SANTA ROSA, CA (April 29, 2015) — A severe head cold may have saved the life of Scott Holder, a member of Redwood Covenant Church, when it forced him to quit his climb up Mount Everest the day before an avalanche killed or injured dozens of climbers.
Holder had been at Camp 2, located 21,000 feet up on the mountain, when the pressure from the cold forced him to return to Lukla, the small town of 3,000 people at roughly 10,000 feet.
He told one media outlet that the town had suffered severe damage. He has been helping the Red Cross in recent days.
Scott Peterson, pastor of children’s ministries, said Holder was trying to fly out of the country today, but the line of people to the airport stretched half a mile.
This was the second time descending down a mountain may have saved the 49-year-old financial adviser’s life. In 2006, he led a group up Mount Hood in Oregon. When a snowstorm struck, he turned his group around and led them down the mountain despite the protestations of at least one climber. Hours later, three people lost their lives on the mountain.
Holder has summited the highest mountains on every continent other than Everest and Kosciuszko in Australia.
Ironically, it was Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air about a deadly disaster on Everest that sparked his interest in climbing.