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Aiming for the top

Friday 19 March 2010

Geordie Stewart in St Andrews (photo: Ben Goulter)

Geordie is taking a year out from his degree at the University of St Andrews to complete the seven summits challenge (photo: Ben Goulter).

A 20 year old student from the University of St Andrews is heading for the summit of Mount Everest in an attempt to become the youngest Briton to conquer the highest mountain on every continent.

Geordie Stewart, who grew up idolising adventurer Bear Grylls, will head to Kathmandu early next month to prepare for the challenge of a lifetime.

Described by legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes as "an ambitious young man with genuine determination", Geordie will spend his 21st birthday (5 May) on Everest.  Spending approximately 6 weeks on its 600 million year old slopes, Geordie hopes to reach the summit between 19 and 31 May.

Growing up in Hampshire, Geordie developed a love of hillwalking through the Scottish side of his family (his father is from Banffshire).  When he departs from London on 3 April, Geordie will begin to realise a dream hatched when he was just seventeen years old, after reading a book on Grylls.

He said, "Since the age of seventeen it has been my dream to become the youngest Briton to climb the real Seven Summits – the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. To date I have climbed the highest in North and South America, Africa and Europe.  Everest has been a dream of mine for many years and I will be attempting the Northeast ridge route on my way to the top of the world."

Mount Everest, which stands at 8,848m, is the highest mountain in the world, and among the most dangerous – its biggest challenge, known as the "Death Zone," is so called because after 8,000m the body can no longer acclimatise and human life becomes unsustainable.   To make it to the top, Geordie will need to spend weeks acclimatising to dangerously low levels of oxygen.

Geordie will take the technically challenging Tibetan Northeast ridge route, famously used by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in their 1924 expedition.

Geordie, who is taking a year out of his degree in History and Theology to complete the challenge, has funded all of his climbs so far himself, coaching youngsters at football in his spare time to raise spare cash.

Geordie is already well-prepared for the challenge, having recently completed Denali, the highest mountain in North America and his hardest challenge to date.  In 2008, he became one of the youngest Britons ever to summit Aconcagua – the highest mountain in South America standing at 6962m – before reaching the peak of Kilimanjaro on his 19th birthday.

During the same year he reached the highest point in Europe by summiting Mount Elbrus in Russia.

As well as aiming to meet his personal challenge, Geordie is fundraising for Help for Heroes, a fundraising body for wounded servicemen.

He said, "I want to combine this ambition with helping a worthy cause that is close to my heart.  As a fit and healthy 20 year old, it is harrowing for me to think that every day people younger than myself are coming back from wars all over the world without limbs and unable to achieve the goals they set themselves. Help for Heroes gives them the support they need and deserve."

The young adventurer will be supported all the way by his hero Bear Grylls and Sir Ranulph, who said, "Geordie’s attitude is inspiring and I am proud to support his challenge. I wish him all the best in this record attempt and for his exciting future as an explorer."

For further information visit: www.geordiestewart.com

Geordie Stewart on Mount Elbrus, Russia

Acclimatising on the slopes of Mount Elbrus, Russia.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

GEORDIE IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW ON HIS MOBILE: 07881 448 379 OR EMAIL geordie.stewart@hotmail.co.uk, OR IN PERSON IN LONDON BETWEEN NOW AND 3 APRIL.

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

IMAGES OF GEORDIE ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Communications

Manager on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref:  Geordie 190310

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