Local doctor safe during Mt. Everest climb

(WBIR-West Knoxville) Friends and family of Doctor James Choo are relieved to know he's okay, as he continues his two-month excursion up Mount Everest, following Friday's avalanche that killed 13 people.

"He takes climbing very serious and he has a full understanding of what could happen," said Bruce Simpson, who works with Doctor Choo at Pain Associates of East Tennessee. "There's a whole lot of things going on over there and we'll be hearing about it and he's doing well."

Choo talked to him last night, when he had cell phone coverage up on the mountain. Currently, he's part of a group of men and women with RMI Excursions. The group is ahead of the deadly avalanche, which affected a territory called "the popcorn field" at Everest.

Simpson said when he spoke to Choo Thursday night, he had no idea about what happened -- only learning about it Friday morning.

"He said I'll be out of pocket but hopefully I'll be able to touch base with you for a few more days," Simpson added.

According to a blog, run by Doctor Choo's team, the camp will stay put for now. They may turn around and head back, if the snow is too unstable.


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