Teacher's Everest climb cut short

Health issues prompt Tredway's early return to Steamboat

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— Steamboat Springs teacher Matt Tredway is on his way home from Mount Everest this morning after experiencing health problems while preparing for his attempt to summit the world's tallest mountain.

Tredway's wife, Dana, said her husband returned to Base Camp early this week after experiencing a "coronary event" at about 22,000 feet while hiking to Camp III. It was Tredway's first trip to Camp III, which is at 24,600 feet.

"He had been feeling fine, but he got to a place where he felt huge tension in his chest," Dana Tredway said. "He felt like his heart was two times bigger than it should be. He sat and waited, but it didn't stop, and he began to feel nauseous."

The Steamboat Springs Mid--dle School teacher returned down the mountain to seek the advice of doctors.

Dana Tredway said doctors at Everest Base Camp didn't find any signs of a heart attack, and he reported feeling fine during his trek back to Katmandu.

Tredway's setback came shortly after a fellow Team No Limits climber was forced to abandon the mission. Tredway spent a night comforting Dr. Larry Rigsby, who also was experiencing heart troubles. Rigsby left Everest for home a couple of days before Tredway's problem surfaced.

Their departures leave Team No Limits as a two-man show. Doug Tumminello of Littleton and base camp manager Roger Coffey are the members of the team left at Everest Base Camp.

Tredway's wife said she was proud of her husband for coming down the mountain to seek medical attention.

"I know it was hard on him," she said. "He'd told me that he felt he was one of the physically strongest guys going up and down the mountain from Base Camp. He was rocking. I couldn't have been happier that he was smart enough to step down and get tested."

Dana Tredway, who was in frequent contact with her husband by satellite phone, said that from what she understood, she thought doctors at Base Camp saw signs of trouble in the portion of her husband's EKG that reflected the resting phase of his heartbeat.

Tredway's EKG resembled that of a 2005 Everest climber who had gone back up the mountain despite the warning signs. That climber suffered a heart attack, she said.

As of Friday morning, Tredway was a half-day ahead of schedule in his return to Katmandu, and he tested free of telltale enzymes that could signal long-term damage to the heart, Dana Tredway said.

Tragedy struck Team No Limits earlier in the trip when Dawa Temba Sherpa and Lhakpa Tseri Sherpa, who were carrying gear for the team, were killed in an ice fall.

"Those were his friends, and he stared up at that ice field for three weeks. I think it made him understand that this was real," Dana Tredway said.

She said she told her husband this week that they and their daughters, Danielle, 19, and Ariel, 15, have a lot to live for without having to climb to 22,000 feet.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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