A 21-year-old St Andrews student is feeling on top of the world - literally.
Supported by patrons Bear Grylls and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Geordie Stewart finally realised the dream he hatched as a 17-year-old growing up in Hampshire by conquering Mount Everest - the world’s highest peak.
Adventurous Geordie reached the top of the world in the early hours of last Thursday morning, May 26.
Taking the original route pioneered by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924, Geordie successfully climbed the North East Ridge route, reaching the top at 6:45 local time (2am UK time).
Speaking to his father, Hugh, at the top of Everest, Geordie said: “This is the most amazing moment of my life,
‘‘I am standing at the highest point in the world. I can’t quite believe it.”
In his aim to become the youngest Briton to scale the ‘seven summits,’ Geordie had been supported by a grant from the university’s 600th Anniversary Fund.
Currently on his way back home, he sent a photo of himself at the top of Everest holding the official anniversary banner, with a message of thanks: “I really would not have been able to reach the summit of Mount Everest without the 600th funding and that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life, so I am eternally grateful.
‘‘ Being part of these historical celebrations gives me immense pride.”
His achievement makes him the youngest Scot to complete the Seven Summit Challenge: to climb the highest peak on each of the seven continents. These include the peaks of Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua, the cold peaks of Mt Vinson on Antarctica and Denali (Mt McKinley) in North America, the Carstensz Pyramid, a technical rock summit on the island of New Guinea, and finally the ultimate prize - Everest, the summit of Asia and the highest point in the world.
Geordie had hoped to reach the summit between May 15 and 30 on what was his second attempt to conquer Everest.
Last year, he had been poised to climb the 8848-metre mountain but had to turn back less than 120 metres from the summit in order to assist his sherpa guide and two team-mates who were suffering severe altitude sickness.
Geordie credits his love of hillwalking to the Scottish side of his family (his father is from Banffshire).
He undertook his first climbing challenge in 2007 when he completed the Three Peaks and quickly became obsessed with mountaineering.
At the age of 18, he climbed Cerro Aconcagua in South America. Since then he has conquered the highest mountains in Africa (Kilimanjaro), Europe (Elbrus), North America (McKinley), Antarctica (Vinson Massif) and Oceania (Carstensz Pyramid).
Geordie is fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution - a charity that has saved over 139000 lives at sea since 1824 - and he can still be sponsored at http://www.justgiving.com/geordiestewart
n Mount Everest is said to be the tallest mountain on Earth - it literally means the top or the head of the sky - and touches the borders of China, Tibet and Nepal. It is a part of the Himalayan range - its total height above sea level is 29,029 ft. During 1856, the name of Mount Everest was Peak XV. Its official name was given by the Geographical Society