North Carolina climber was attempting Mount Everest when earthquake hit

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Sunday, April 26, 2015
Ron Wahula
Ron Wahula

RALEIGH, NC -- "Ron is a very determined person," said Cara Greening, who is talking about Ron Wahula, a man she also described as a friend and a leader.

Wahula is well known in the running community in the Triangle area. He has participated in, and helped with, some of the area's largest races. We've even interviewed him several times on ABC11.

Now, the local athlete is trying to get home from his latest challenge, climbing Mount Everest.

"He's been training for about a year," said Greening.

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 though could have prepared him for the worst earthquake to hit the area in 80 years.

Click here for the latest on the massive earthquake from ABC News

"He was about 20 minutes outside the base camp when the earthquake hit," said Greening.

That is where Wahula also experienced an avalanche triggered by that earthquake. That avalanche killed 10 hikers. Wahula and his hiking group though, escaped without injury, but they're not out of the woods yet. They're now making 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," said Greening.

And Greening said 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.