Utah Man Dies on Mt. Everest After Climbing Highest Mountain of Each Continent – The New York Times

U.S.|Utah Man Dies on Mt. Everest After Climbing Highest Mountain of Each Continent


Donald Cash died on Wednesday after reaching the summit of Mount Everest, completing his goal of climbing the highest mountain on each continent.CreditCreditSarah Lai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In December, Donald Cash quit his job as a software salesman to finish his goal of climbing the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents. He died Wednesday, just after scaling Mount Everest, the last mountain on his list, his family said.

The man, Mr. Cash, 54, of Sandy, Utah, fainted after reaching the summit and could not be revived. Mr. Cash’s daughter Brandalin Cash and his son Tanner Cash said they believed he suffered a heart attack.

Situated in the Himalayas, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world at 29,029 feet.

Mr. Cash initially fainted at the summit because of high altitude sickness and was helped by Sherpa guides, according to Pioneer Adventures, a company that leads trips on Everest. While en route to a camp near Hillary Step, Mr. Cash fainted once more and his attending Sherpa guides were unable to revive him.

[On Mount Everest, traffic isn’t just inconvenient. It can be deadly.]

His children said Mr. Cash quit his job in December to complete the last two summits on his list, which he began checking off in 2015. They last saw their father in April, when he set out to climb Mount Everest, his seventh and final goal.


Donald Cash in the Wasatch mountains in a photo he shared on March 30.

Before leaving, the family gathered to “bless” Mr. Cash.

“He loved them so much because he was tested,” Brandalin Cash, 29, said of her father’s treks. She acknowledged that his climbs had caused health issues for her father, including losing fingers and toes.

Mr. Cash’s body won’t be returning to Utah, and his children said that he often bragged that he had signed a waiver declaring his body be left if he died while on a climb. Brandalin Cash added that her father said he would rather die on a mountain than in a hospital bed.

Mr. Cash’s journeys across the globe left a lasting impression on his children.

“There’s more to life,” Brandalin Cash said. “You can try to do fun, but there is more to traveling and going somewhere. I loved all of his hikes.”

Josh Ray, a friend of Mr. Cash for the last eight years, praised him for living so boldly.

“He was larger than life,” said Mr. Ray, who worked at Adobe with Mr. Cash. “Physically, a big dude. He was always happy. Always smiling.”

He added that Mr. Cash loved his family and never hesitated to share his experiences and mentorship with others, including Mr. Ray himself.

Mr. Ray said that Mr. Cash “definitely lived life to the fullest.”

Brandalin Cash paid tribute to her father on Instagram, writing in part, “I know he is in Gods hands.”

Tanner Cash, 21, said his father had one last wish to anyone that knew him: “Do one thing that is a challenge and do it in his honor,” he said.

The family is planning a private “celebration of life” on June 1 in Sandy, Utah.

More than 600 people reach the summit of Everest in a typical year, which is half the number of people who attempt.

Not all climbers survive the trek, and Nepal’s government said some 200 bodies are still on the mountain.

Mr. Cash was one of two people who died on the unusually busy mountain on Wednesday. Anjali Kulkarni, 54, also died while leaving the summit with her husband.

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