BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Renowned climber Conrad Anker said he knew one of the Sherpas who died in Friday's avalanche, and said when he heard the news about an avalanche at Mt. Everest, it left a pit in his stomach.

Anker has summitted Mt. Everest three times, most recently in 2012.

"Ang Kaji Sherpa was our Sherpa that was climbing with us in our 2012 Mt. Everest expedition," Anker said.

He said Ang Kaji Sherpa helped during that climb.

Recently, Anker began planning another trip with Ang Kaji. He learned Friday that Ang Kaji died in what's being called the worst disaster on the highest mountain in the world, when an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall area killed at least 13 guides.

"The Khumbu Icefall is the most dangerous from a hazard standpoint," Anker explained. "Blocks of ice as tall as the buildings here in Bozeman are, and they move and they can crush you."

Anker said Ang Kaji was a family man, and leaves behind six kids.

He said guides like Ang Kaji put their life at risk every time they ascend Everest with a climber.

Anker explained the Sherpas have to pass through dangerous terrain multiple times each day to carry supplies for the climbers they are working for.

"We have to accept the consequences of what we do, and in this case it's because it's so dependent on the Nepali people, when you climb Everest you have to be using and employing Nepali people," Anker said.

He said Friday's avalanche serves as a grim reminder of just how much climbers like him put the lives of others on the line, when they set out on expeditions like Everest.

"It sort of changes that risk versus reward discussion because now you're affecting someone else's life," Anker said.

Anker said he will miss his friend Ang Kaji, and hopes the climbing community will rally together to support Sherpas and their families.

To donate to the relief effort for the Sherpas, visit