A Lake Oswego man died while trying to summit the tallest peak in South America.
David Reinhart, 42, was on a trip with two of his long-time climbing buddies.
"They were expert mountaineers," said Matt Felton, Reinhart's friend and business partner at Portland-based Felton Properties. "They had climbed mountains that were significantly more technical and difficult than this expedition."
Mount Aconcague was the latest challenge for Reinhart and his friends, but at 22,000 feet, Reinhart suffered altitude sickness.
"The only way out of that situation was to climb to the summit," Felton said.
And given his condition, Felton said that wasn't an option. He says Eric Nourse, of Colorado, went for help, while his twin brother, Greg Nourse, of Portland, stayed to take care of Reinhart.
"His best friend Greg did everything in his power to get him home safely and he bravely stayed with him all night long," Felton said.
The next day, Greg Nourse also went for help and eventually was able to call Reinhart's family back in Portland, who hired a search plane to help find Reinhart on the mountain.
"We had first thought there was good hope he was going to be rescued," Felton said.
But that hope faded when Reinhart's location proved precarious and hard for rescuers to reach on foot in time to save him.
"It's just a tragedy for everybody; everybody loved Dave, and Dave loved everybody," Felton said.
In an email to Fox 12, Reinhart's wife, Char Reinhart, said he loved being outside and loved the cold weather - saying their garage looked like an REI store - with bins full of gear for his favorite activities.
She said people would ask if his expeditions scared her and she admitted that they did, but Char Reinhart said she wouldn't have dreamed of asking him to stay home: She said he radiated happiness when climbing. It filled his soul and was his passion. And by all accounts, he was also passionate about family and friends.
"He was a family guy; he was a great friend; he was the type of guy that if you met him you would like him within five minutes," said Felton. "He was a gem."
Eric Nourse also died during the trip. The Denver Post reports he was suffering from low oxygen levels and passed away at base camp.
Family members of the climbers are still in Argentina sorting this all out.
Copyright KPTV 2013 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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