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Concord Climber On Mount Everest During Nepal Earthquake: Thought 'This Was It'

BOSTON (CBS) – As Jim Davidson sat inside his tent on Mount Everest last weekend, listening to the sound of avalanches crashing a short distance away from him, he was convinced he would not survive.

Though Davidson, who was raised in Concord, still has a difficult journey to return to the United States, his worst fears did not become reality after a deadly earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday.

Related: Mayor Marty Walsh Attends Copley Square Vigil For Nepal Quake Victims

Davidson, a University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate who lived in Concord for much of his life before moving to Colorado, was on a glacier 19,900 feet up on Mount Everest when the earthquake began.

Climbers felt Everest begin to shake, Davidson said, and soon began to hear a pair of avalanches several hundred yards away.

"I was thinking this was it, that we were all going to be dead within a matter of a few seconds as the avalanche roared over us," Davidson recalled in a phone interview with WBZ-TV Tuesday from the base camp on Mount Everest.


The avalanches missed the area where about 140 people had set up camp, but they lost their gear and were unable to climb back down the mountain. Multiple climbers were killed by avalanches on other parts of the mountain.

Davidson and his fellow climbers were forced to wait on the glacier for about two days before a helicopter came to pick them up and bring them to base camp.

A rescue helicopter comes in for a landing to pick up the injured from Everest Base Camp on April 26, 2015. The orange tents on the bottom are covering the bodies of those who died in the avalanche. (Photo credit: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

"We were pretty scared, but we were able to hang in there," said Davidson.

Davidson said his background as a geologist helped him, as did his 33 years of climbing experience.


Though he was able to return to base camp, he still has a significant challenge ahead of him.

It could still take about two weeks to hike back into the city of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by the earthquake.

Read: Red Cross Mobilizes To Help Nepal Earthquake Victims

"We are not sure how any of that is going to work. It could take some extended length of time. It might take weeks until I can get back to the States," said Davidson.

Nepalese rescue members move the body of a victim from the collapsed Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu. (PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the harrowing experience on Mount Everest and the difficult journey still ahead, Davidson said he witnessed some things that he will remember the rest of his life.

"One important thing is how the community came together up here. I saw some amazing efforts put forth by strangers to help other strangers. In time of disaster you see that kind of resilience coming through in people," Davidson said.

"It's tough to see these tragedies, but you can see people at their most helpful and most amazing behaviors too. And that's something I'll carry with me in my heart as I leave Nepal."

Visit the Red Cross website to learn more and donate to the relief effort.

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