A Minneapolis climber was on the top of the world – quite literally – last week when he successful climbed Mount Everest.
Andrew Towne's previous attempt to climb the world's highest peak was sabotaged mid-ascent in April 2015 when a 7.8 earthquake hit, killing 19 people at the Everest base camp, according to international exchange organization Youth For Understanding.
But the Grand Forks native was determined to finish the most imposing challenge in his Seven Summits catalogue, and after reaching the peak he's one of the few who can claim to have summited the largest mountain in all seven continents.
He was in a group of 25 people, including 15 Nepalese sherpas, who reached the 29,035 feet peak around noon on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old was back in the U.S. on Sunday to attend the Youth for Understanding annual meeting, with the Star Tribune reporting the group first inspired him to travel and explore when he was at high school in Grand Forks.
“By the time the summit loomed in front of me, I really didn’t care about anything other than getting to a place where I could take a nap without dying,” Towne said. “I absent-mindedly continued putting one foot in front of the other until I was standing on top. I no longer cared about food or water."
Few than 300 people in history have completed the Seven Summit challenge, according to 7Summits.com.
The Grand Forks Herald notes that Towne, who works for an international consulting firm in the Twin Cities, has used his climbs to raise money for Youth for Understanding.
The Everest climb had its share of drama though, with the newspaper noting he experienced violent wind storms, shredded tents and snapped poles.