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St Andrews student on top of the world

Geordie Stewart at the summit

An adventurous student at the University of St Andrews is at the top of the world after conquering Mount Everest in the early hours of this morning (Thursday 26 May 2011).

Supported by patrons Bear Grylls and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, 22 year old Geordie Stewart finally realised the dream he hatched as a seventeen year old growing up in Hampshire.

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.”

Geordie is now on the descent to Base Camp, which he will reach in the next 2 – 3 days.

This achievement makes Geordie 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.

Supported by the University’s 600th Anniversary Fund, Geordie had hoped to reach the summit between 15 and 30 May.

This was Geordie’s second attempt to conquer Everest.  Last year he had been poised to conquer the 8,848 meter mountain but had to turn back less than 120 meters 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).  His undertook his first climbing challenge in 2007 when he completed the Three Peaks challenge 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 139,000 lives at sea since 1824 – and he can still be sponsored at http://www.justgiving.com/geordiestewart

Notes to News Editors

Geordie’s blog can be read at: www.geordiestewart.com/blog

Further background information is available at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2011/Title,66211,en.html

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