Donald Lynn Cash AKA “Don Cash”, 55, was a Sandy, Utah resident and passionate climber who was on a quest to join the “Seven Summits Club.” Don Cash has joined a 15-member expedition led by Chinese climber Yuan Li and actually reached the 29,000-foot summit of Mount Everest on Wednesday. There was a “traffic jam” on the way down due to the increased number of people who have been hiking Mt. Everest recently
Don collapsed face down at the summit but briefly regained consciousness until the group reached the famous rock face known as the “Hillary Step” where he fainted again. Sherpas gave him oxygen and dragged him to Camp 4 at 26,300 feet but were unable to revive him once they arrived. He’s the 12th person this year to pass away on the treacherous, grueling climb.
His family speculated that Don may have had a heart attacked but no official cause of death has been announced yet. They are understandably upset about his passing but have found solace in knowing he didn’t suffer and died doing what he loved. “I think there’s just so much peace that comes from knowing that he didn’t suffer,” daughter Brandalin Cash said, “That it was the best way to go.” She also said of her Dad “He taught us that nothing was impossible,”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Quit His Lucrative Job to Join The “Seven Summits Club”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Don quit his job as Vice President of Worldwide Inside Sales at software company BMC to “take the next 5 months off on a sabbatical to finish the last 2 remaining mountains on my Seven Summits Club dream. Mt. Vinson-Masiff in Antarctica Jan 7-26th, 2019 and then Mt. Everest in Nepal April/May 2019.” He had planned to return to work in June 2019 to resume his career at a different company.
The Seven Summits Club is an accolade professional climbers get for summitting the highest point on each of the seven continents. The challenge was first accomplished by Richard Bass on April 20, 1985. Since the challenge started, there have been less than 600 people to accomplish the feat. The seven mountains included in the club are:
- Mount Everest, Nepal – 29,035’/8850m
- Mount Aconcagua, Argentina – 22,902’/6960m
- Mount Denali, Alaska – 20,320’/6194m
- Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa – 19,340’/5896m
- Mount Elbrus, Russia – 18,513’/5642m
- Mount Vinson, Antarctica – 16,067’/4897m
- Mount Kosciuszko, Australia – 7,310’/2228m
This was the main list postulated by the founder, Richard Bass, but there is a different version made by Reinhold Messner that replaces Mount Kosciuszko with Puncak Jaya in Indonesia due to the increased difficulty. There are also versions of the list that include Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. There is no “official” list or governing body so climbers can complete the list any way they choose.
2. He’s an Avid Car Enthusiast
Don Cash was a man of many interests. Before he was a passionate climber, he was a passionate car enthusiast and collector. According to his Instagram, his extensive collection includes “Sinister 63” (1963 ‘chopped’ Chevrolet Impala), “Fine 59” (1959 Cadillac), “Cadillac Ranch” (1957 Cadillac), A low-rider truck with “Batman” stylings, a custom dune buggy, and several motorcycles. Don would buy these old cars, fix them up and trick them out, then sell them.
The ‘crown jewel’ of his collection was his “Frankenstein Rat Lead Sled”, a 1950 Ford Shoebox outfitted with a Chevy 383 Stroker featuring a Whipple Blower along with a 53 Caddy Grille and bumper. He brought this car to several car shows and posted several photos of fans using this car in various art pieces.
He eventually sold the ’50 Ford Shoebox to a buyer in Virginia in 2018.
3. He Lost Some Fingers, Toes and Almost Lost His Nose on a Previous Climb
While climbing Denali in Alaska back in May 2018, Don suffered frostbite on his fingers and nose. He ended up losing the tips on three of his fingers, two toes, and needed surgery on the tip of his nose to replace the skin and cartilage.
Don Cash was undeterred from the incident and made a necklace out of his lost fingers.
According to Don, he put his lost fingers in formaldehyde and put them in a dehydrator then preserved them with shellac. Despite his injuries, he went on to climb Mt. Vinson-Masiff in Antarctica and Mt. Everest.
4. He Joined The “Seven Summits Club” Before Passing Away
Mount Everest was the last summit Don had to climb to reach his goal of the “Seven Summits Club”. Don actually reached the summit before collapsing and passing away. He achieved his goal and is now a member of the club.
5. Don Cash Is Survived by His 4 Kids and 3 Grandchildren
Don was happily married to his wife Monette and he is survived by his 4 children (who were all married) and his 3 grandchildren. His family all lived in Utah.