SALT LAKE CITY — Children of a Utah mountaineer who died last week descending Mount Everest remember him as an avid adventurer who taught them to take risks in life.
Danielle Cook, one of Don Cash's daughters, recalled him saying, "If your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough," she told NBC on Thursday.
Cash, 55, of Sandy, collapsed while returning from the summit early Wednesday morning, the Himalayan Times reported. Climbing guides tried to save him, even offering him their oxygen.
The guides carried Cash below the Hillary Step and he died in the afternoon, stuck in a congested line of people along the trail. He was part of a 15-member expedition.
The family said they're grateful for those who tried to save him.
Because people are unable to recover him, his body will stay on the mountain, according to the family.
"He did it. He did it. And he had a little mantra as he trekked up his mountains of my three daughters' (names)," Cook said. "And that kept him moving."
Before Tanner Cash's senior year of high school, he said his father took him and his brother along on a trip to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. "I can see why he pursued the other six (biggest climbs)," Tanner Cash told NBC.
"He’s not a quick guy … but he never stops. He never stops. He works so hard," he added.
Brandalin Cash said the family went together to the Everest base camp in 2009 and experienced the Himalayas. Because of that, when Don Cash returned to climb the mountain, "we had a visual of where he was most of his journey. And that’s pretty incredible that we share that with him."
The daughter explained that she felt the Himalayas are sacred. "And I think he felt that, and I think he felt the call back."2 comments on this story
When Don Cash earlier hiked Denali, he got frostbite and lost some fingers. But he didn't let that stop him from mountaineering.
"I think he accomplished what he wanted to accomplish," Brandalin Cash said, adding that she believes her father would've chosen to live over reaching the top of Mount Everest but that he's "OK" with the outcome.
After losing fingers, his daughter remembers Cash saying, "At least I made it to the top."
Now, the family can remember those words, Brandalin Cash said.
"He went big and he went home," Tanner Cash explained.