A “Seven Summits Club” mountain climber, who just completed his goal of scaling the tallest mountain on each continent, died while descending the summit of Mount Everest, base camp officials and his relatives said.
Donald Lynn Cash, 55, of Sandy, Utah, died Wednesday on the world’s tallest mountain after collapsing on his descent just below the Hillary Step, a nearly vertical, 39-foot rock face on the southeast side of Mount Everest, base camp officials told The Himalayan Times.
Guides tried to save Cash’s life by giving him oxygen during his descent, but those efforts were unsuccessful. Cash became the 12th climber this season to perish on mountains in the range above 26,000 feet, according to the newspaper.
Cash’s family told KSL-TV they believe he had a heart attack after completing his goal, which he had spent decades to achieve.
“The last message he sent to me, he said, ‘I feel so blessed to be on the mountain that I read about for the last 40 years,’” Cash’s son, Tanner, told the station.
Cash died as guides tried to descend the mountain with him after he fell at the summit earlier Wednesday, but they were hampered by a congested route back down to camp. His body will now remain on the 29,029-foot peak, a fitting final resting place for the father of four and grandfather, his relatives said.
“He taught us that nothing was impossible,” daughter Brandalin Cash told KSL. “You can do literally anything. If you can dream it, you can do it.”
One of the last messages Cash sent was to his wife, thanking her for supporting his dreams, Brandalin Cash said.
“He wanted to do this,” she added. “He wanted to be on that mountain. He wanted to show that he could accomplish dreams and that others can, too.”
Cash had written on his LinkedIn page that 2019 was the year he planned to take five months off from working as a “kick ass” sales executive to join the “Seven Summits Club” after reaching the top of Antarctica’s 16,050-foot Mount Vinson. He billed the position during his sabbatical as chief executive mountaineer.
“I’m excited to look for the next chapter of my career in June when I return,” Cash wrote. “Safely. With all my digits.”
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