“God Gave Me a Cold For a Reason”: Calif. Man Who Turned Back From Climbing Everest Before Avalanche

A Santa Rosa man says he stayed behind from Everest the day Nepal’s monster earthquake sparked deadly avalanches. He’s grateful that the cold he caught made him turn back to the camp and now he’s unhurt and can’t wait to get back home to his family.

At least 17 climbers and guides died on the mountain from the avalanches triggered by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake northwest of Nepal’s capital. 

“At the end of the day, God gave me a cold for a reason,” Holder, 49, told NBC Bay Area by phone from the capital city of Kathmandu near Mount Everest.

The financial adviser and mountaineer described what it was like to feel a 42-second earthquake from down below the mountain. “It was traumatic,” he said. “No one knows how to act in an earthquake, but the locals were panicked. It was pandemonium.”

On Monday, the death toll for the country had risen to about 4,000, and four American were confirmed dead, all of them in the area of Mount Everest.

One of those Americans was Google X executive Dan Fredinburg, who was on the Google Adventure Team, which mapped exotic locations for the Silicon Valley company.

Through coughs and sniffles, Holder said that his immediate plans are to help the Red Cross in Nepal on Tuesday. Then, sometime later this week, he wants to get on a plane and head back to the Bay Area to see his wife of 24 years and his two daughters, 17 and 19.

“I just want to hug my wife and hug my kids,” he said.

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