SACRAMENTO - Sacramento mountain climber Jim Geiger returned home from Mount Everest base camp to the cheers of family and loved ones at Sacramento International Airport Thursday evening.
"I am thrilled to be back," Geiger told News10. "A little disappointed we weren't able to climb, but to this homecoming is very special."
At 68 years old, Geiger hoped to become the oldest American to reach the summit of the world's tallest peak, but that goal was cut short by an avalanche that killed several Sherpa in what is now called the biggest single disaster in the history of Mt. Everest.
"At 6:30 in the morning I heard this avalanche," Geiger recalled. "That one avalanche wiped out 16 guys. We can love the mountains, but the mountains don't love us."
Immediately, Geiger said his priorities changed.
"No longer was I thinking about the top, no longer was I thinking about the record," Geiger said. "It was about these Sherpa. What to do to honor them. What do we do to respect them. And how do I get home safe to my family."
A weary Geiger said his next goal was to catch up on sleep and eat a cheeseburger. But, he admits conquering Mt. Everest remains an unanswered question.
"Oh I thought about it. Do I go back next year? Can I afford it? Do I want to train another year?" Geiger said. "I never say never."