Utah mountaineer who died on Mount Everest told son he felt ‘so blessed’ before summiting the peak

The children of Don Cash, the Sandy sales executive and mountaineer who died Wednesday descending from the summit of Mt. Everest, say their dad died pursuing his dreams.

Don Cash sent a message earlier this week to his son, Tanner, that read, “I feel so blessed to be on the mountain that I read about for the last 40 years,” Tanner Cash told NBC’s “Today,” in an interview that aired Thursday.

Don Cash, 55, died while descending from the Everest summit Wednesday, according to a report in The Himalayan Times. He died a few meters below the Hillary Step, a vertical rock face on the southeast side of the world’s tallest mountain, the report said.

Guides helped Cash get to the summit early Wednesday morning, and tried to offer him oxygen on the way down, said Pasang Sherpa, chairman of Pioneer Adventure Pvt. Ltd., according to the Times.

The climbing website Gripped.com quoted a Himalayan reporter, Alan Arnette, who wrote on his blog that Cash’s guides carried him to the Hillary Step, but a two-hour traffic jam on the fixed ropes there stopped them from descending further.

The family believes Cash died from a cardiac arrest. “I think there’s so much peace that comes from knowing that he didn’t suffer, that it was the best way to go,” Cash’s daughter, Brandalin Cash, told “Today.”

Arnette wrote that Cash’s body was not recoverable, and friends said “his final resting place will probably be exactly where he wanted.”

On his LinkedIn page, Cash wrote that he was spending 2019 completing his lifelong dream of joining the “seven summits club,” by climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. He climbed Antarctica’s tallest peak, Mt. Vinson-Masiff, in January.

His other daughter, Danielle Cook, said in the “Today” interview that climbing Everest “was the big finishing aspect of his dreams.”

A text Cash sent to his wife, Monette, before ascending Everest read: “I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and how much I appreciate you supporting my dreams!!!!!”

Don and Monette, a psychologist and yoga therapist, have four children.

Before quitting in January to go climbing, Cash worked as vice president for worldwide indoor sales for BMC Software, his LinkedIn page said. “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Don Cash’s family during this difficult time,” a spokeswoman for BMC said in an email Wednesday.

Besides mountaineering, Cash’s interests included cars. On his Facebook page, he wrote that he was the owner of Bombshell Betty, a 1952 Buick Super Riviera modified into a land-speed racing car that he drove on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Cash is the 12th climber to die in the high Himalayas this season, the Times said. Though some have died from accidents, the website Explorersweb wrote earlier this week, most suffered from edema, exhaustion and hypothermia.