Dan Fredinburg

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Dan Fredinburg
Daniel Paul Fredinburg

(1981-09-08)September 8, 1981
DiedApril 25, 2015(2015-04-25) (aged 33)
Cause of deathHead injuries resulting from an avalanche
EducationUniversity of California, Irvine
University of Southern California
Occupation(s)Manager and head of privacy at Google X

Daniel Paul Fredinburg (September 8, 1981 – April 25, 2015) was an American Google executive, climate activist, explorer, and entrepreneur. He died on April 25, 2015, of head injuries incurred in an avalanche at Mount Everest's Base Camp triggered by the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Fredinburg grew up on a farm in Norfork, Arkansas, and left home at the age of 15 to attend the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs.[3][4]

He graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2004, earned a master's degree in intelligent robotics from the University of Southern California, and completed other graduate coursework at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.[5][6]


Fredinburg began working for Google in 2007.[5] He was head of privacy at Google X,[7] an advisor on Project Loon,[8] and the co-founder of The Laundry SF[citation needed] and Save the Ice.[9][non-primary source needed] He launched Google Adventure Team, an effort to map geological areas and formations on Earth at a similar level of detail to Google Earth's street-level view of cities, towns, and other populated areas (including the Great Barrier Reef, the floors of the oceans, and high and/or remote mountains and mountain ranges, including the Himalayas).[10][11][12][13][14]

Fredinburg was co-inventor of more than a dozen software technologies that were patented by Google.[15]

Prior to working at Google, Fredinburg worked on future combat systems in the defense industry at Boeing.[16]


Although non-disclosure agreements prevented Google from commenting on the "two or three different Google projects" related to Fredinburg's expedition work,[4] at a minimum, he was one of four company employees documenting Mount Everest ascent routes for a Google Earth-type project.[17] In a 2013 interview for Time magazine, Fredinburg explained the company's goal as "Different adventurers and people who want to explore from the comfort of their homes have the opportunity to explore and see these different corners of the world."[18][19] According to The Independent, Fredinburg's job title at the time was "Google 'I' adventurer", and the project goal was to offer the experience of climbing the world's highest mountains to people who, "lack the willingness to actually, like, climb a mountain."[20][21]

On April 24, 2015, Fredinburg unrolled a banner on top of Kala Patthar, for the climate change cause SaveTheIce.org.[22][23]

Fredinburg, who had been on the mountain for three weeks[6] and who had spoken of his narrow escape from the 2014 Mount Everest avalanche which killed 16 Nepalese guides,[4][24] was one of four American citizens killed in the 2015 Mount Everest-South Base Camp disaster, following the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Five Sherpas carried Fredinburg's body down the mountain, to a U.S. Army Special Forces helicopter evacuating climbers several days after the avalanche.[25][26]

Although he had not yet reached the summit of Everest, Fredinburg had topped four of the Seven Summits using the same pair of hiking boots, including Mount Elbrus in Europe, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Aconcagua in South America, all three of which he had photographed for Google. Fredinburg likened Aconcagua to a "gates of hell" experience, telling Time there were mule skeletons sticking up out of the ground.[19][27] Fredinburg also climbed the difficult and relatively inaccessible Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid), the highest peak in Oceania, and was briefly jailed after descending into the nearby Grasberg mine.[27][28]

Social causes[edit]

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Fredinburg organized a relief effort in New York City, Staten Island, with the aim to support victims of the storm who became homeless.[29]

A 2014 SaveTheIce.org project in the Baltic states was featured in the Discovery Digital Networks production In the Making.[30]

Fredinburg founded The Laundry, a San Francisco-based business incubator geared towards building a community and productive environment for social impact.[5][31]

Personal life[edit]

Fredinburg dated actress Sophia Bush from 2013 to 2014.[32][33] The two remained close friends after breaking up.[34] Upon learning of Fredinburg's death, Bush stated, "There are no adequate words. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. I'm devastated and simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him."[34]


A Crowdrise page set up raised approximately $100,000 for relief in Nepal.[35]

A 501(c)(3) foundation was created in Fredinburg's name; "Dan Fredinburg Foundation" aims to raise funds indefinitely to power social movements around invention, adventure, and action.[36]

LiveDan, a campaign website, was launched to promote the principles which guided Fredinburg's life.[37]

A new building at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) called the Creativity and Innovation Complex is being constructed and is set to open in 2019. The first floor will be named the Dan Fredinburg Technology Center in memory of ASMSA Class of 1999 alumnus Dan Fredinburg.[12]


  1. ^ a b California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  2. ^ Conor Dougherty (April 25, 2015). "'Google Adventurer' Dies on Mt. Everest". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  3. ^ Bob Heist (April 27, 2015). "Dan Fredinburg: Norfork native killed in avalanche". The Baxter Bulletin. Retrieved April 27, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c Carole Cadwalladr (April 25, 2015). "Google's Dan Fredinburg was 'charismatic and always the centre of attention'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Startup Grind Jackson Hole Hosts Dan Fredinburg (Google)". Archived from the original on June 24, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Lindsay Kimble (April 25, 2015). "Sophia Bush Speaks of Heartbreak as Ex-Boyfriend Is First American Confirmed Dead in Nepal Earthquake". People. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  7. ^ Google Exec Dies In Quake-Triggered Avalanche Sky News. 26 April 2015
  8. ^ Gardiner Harris (April 25, 2015). "At Least 10 Everest Climbers Killed as Nepal Quake Sets Off Avalanche". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  9. ^ "Save the Ice". Archived from the original on 2015-04-08. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  10. ^ Gregory Korte and Aamer Madhani (April 26, 2015). "Mount Everest avalanche survivor: 'I had to survive'". USA Today. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Phil Helsel and Cassandra Vinograd (April 26, 2015). "Nepal Earthquake: Dan Fredinburg, Tom Taplin Killed on Mount Everest". NBC News. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  12. ^ Goldman, David (April 26, 2015). "Google executive killed in Nepal earthquake while hiking Everest". CNN Money. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "Remembering Dan Fredinburg". OutsideOnline. April 27, 2015. Archived from the original on May 30, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  14. ^ Heather Timmons (April 27, 2015). "A Google engineer killed on Everest photographed some of the world's highest peaks for "Street View"". Quartz. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  15. ^ "Patents by Inventor Dan Fredinburg". Justia. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Startup Grind Jackson Hole Hosted Dan Fredinburg (Google) | Startup Grind". Archived from the original on 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  17. ^ Peter Holley (April 28, 2015). "Before the Everest avalanche, four Americans were exactly where they wanted to be". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Nolan Feeney (April 27, 2015). "What Mount Everest Victim Dan Fredinburg Said About Visiting Nepal in 2013". Time. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  19. ^ a b Nolan Feeney (March 18, 2013). "Google Maps Explores World's Tallest Mountains". Time. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  20. ^ Orr, Gillian (20 March 2013). "Straight On, Then Left at Base Camp". The Independent. ProQuest 1317828451.
  21. ^ Fard, Maggie Fazeli (2 April 2014). "Scale Mount Everest from the comfort of your smartphone". The Washington Post. ProQuest 1322127137.
  22. ^ "Day 20: Saving ice on top of Kala Patthar. Everest Basecamp in the background is a climate change hotspot". Instagram. April 24, 2015. Archived from the original on 2021-12-25.
  23. ^ "Save the Ice press release" (PDF). SaveTheIce.org. April 25, 2015.
  24. ^ "Climate change makes risks of climbing Mount Everest even greater, say scientists". The Daily Telegraph. April 23, 2014.
  25. ^ Phoebe Luckhurst (April 30, 2015). "Daniel Wallace on being airlifted from Mount Everest with the body of Dan Fredinburg". Evening Standard. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  26. ^ Seth Robson (May 1, 2015). "Ospreys, helicopters and 150 US troops joining quake relief efforts in Nepal". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Natalie Spencer (February 18, 2015). "The World According to Dan Fredinburg". Startup Grind. Archived from the original on June 28, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  28. ^ Lance Ulanoff (April 29, 2015). "Google's Dan Fredinburg lived life as an adventure". Mashable. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  29. ^ Tiare Dunlap and Laura Lane (April 28, 2015). "Friends Gather to Remember Everest Avalanche Victim Dan Fredinburg". People Magazine. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  30. ^ In The Making (September 4, 2014). "A Viking Vacation".
  31. ^ "Google Explorer Killed on Everest Raised Awareness About Climate". Bloomberg Business. April 26, 2015.
  32. ^ JR Tungol (April 30, 2013). "Sophia Bush's New Boyfriend: Google Program Manager Dan Fredinburg". International Business Times. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  33. ^ Melody Chiu (August 6, 2014). "Sophia Bush and Boyfriend Dan Fredinburg Have Split". People. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  34. ^ a b Weisman, Aly (April 27, 2015). "Actress Sophia Bush posts tribute to her Google exec ex-boyfriend killed on Everest during earthquake". Business Insider. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  35. ^ "Click here to support Celebrating Dan by Dan".
  36. ^ [crowdrise.com/celebratingdan]
  37. ^ "Dan Fredinburg's Loved Ones Launch Campaign Dedicated To 'Living Life As An Adventure'". April 27, 2015.

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