Sometimes you face a challenge so daunting, it pushes you to your very limits. This is the how climber/adventurer/author and tasc Athlete Jeff Evans felt as he made his final descent from climbing Mount Everest. Jeff recalls:
"I will never step foot on this mountain again."
I said that the minute I exited the icefall for the final time down from the summit of Everest in 2001. We had just spent two and a half months climbing that mountain.
Along with an extraordinary team of amazing fellas we had just stood on top of the world with Erik (Superblind) Weihenmayer.
I felt like we were gifted a window to pass through the gauntlet of challenges that Everest provides. We got lucky.
Everest is peaking out on far left, Lhotse in the middle and Ama Dablam on right.
// Photo @jeff_b_evans via Instagram
When Jeff made his initial climb in 2001, only 150 climbers attempted the trek. This year, close to 800 climbers of varying skill levels will attempt to conquer Everest. With his knowledge of climbing and his own Everest challenge under his belt, Jeff made the decision to return to Everest - not to climb, but to be part of a Search and Rescue Team operating on the mountain.
Yesterday I was alerted by my Sherpa team that there was a very sick young Nepali porter in the same village we were lodging in.... Very proud of my team in their efforts to save this boy's life. This is why I came here. // Photo
@jeff_b_evans via Instagram
A few of [of the climbers] will have the experience and qualifications to step foot on the mountain. Many will not. There will be folks that will get in trouble. Big trouble. And although I'm a huge proponent of self accountability in the mountains... some will deserve help.
So... in spite of claiming to never do so... I'm headed back to Everest....
I have agreed to be the chief medic for a helicopter based Search and Rescue team operating on the mountain. I will be working ever so closely with 2 bad ass pilots; conducting daily SAR missions on Everest as well as surrounding peaks.
Since the beginning of April, Jeff has been on Everest and it's surrounding peaks with a team of two pilots, on-call for climbers in danger. He remains the eyes in the skies and boots on the ground for struggling climbers through the end of May.
It's a 2 month commitment which will take me away from my family for way too long. My heart hurts with the thought of being away from MB and Jace that long.
But I feel the pull. The pull of adventure. The draw of the Himal. The wish to be of service to humans in need.
"Never say never..." Rock on, Jeff! Proud to call you a tasc Athlete! We'll continue to keep you posted on Jeff's adventures here on our blog. Check back for more updates soon.
Jeff Evans in tasc Performance Base Layers with "The Fab 5. These fellas make up the 1st ever dedicated Search and Rescue team on Mt Everest. Between the 6 of us, we have 20 Everest summits..." // Photo
@jeff_b_evans via Instagram
More about Jeff Evans:
Raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Jeff Evans has always followed the call of the excitement and wildness of outdoor adventure. This pursuit of passion led to the formation of MountainVision Incorporated and a career which includes guiding clients up mountain peaks across the globe, professional speaking, and practicing as an emergency medicine Physician Assistant. Twenty years ago he electively chose to be the primary guide for then unknown blind climber Erik Weihenmayer on mountains, rock faces and adventure races all over the world...even after many established guides had passed at the opportunity. Jeff worked with Erik on creating a climbing vision, establishing an acceptable definition of success and refining effective methods of communication, all innovative and challenging.
Jeff is a proud member of New York City's prestigious Explorers Club, the published author of MountainVision: Lessons Beyond the Summit, a practicing Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant and appears as one of the main characters in two different award-winning documentaries, Farther Than the Eye Can See, Blindsight and the recently released High Ground documentary.