cold may have saved his life.

Santa Rosa resident Scott Holder had been heading up Mount Everest, but couldn't stay at base camp because he caught a head cold. So he was at a village at the foot of the mountain when the earthquake struck.

"Both ends of town had some pretty significant damage," he said. "A lot of personal residences collapsed."

PHOTOS: Inside the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake

He's in Katmandu now, but won't be able to catch a plane back to the Bay Area for another couple days. So he plans on volunteering for the American Red Cross. Talking with a friend on the way to Katmandu, he realized how much damage the country has suffered

"You know, it's gonna take weeks for this to stabilize," he said. "And I looked at him and he said, 'you know what, it's gonna take years for this to stabilize.'"

VIDEO: Bay Area's Nepal Youth Foundation prepares to help quake victims

The U.S. State Department is reporting four Americans are among the thousands of people who were killed in this earthquake.

Google executive Dan Fredinburg didn't survive the deadly avalanche that crushed base camps. Several friends appeared on CNN, celebrating his adventurous spirit.

"Dan is about celebration," said his friend Alex Abelin. "Dan would want us to celebrate, he would want us to dance and party and smile and celebrate him, so the family is trying to keep some of that with them."

VIDEO: Americans killed in Nepal quake include 2 Californians

And as some mourn the loss of those killed, others in the Bay Area are trying to help family who live in the disaster area.

Mountain View resident Nima Sherpa says he's especially concerned for the remote rural areas because it's so difficult to get there.

"There is (sic) a lot of people in the remote areas," he said. "People there did not get help, because most of the part is really remote out there."

He wants to get back to Nepal and help, but he says he's sending money to family instead. He hopes others will also help by donating to disaster relief efforts.

Click here to find out how you can help the victims in Nepal, and click here for full coverage on the devastating quake.