Ryan Waters – Everest Interview by Eric Larsen

The first person I helped, was an older Sherpa, probably cook staff for an expedition. I could see into a very deep gash in the top of his head immediately.
I’ve known Ryan Waters for six years now and I can honestly say that he luckiest unlucky person I know. It seems like every year I get a call from Ryan from some remote corner of the globe about one ‘close call’ or another. An avalanche on Manaslu, being on a hijacked plane in Russia, the list goes on and on. Actually, that’s not totally true. Usually, I hear about some crazy situation on the news, then later find out that Ryan was somehow involved. His pragmatic demeanor rarely allows for hyperbole.

In one sense, these near-death encounters are just a part of Ryan’s life. As the director of Mountain Professionals, he has led sixteen 8000 meter peak expeditions, including four expeditions to Mt. Everest, reaching the summit of both the Tibet and Nepal sides of the mountain. Still, when I woke up to check the news of a terrible Earthquake in Nepal and avalanche that had struck Everest Base Camp on April 25th, I was more than a little worried. Thankfully, Ryan called me an hour later on his satellite phone to let me know that he was OK. In normal Ryan fashion, he was brief, thoughtful and to the point.

The catastrophic avalanche that led up to the call and the events that followed are hard to fathom for most of us. Several weeks later, I asked Ryan to share his experiences and thoughts.

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