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Roseville mountain climber dies on Mt. Everest

11:39 PM, May 3, 2011   |    comments
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Rick Hitch

ROSEVILLE, CA - Long-time Roseville coach and former construction company owner Rick Hitch died Sunday while climbing at the 23,000 foot level of Mt. Everest.

PHOTOS: Rick Hitch on Mt. Everest trek

Hitch had climbed the highest peaks on six continents and was trying to climb Mt. Everest to complete all seven peaks, known as the Seven Summits.

He collapsed as he was nearing Camp 3 on the mountain, and companions tried to revive him for 45 minutes. A cause of death is not known, but his family said he may have had a heart attack or suffered a pulmonary embolism.

"Everything that he did, he gave it 100 percent because he would've never been satisfied if he hadn't felt that he gave it everything that he had," Rick's wife of 23 years Loretta Hitch said.

Loretta had been trekking in the Himalayas with Rick as he acclimated for his climb.

"We considered each other soulmates. We did everything together," Loretta said.

Loretta had returned to Roseville on April 18 as Rick continued to prepare.

Hitch had owned a successful construction company for many years and was well-known as a coach in the Roseville community. He had been coach or assistant coach on 29 different soccer, softball and swimming teams over the years.

"He loved life. He wanted to live life to its utmost," Loretta said. 

Although very successful as a soccer coach, Loretta said her husband believed there were more important things than winning.

"'Know the path that you want to take and the sacrifices that you're willing to give for that, because you're going to have to work hard in order to reach your goal,'" Loretta said Rick would tell his players.

Hitch was going to 55 during his climb up Everest.

Loretta said the family had discussed the risks.

"And I said, the question that you need to ask yourself is if you don't do it, will you go through life regretting that decision?" Loretta said. "And he said, 'Yes I would. I would regret not giving it a try.'"


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