Mt. Everest Avalanche Survivor Shares Personal Story - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Mt. Everest Avalanche Survivor Shares Personal Story

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BOULDER, CO -

A survivor of the Mount Everest avalanche is telling his story. FOX’s Aristea Brady sat down with this Colorado man.

"When I was a kid, my father took me to a volcano in Mexico. It made a big, impact. I loved it. I just wanted to be there," Richard Pena said.

Every adventurer has a story that was the beginning. Now he lives to tell his story's climax.

"This helps you climb steep snow," Pena said.

Ricardo Pena works as a climbing guide in boulder and thanks to the help of donations from his students, he raised $50,000 that would help fund his dream: to climb the world's highest peak.

Before you make the decision to climb Everest, Pena says, you must first understand the danger.

"When you look at the peaks, they are very steep... and you can see how deadly they are. Your life depends on that rope; if the anchor fails, forget it, you fall to your death," Pena said.

It was danger he was willing to face and on April 18, he was there at 17,500 feet base camp at Everest.

"I was like, 'I'm ready!' I'm ready to climb... let's do this," Pena said.

So close, he could taste it when in an instant, a sight so beautiful so peaceful turned deadly.

"We heard the sound... and then we saw it," he recalled.

The loud thunder, like sound of the avalanche, was followed by silence on the radios used to communicate with the Sherpas.

Pena, moments later, captured his account on video and also shared the pictures he took. 16 Sherpas didn't survive the hit.

"This is when we were loading the critically injured person into the helicopter," Pena said.

Pena has experience as a first responder; he helped treat the few Sherpas who had a fighting chance.

"This poor Sherpa, he's got a broken femur, he's got internal injuries, but I saw in his eyes, full of tears: and he just looked, fear in his eyes," he said.

His expedition was over.

"This was my chance to climb, and it's gone," Pena said.

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