(San Francisco Chronicle) – Dan Fredinburg, the San Francisco man who died in the Mount Everest avalanche triggered by the Nepal earthquake, was invariably described in news stories as a Google executive. But friends and colleagues said he was much more than a tech exec.
Fredinburg, they said, was a funny and inspirational man who melded his work, his personal interests and adventures with his desire to change the world — with a particular focus on climate change.
In addition to his work at Google, where he was the head of privacy for Google X, Fredinburg helped found Save the Ice, a campaign to educate people on climate change.
“Dan was a mountaineer and explorer because he loved to climb and see the world,” said Dr. Mike North, co-founder of Save the Ice. “His purpose in the world was much bigger. Much of it revolved around calling attention to how we as individuals can make a difference.”
Fredinburg, 33, died after he sustained a major head injury when his climbing team was caught in an avalanche caused by the powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal that killed thousands across the country.
Fredinburg was climbing Everest for the third time, hoping to reach the summit, and raising money for a pair of Nepalese orphanages. He also was posting pictures on Instagram, Twitter and other social media on behalf of Save the Ice, and some reports say he was photographing or mapping Everest for Google.
A native of Arkansas, Fredinburg studied at UC Irvine and later Stanford before working for three years as a software engineer at Boeing, according to his profile on Google Plus. In 2007, he began working as head of privacy for Google X, the company’s innovation laboratory, which oversees products like the self-driving car and Google Glass.