RALEIGH -- Ron Wahula is well known in the running community in the Triangle area of North Carolina. He has participated in and helped with some of the area's largest races.
"Ron is a very determined person," friend Cara Greening said. To her, he is a friend and a leader.
Now, the local athlete is trying to get home from his latest challenge: climbing Mount Everest.
"He's been training for about a year," Greening said.
For almost two weeks, Wahula has been trekking up to more than 14,000 feet, taking amazing photos along the way. No amount of training, however, could have prepared him for the worst earthquake to hit the area in 80 years.
"He was about 20 minutes outside the base camp when the earthquake hit," Greening said.
That is where Wahula also experienced an avalanche triggered by that earthquake. That avalanche killed 10 hikers. Wahula and his hiking group escaped without injury, but won't be out of the woods until they've made their way back down the mountain.
"The mountain has changed, the snow, the crevices, that sort of thing, so we need to keep him in our prayers because it's going to be a tough journey down," Greening said.
Greening added Wahula and his group are headed to Kathmandu, a city now under rubble from that 7.8-magnitude earthquake and the several aftershocks that followed.
Wahula's wife was too shaken to comment Saturday, but we're told her husband is planning to be back home in the Triangle next Monday. To welcome him back, Greening and several friends have signed a "welcome home" T-shirt to give to him.