SF climber on Mt. Everest during earthquake is heading home 

A San Francisco woman who was climbing Mount Everest when Nepal’s devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Saturday is expected to arrive home early next week.

Siobhan McFeeney, 43, an experienced climber on her third trip to the Earth’s highest mountain, arrived in Lukla on Thursday to await a flight to Kathmandu. She will then travel to Abu Dhabi before arriving in San Francisco on Monday, her husband, Terry Trevino, said.

“You can’t write this kind of story,” Trevino said of his wife surviving the temblor. “The earthquake happened when she was literally climbing on a ladder.”

McFeeney was on a ladder dubbed Golden Gate Bridge at the Khumbu Icefall, a notoriously treacherous portion of the climb, when the region began shaking. McFeeney managed to reach Camp 1, along with the four other climbers and three guides she is with as part of the Alpine Ascents climbing team.

After spending 2½ days at Camp 1, “basically stranded” and helping recover climbers who had been buried or severely injured, Trevino said the team made it to base camp on Monday, where they remained until a private extraction team shuttled the climbers to Lukla via a helicopter Thursday.

McFeeney had previously told The San Francisco Examiner in late March that she would be traveling to Mount Everest to climb the mountain for the charity Water for Nepal, which raises money for drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand Filters that help provide clean water. Her eldest son Ciaran, 11, had traveled to Nepal with her for the first two weeks before the climb.

“Ciaran is shocked. He still can’t believe it,” Trevino said of the earthquake. He has told their other three children as well, even their youngest, a 5-year-old girl.

“We’ve all been climbing before,” he said. “All of us do outdoor stuff. They understand. There’s no point in hiding these kinds of things.” Especially, Trevino added, because their mother is on her way home now, and the focus should turn to providing aid and resources to those impacted by the earthquake.

It is estimated the tremor, the most powerful recorded there since 1934, killed 6,130 and injured 13,827. At least 18 climbers were killed on Mount Everest, including 10 Sherpas, Trevino said.

“Siobhan’s fine. She’s on her way back,” Trevino said. “Everything we do should be about Kathmandu and saving all those people.”

To donate to McFeeney’s charity, visit mycharitywater.org/Everestagain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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