Bob Biddix is an avid climber who tours the world taking professional picture of remote caves and scaling rugged mountains. Like many climbers, reaching the summit of Mount Everest has been a longtime goal.
"Last time, he went up to 20,300 feet," said his father, Ed Biddix. "This time, his goal was 26,000 feet."
It was only natural Bob Biddix, who works as a mechanic in Murfreesboro, would take his second trip to the mountain, just ahead of his 46th birthday. His parents say he trained for more than a year.
"He had a special trainer for about six months, and he did a lot of bicycling, so a lot of exercise to build him up," said his mother, Margaret Biddix.
Bob was just above Mount Everest's base camp with a group of sherpas, planning to climb to camp two, when the deadly avalanche hit. Back home in Murfreesboro, his parents tried frantically to reach him on Skype. "To say the least, we didn't get much sleep last night," his father said.
The Biddixs spent more than 28 hours trying to reach their son.
"Skype from over there is not really well on a good day," Ed Biddix said. "Of course, things are in chaos over there now with all that's going on, so it was very, very trying."
Finally around 10:30 Saturday morning, they got a call from Bob Biddix.
"I was great to hear his voice," his mother said. "He is OK, but it is a trying time for him because (he) is not eating well, and he is losing his appetite."
Despite the odds, the Biddixs realize they are lucky to have good news to report. With more than a dozen people killed, officials say this is the single deadliest accident on Mount Everest.
"We've been praying for all those folks over there," Ed Biddix said.
For now, Bob Biddix and other climbers are being asked to stay put for the next several days. His parents say he is sleeping in below freeing temperatures on a glacier, with little food, but hopes to keep climbing to reach his goal.
"She wanted him to leave yesterday, but I know him, and if he is well enough and wants to continue, he will," Ed Biddix said.
Bob Biddix is scheduled to return to Murfreesboro in early May.
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