Finally heard from Bill

Bill just called from Camp 3.  He made it to the “second step”, about 4 hours from the summit and turned around.  He said the weather was horrible, wind blowing, snowing, miserable.  He said he passed by a couple bodies and has decided it’s time to find something else to do.  He is going to rest a little and then head down.  I could hear his oxygen in the background as I sat here with Amy and Ollie, trying to give Ollie oxygen. He said that he felt strong and if the weather had been better he thought he would have been able to do it.



36 thoughts on “Finally heard from Bill

  1. Sharon, thanks for updating us on Bill’s situation. We salute him for the great attempt, his second, but applaud him more for being wise and not defying the vagaries of Mother Nature. Sure, there’s likely a tinge of disappointment; however, it would have been far more disappointing had he joined Mallory and the other “couple bodies” on the mountain. We look forward to seeing Bill back in Orange County… California that is.

  2. In face of realities, one right decision after another — and you can live anohter day to tell about it and try again, if you so wish. Come to think of it, you may hold the record for coming close the most number of times. .


  3. In face of realities, Bill is making one right decision after another — and living to tell about it

    Bob Aronoff

  4. Bob Aronoff succinctly captures Bill’s valiant Everest undertaking: “one right decision after another.” “He did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (2 Chr. 31:21)


  5. What a stud…”far greater man than I”…great journey Bill and you have followed your dreams…still the oldest but goodie American to summit Everest. Enjoy Kathmandu and we will “celebrate” at lunch.
    John Dahlem

  6. Bill exemplified the smart mountaineer’s priorities: (1) safety first, (2) have fun, (3) reach your goal. Thanks for all your communications, Bill, and have a safe and enjoyable trip home. I learned a lot from your trip.

  7. I can only imagine your thoughts Bill as you were trudging along in miserable, dangerous & deadly conditions~ family, love, life… these are most important. Congratulations on all that you have done, but mostly, on being selfless enough to make the toughest decision…the best decision. Be safe.

  8. Bill… we are disappointed for you that you were not able to summit this last time, we’re looking forward to you safe return home and hearing of this latest adventure. As always, we’ll continue to pray for your safety.

  9. You are a wise man. You put your family first, as it should be. Others have not. I admire your efforts, but no one can control the weather and it has killed many a mountaineer. Your efforts and determination are to be applauded.

  10. Bill: I got goose bumps hearing about dead bodies. So glad you turned back. A very good decision. Hang in there Bill.


  11. We are relieved for you and your family. They have had a rough ride this year. There are many other wonderful, less dangerous, but challenging things to do. The Senior Olympics might be a safer endeavor. Come home safely and God bless you!

  12. It sounds like it wasn’t in God’s plan for you to summit again and we were happy to hear of your wise decision to turn back. You are an amazing courageous man and have already accomplished incredible successes.

  13. Dear Mr. Burke,

    From all of my family ” YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE INSPIRATION” . Thank you for letting us glimpse into your world of “climbing Mt. Everest” … I’m only 48 years old and can barely run an hour on a treadill without being exhausted . You are a kind, strong and wise human being with an incredible family ! Right there is an awesome accomplishment !!!!!

  14. God Bless the Burke Family! Bill Burke you are a helluva man! Strong and wise…….such a inspiration for all of us!

  15. “Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.”
    Bill, you have made all of your friends and family proud.

  16. You did great! Best of all, you knew when to turn around. There would have been a lot of very sad people if you’d turned out the way those two you passed. Thank you for your updates and your wife, too. Have a safe trip home.

  17. It takes a lot of courage to be able to set aside the ego, think clearly up there (when just the act of thinking is difficult), and consider the bigger picture. It’s not the end result, it’s the journey, and you’ve been on an amazing and inspirational journey, Bill. We’re all proud to know you. Be safe coming down.

  18. So glad you chose safety! Now lots of people can sleep tonight. Take it easy coming down. There are lots of other things for you to do…and you will do them well.

  19. You are smart. Good choice to make it back home to see the ones you love. You don’t mess with that weather.
    Keep up the good work.

  20. Bill: I am proud of all your efforts. You were the first person to show me that the summit is not the goal. It is the experience, the interaction with others and ones ability to return home to their loved ones. That is what climbing is about. Please be careful on the way down and have an safe trip home.

    Best regards,


  21. Unfinished business now resolved.Good decision ,unacceptable risk to continue obviously Everest is not giving you the passage to her summit
    again despite your most courageous and determined efforts.We salute you
    for this most inspiring effort and truly great adventure.

  22. Amen, to all the sincere, thoughtful comments above; and THANKS to Bill for his passion and wisdom, as well as sharing ‘his story’ with us all via great technology!

    Prayerfully for God’s best, for Bill’s safety, and peace for Sharon, the Family, and the many people ‘following Bill’s life journey.,’
    Ron & Kay Everett

  23. Bill, what an inspiration you are. I meet you briefly coming back from Mt Whitney in Sept. 2010 after my friend and I summitted in one long day. We fell in behind you after you had been up the mountaineers route with another guy and gal. I told her about my plans of climbing Raineer and Kilimanjaro and she told me who you were. I wanted to shake your hand and you said to me “you should really do Kilimanjaro, it is a fun mountain” Well I am scheduled for Raineer this Sept and then Kilimanjaro hopefully next year, God willing. It has been a pleasure to follow you on your attempt at a double summit of Everest. May God keep on blessing you and yours.

  24. Bill…we are feeling a tremendous sense of relief and we are sure that your family is as well. We continue to be amazed at your strength and courage and applaud you for making this wise decision. Safe travels home, Penny and Bill Rauth

  25. You made the right decision. It’s always hard to turn around, but it should always be safety first, the peak second. See you when you come home.

  26. You have all of the qualities I admire in a gentleman, the one I respect the most in you is LOVE. You have shown that you have love of life & family, a distinguishing quality in such an adventurous person. Thank God for your wise decision in the face of the circumstances. I will be praying for your safe return home. Everyone is so very proud of you, Bill. Love & Blessings, Betty

  27. Bill,
    Best of luck on the return trip. I just read about the tragic events near the summit late Saturday; wow, you made a very, very wise decision in backing off when you did. Stay safe.

  28. Dear Sir ,

    You are a great example to all of us for displaying extraordinary wisdom in your choice to turn back . World would be a better place if its leaders could “Let Go” sometimes .

    Total Regards .

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