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Garrett Madison is Interviewed about Mount Everest's Climbing Season; May Jobs Numbers; Dev Shah is Interviewed about Winning the Spelling Bee. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 08:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: So, this year's Mt. Everest climbing season has now come to a close. At least 12 people have lost their lives, five others remain missing this morning. This makes it the deadliest climbing season in eight years.

So, you may recall yesterday we told you about this really remarkable rescue effort. A Napoli sherpa abandoned a climb to save a Malaysian man who he saw clinging to a rope in an area that's known as the death zone. It's called that because temperatures there can drop to 86 degrees below zero.

RAHEL SOLOMON: The sherpa then hauled the climber down some 1,900 feet down the mountain to an area where he could then be airlifted to safety. That hero sherpa tells CNN it was one of the hardest things he has ever done.


GELJE SHERPA, SAVED A MAN FROM EVEREST'S "DEATH ZONE": It was like massive difficult because I did like more than like 55 rescues. But it was very like hardest in my life. I did like long line of normal rescues, everything, but this -- it was just like very hard rescue. Like, very hard to do the rescue like around the death zone.


SOLOMON: I'll say.

Joining us now is Garrett Madison. He is an American mountain guide who has reached the Everest summit 13 sometimes since 2006.

Garrett, good morning. Welcome to the program.

As Erica just said, it's the deadliest climbing season in eight years, I believe it is. Why is that? What's happening?

GARRETT MADISON, HIGH ALTITUDE MOUNTAIN GUIDE AND EXPEDITION LEADER: Well, this season was colder than normal on Mount Everest, partially due perhaps to climate change. The temperatures were well below their averages that we've had the last few years. So, climbers struggled and suffered up high dealing with these colder temps throughout the summit period from mid-to-late May.

HILL: Is there also an issue -- and I remember having a discussion about this last year over concerns about crowding, that there may just be too many people trying to summit. Is that playing a role as well?

MADISON: Well, Mount Everest is an iconic mountain. A very magical place. And many people want to visit the mountain and climb to the top. So, every year we see more and more demand for climbers wanting to go to Mount Everest. And the northern side of the mountain in Tibet has been closed the last few seasons.


So, Nepal's been the only access point to the mountain. So, we have seen more and more climbers over the years.

SOLOMON: Garrett, I think climbing Mount Everest is a thing that people throw around a lot, you know, as just sort of one of those lofty, no pun intended, goals. But what goes into training for something like that?

MADISON: Oh, lots of other climbing around the world. We require our climbers to have been on several 5,000-meter, 6,000-meter peaks up to 20,000 feet to prove that they're competent, capable and prepared for a Mount Everest expedition. We certainly want our climbers to be ready to take on the challenges and the death zone at 8,000 meters, 25,000 feet, where life is very fragile.

HILL: Does anything that you've seen over the last -- over this past season, would that ever give you pause or change what you would maybe say to some of your clients?

MADISON: Well, I think every time we go up the mountain and we realize we're potentially closer to death, it makes us feel more alive. So, I think I'll keep going back as long as I can. The views from the top are stunning and spectacular. And to share that experience with our team, other climbers who have had this bucket list goal for a long time and been working towards it and training for many years, it's very rewarding for me to share that with them.

HILL: Garrett Madison, appreciate you joining us with your insight, your perspective this morning. Thanks.

SOLOMON: And the latest monthly jobs report out just moments ago. Our business team crunching the numbers as we speak.

HILL: Plus, the 14-year-old who was just crowned the best speller in the nation, he's going to join us live.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Bailey (ph), you ready to challenge these 11 incredible spellers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, we're ready. Whoo. Whoo. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's B-day, Dr. Bailey.




SOLOMON: Welcome back.

And this just into CNN. New data from the U.S. Labor Department shows that the U.S. economy added 339,000 new jobs in May, much more than we were expecting.

HILL: That is way beyond expectations.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joining us now.

I mean, I can't keep track of this stuff because I don't know what's going on but I don't cover the economy.


HILL: This is like yet again way beyond expectations.

ROMANS: It's hot to the touch. Hot to the touch in the job market. It's 339,000. I mean that is way more. Soaring past expectations. And that is the most we've seen since January of this year. And the jobless rate going up to 3.7 percent, but going up for a really good reason because a lot of people, more than 100,000 people, entered the job market. So, they're out there trying to get work. And so that means the jobless raise rises a little bit.

So, let's look at the - the graph of that jobless rate. You can see, it's been in this trend of 3.4 to 3.7 percent for months and months and months. That is historically low. That is a tight labor market. That means that there are workers who are able to find jobs if they want one. In fact, there are more - there are more job openings than there are workers to fill them.

When you look at jobs added, that number, that 339,000, I told you it was the best since the beginning of the year. But the prior two months behind me, you can see, those were revised higher as well. So, the tally here, since the Fed started raising interest rates 14 months ago, we have added 5.1 million jobs. And it was in almost every category you saw job growth. Maybe flat in manufacturing, but everywhere else. In offices, in hospitals, in bars, in restaurants, in hotels, adding jobs here in this economy.

And so for some context, in 2019 the average monthly job gain was 163,000. And that was a strong economy in 2019 before the pandemic. We're running twice that rate right now, you guys.

HILL: Wow. ROMANS: And now, what does this mean for the Fed? The Fed has been trying to cool all of this down. We saw wages grow 4.3 percent. A little bit cooler than they have been but still pretty warm here. It might mean the Fed still has more work to do to make sure that you don't have inflation percolating in this economy.

HILL: Wow.

SOLOMON: Well, Christine, it's a great point because two of the bright spots have been the labor market and consumer spending and the relationship between the labor market powering consumer spending.

ROMANS: That's right. And that's why I think the consumer has been able to weather all of these worries about inflation because the jobs are still plentiful here. That's just bottom line, plentiful jobs.

HILL: Yes.

ROMANS: And we know earlier this week Nela Richardson from ADP told me, look, small businesses are leading a lot of this hiring because some of the big companies have sort of paused their hiring plans. That makes the small businesses, for the first time in a long time, more competitive and able to get workers.

HILL: Which is great, too, because you that competitive small business.

ROMANS: Yes. Absolutely.

HILL: And we talk so much about building up small businesses.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

HILL: I mean, wins all around this morning. Happy Friday.

SOLOMON: Uh-huh.

HILL: Sort of.


SOLOMON: Christine Romans - well, I mean -

HILL: A cautious happy - a cautious happy Friday.

ROMANS: Yes. I mean happy - if you're at the Fed, though, are you happy at the Fed, I don't know.

The Fed would like to see things cool down. But for the typical person, these are good numbers.

HILL: I'm going to go with typical person because I fall into that category, as opposed to the Fed category.


HILL: So, there we go.


SOLOMON: We'll take it. It's good for mainstream right now.

Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SOLOMON: All right, let's talk sports, shall we.

HILL: Let's do a little sports.

SOLOMON: The Denver Nuggets cruising past the Miami Heat in game one of the NBA finals. Two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic led the way with a 27-point, 14-assist and ten rebounds in Denver's 104-93 win. He is the second player to record a triple-double in his first NBA finals game. By the way, teams that win game one on their home floor go on to win the series nearly 78 percent of the time.

HILL: Wow.

SOLOMON: Game two is Sunday night in Denver.

HILL: The Heat don't like that stat. They're going to try to turn that around.

SOLOMON: Now Andy Scholes -

HILL: They're focusing on the 22 percent.

SOLOMON: Andy Scholes brought that to us earlier, and incredible. We'll see.

HILL: Yes. We will be watching Sunday night.

Meantime, Tom Brady shutting down all the rumors and the speculation that he may unretire again and make an NFL comeback with the Radars. The 45-year-old telling "Sports Illustrated" he is officially moving on for real this time. He totally means it, you guys. It's going to happen. Moving on to TV and being a minority owner in Las Vegas.


TIM BRADY, 7-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: I'm certain I'm not playing again. So, I've tried to make that clear. And I hate to continue to profess that because I've already told people that lots of times. But I'm looking forward to my - my broadcasts job at Fox next year.

[08:45:03] I'm looking forward to the opportunity ahead with the - with the Raiders. And we're in the process of that, along with the other different things that I'm a part of professionally and in my personal life just spending as much time with my kids as I can and seeing them grow up and support the different things that they have going on. And that's a very important job. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SOLOMON: I mean, he says he's certain he's not playing again, but is he though?

HILL: I don't know.


HILL: I don't know. We'll have to ask John Berman, his number one fan. Maybe Berman has some insight.

SOLOMON: Yes. Seriously.

All right, how do you spell champion? That one's easy. But -


DEV SHAH: P-h-i-l-e, psammophile.



SOLOMON: The 14-year-old winner of the National Spelling Bee, Dev Shah, will joins us live next.



DEV SHAH: P-s-a-m-m-o-p-h-i-l-e, psammophile.




HILL: I love the look of shock on his face. That is Dev Shah. He's the champion for this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee. Shah is an eighth grader from Largo, Florida, who correctly spelled that word you just heard, psammophile. By the way, in case you would like to know what that is, because we didn't know either -


HILL: It's an organism that prefers or thrives in sandy soils or areas. So perhaps it would be very happy in some areas of Florida.

Dev Shah joining us now from National Harbor, Maryland.

Dev, it's so great to have you here this morning. Rahel and I -

SOLOMON: Congratulations.

HILL: Congratulations.

We checked in with you a little bit in the break.


HILL: You said this still - this still hasn't sunk in. But you've got it. You did it. This is your third time. You won. What was that moment like for you?

SHAH: It was surreal. I - like, I didn't even know if it was happening, but -- if it was real or not, but it clearly happened.

SOLOMON: And hopefully you're feeling a little bit more grounded this morning, Dev. So, you had previously tied for 51st place in 2019. Then you finished tied for 76th in 2021. Did you do anything different this year to train?

SHAH: Yes, I reviewed my like missed words, the words that I had trouble with more, and I focused more on like roots, so in the case that I get a word I don't know, I could piece it out together.

SOLOMON: Roots. Remember those from the SAT days. Very - very helpful, Dev.

HILL: Focusing on the roots. You know, I think a lot of people, we - we watch this. By a lot of people I mean me. I watch and I think, some of these words I wouldn't know where to begin. How important is it that you have those roots in your head so that when you hear a word you go, ah, I think I know how that can start and end?

SHAH: It's pretty important because it could be used as a backup plan, too, because when you're on stage, the nerves do get to you, even though if - or even though if spellers don't show it, the nerves do get to us. And pressure does get to us. So, if you forget a word, you can still piece it back together, like a backup plan.

SOLOMON: And yet you kept your calm under pressure.

Dev, what do you enjoy most about being a spelling bee champ all of these years as you've taken part in the different championships?

SHAH: It feels good. It feels like a dream come true, I guess.

HILL: Yes? A pretty great dream.

You're the only -- as I understand it, you are the only representative for the state of Florida. And you take home the championship, which is pretty impressive. And $50,000. Any big plans for that big chunk of change you're taking?

SHAH: I'll probably just split it and relax, I guess. I don't know.

HILL: Did you -

SHAH: I don't know yet. I didn't even know if I was going to win yesterday. So, I didn't plan too far ahead. SOLOMON: Dev -- fair enough. Fair point.

Dev, can I ask, in your normal everyday 14-year-old life, are you just like whipping out some of these words that Erica and I are still trying to figure out what they mean, or is this just for special occasions and championships?

SHAH: Special occasions. I don't - I don't talk about this in public very often.

HILL: No? Oh, no? Listen, I think you should shout it from the rooftops because you are - it is so impressive what you've done. I bet your family was pretty excited. What was that conversation like after yesterday?

SHAH: It was good. I -- like my parents and my brother were really proud. And that made me happy.

HILL: Yes.

SOLOMON: Well, Dev, we're so - we're so proud of you. Congratulations.

SHAH: Thank you.

SOLOMON: If it means anything at all, Erica and I both were, once upon a time, great spellers too.

HILL: Yes I mean, fifth grade, nailed it.

SOLOMON: A long time ago.

HILL: Dev, congrats. It's great to have you with us this morning. Good luck with everything.

SHAH: Thank you. Thank you.

SOLOMON: That's awesome.

Well, coming up and ahead on CNN, former President Trump now responding to CNN's exclusive reporting that prosecutors have him on tape acknowledging that he held on to a classified document once he left office. We'll tell you what he said.



HILL: All right, if you want to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, get out that calendar, it's time to start planning because he's moving out.


BILLY JOEL, MUSICIAN (singing): That's what it's all about. Mama, if that's movin' up then I'm movin' out.


HILL: Madison Square Garden officials confirming Billy Joel will end his record-breaking ten-year residency at The Garden. It's not ending today, people. Don't worry. You still have time. His final ten performances will actually kick off in October, concluding with his 150th lifetime show. That's going to happen in July of 2024. So, there's time.

SOLOMON: And speaking of time, for a bit of perspective, Joel first performed at The Garden in 1978. He holds the record for most consecutive performances by any artist at Madison Square Garden. And, Erica, I, for one, don't think that you've seen him enough.

HILL: I might go back.

SOLOMON: Three times is not enough.

HILL: You know what he's well known for that people talk about a lot, and this is true, he saves those first couple of rows of tickets because at some of his early shows maybe the people who could afford those seats weren't enjoying it as much.


HILL: So, what they do at every show, and I've been fortunate enough to play ticket fairy at Madison Square Garden.

SOLOMON: I love that.

HILL: It's amazing.


HILL: They will go, members of his crew will go up into the nose bleed section and they find people and they bring them down to those front two rows.

SOLOMON: That's incredible. Yes.

HILL: Those are people who really want to be at that concert and those are the people you want in those front rows who are really enjoying every moment of it.


SOLOMON: True, true fans that maybe couldn't afford it. Yes.

HILL: Yes. He's got a lot of true fans and he is really good to them and to his crew.

SOLOMON: Absolutely.

HILL: So, congrats on a great run. Not over yet.

SOLOMON: Not yet, but we are over for this show.

HILL: We are done. You have a great Friday.


HILL: We're heading into the weekend.

SOLOMON: "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts now and I'll see you tomorrow morning.