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OREM — A deadly quake struck Nepal two months ago, claiming more than 8,000 lives and injuring many more.
The country is still recovering.
Randall Ercanbrack, a Utah County man, was on Mount Everest with his daughter at the time of the disaster. Their goal was to reach the summit; the quake changed all that.
“As a small boy, my mother and father took me climbing,” recalls Ercanbrack. That passion for adventure and climbing has persisted and even rubbed off on his daughter Haley, who resides in Arizona.
The two first went to Mount Everest base camp together in 2012.
“Haley, my daughter, fell in love with the Nepalese people and culture, and that’s where it all started,” Ercanbrack said.
The two returned three years later to summit the famous peak. But on April 25, their adventure evolved into survival.
A 7.8 quake hit Nepal and triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest. Ercanbrack and his team from Madison Mountaineering were about an hour and a half from Camp 2.
“One of the climbers behind me told me, after the quake, he looked back and said, don’t look back, run. Because the avalanche was coming to get us,” said Ercanbrack.
At least 19 people were killed on Mount Everest, including base camp doctor Marisa Eve Girawong.
“It was really sad because we left three nights before … and she came at 2 a.m. and hugged us and told us to be safe, and she was the one that was in harm’s way,” Ercanbrack said.
He said his life changed on that mountain that day.
“I had a strong will,” said Ercanbrack. “I was coming home if I had to crawl out of there.”
Ercanbrack plans to return to Nepal not only to climb, but to help the people affected by the disaster. He and his daughter are raising money for Sherpa families from two villages.