The Adventure Ends:
June 7, 2004
It's almost the end of the school year and Jason is safely back
in Tacoma, WA. Yesterday he returned to school to give a slideshow
for students and staff. It was wonderful to see the
joyful and enthusiastic reactions of everyone upon seeing Jason.
Truly this has been a trip that all of our school community has
reveled in with both a sense of admiration and awe. We are all proud
that one of our own has accomplished such a rare and incredible
feat and that we have been able to follow along.
We are going to leave this site intact and in fact are considering adding to it with more info on climbing and Everest in the future... we shall see. A major addition since the last dispatch from Everest is an archive of all Jason's photos including an extensive collection of the approach Trek. You will find links to those at the right just below the "Trip Details" section. Currently there are no descriptions attached but most of the photos can be enjoyed without them. We hope to have some descriptive text soon. You will also find two short (25 sec) MPEG video clips shot by Jason with his still digital camera in the "Media " section.
Lastly, you will note that below is the original content of this page from the start of the trip and the beginning of this site. We are leaving that intact as well since it is indeed all part of the adventure.
Jason Tanguay and Peter Serko
Trip To Mt Everest
March 02, 2004
In late March 2004 VHS Science Teacher Jason Tanguay will be heading off on his second climbing trip to Mt Everest. Jason will be working as part of renowned Northwest climber Eric Simonson's International Mountain Guides support team assisting a group of climbers in their attempt to summit the world's highest peak. One of their "clients" on the trip will be Will Cross who is attempting to climb the highest mountains on each continent to raise funds for diabetes research.
Jason's previous trip to Everest was as part of the second Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition in 2001. Poised to summit on May 24th the team aborted their attempt to come to the rescue of two Russian climbers at over 28,000 feet. The story of the rescue is legendary in climbing circles as the highest mountain rescue in history for which Jason won the prestigious Sowles Award for “unselfish devotion to imperiled climbers”.
..it had become apparent that we were into something far worse. The summit no longer existed. In fact, even the chance of getting these two climbers down alive no longer existed. We had each been horrified to watch them trying to stand and walk. Without those abilities, it was simply "game over" ..Read the full first hand account by Dave Hahn of this incredible feat.
In our heads swam visions of the vertical Second Step, the ridiculous traverse back to the Mushroom Rock, the even more ridiculous traverse back to the First Step, the vertical descent of that feature, the treacherous hop down the rocks and gullies of the Yellow Band. And what would it get you if you could somehow carry somebody over all of that? Well, then you'd have a critically ill person at 27,000 feet instead of 28,500 feet. Big deal.
.. Jason and I knew what nobody watching through a telescope from below could know, not only were these men going to die, but they were going to do it with us as companions...
Dave Hahn fellow rescuer
Jason's low key classroom demeanor belies the fact that he is among the elite climbers in the US if not the world. His humble quiet nature is a departure from the cockiness and swagger often found among climbers capable of climbing 8000 meter peaks. The heroic rescue of 2001 speaks volumes about him; little wonder he is a much sought after as a climbing guide and instructor. VHS is fortunate to have him as a faculty member.
Why This Site?
Never blessed with the physical ability and traits that would allow me to undertake such bold adventure, I have always admired those who could. Heroic climbing tales in exotic locales have fascinated me ever since I read the account of the first successful American climb of Mt Everest in National Geographic Magazine as a ten year old.
In the mid 1990's a friend of mine was planning a climbing trip to Broad Peak in the Everest region and I suggested that he let me setup a website to share trip info and updates. The trip was with his longtime climbing pal Scott Fischer (of "Into Thin Air" fame) who died on Everest in 1996 along with eight others in the single deadliest day in Everest climbing history. At that time commercial climbing trips with paying "clients" were just coming into vogue. Scott was hot to promote himself and his business so it seemed like a natural fit. Unfortunately, my friend didn't quite grasp the Internet (as did many others at that time) and could not visualize how this might work and why it would be of any interest to others. Needless to say several years later I watched Scott broadcast live from Mt Kilimanjaro talking with Katie Couric one morning on the Today Show touting his business and website. Such much for good ideas!
When I heard Jason was headed to Everest in 2004 I was thrilled to finally have a chance to follow through on the idea. While hardly a novel thing nowadays, a website following a climb is commonplace and really no big deal. Yet, I welcomed the chance to participate in a small way in Jason's trip if only to vicariously satisfy my own lifelong armchair fascination with climbing.
Peter Serko Webmaster
What To Expect Here:
Jason will be taking a satellite phone (IMG's, not ours!) with him and we have sent along a laptop computer for him to email us updates, or "dispatches" as they are called in the online climbing world, and photos. The first we expect to hear from him is when they get to Katmandu, Nepal at the end of March.
As I hear from Jason the latest dispatch and any photos will be posted to
this site. It should be a lot fun for us all... so stay tuned!
You can also follow all the other expediton teams currently on Mt Everest, including Jason's, at EverestNews.com. This site will give a broader perspective on the range of activity on the mountain and other peaks in the region. Highly recommended!
We are pleased to have personal photos of the 2001 trip courtesy of team member Andy Politz. These images show many facets of the trip most notably artifacts from the Mallory-Irvine Expedition and of the high altitude rescue. The rescue photos are remarkable in that they convey, simply by photo perspective, how daunting and dangerous a task it was bringing climbers down from just below the summit... truly amazing!
2001 Mallory-Irvine Expedition North Side
Photos Courtesy Andy Politz