Rhys' Everest Adventure
New Forest climber Rhys Jones reached the top of Everest on May 17th, which completed his dream to become the youngest person ever to climb the highest mountains in each of the world's seven continents.
In May 2006, Rhys Jones, from Bartley in the New Forest became the youngest person ever to climb the seven highest summits on each of the world's seven continents.
After returning from his world-record breaking trip, he was met at Heathrow Airport by his mum and sister and driven back to the New Forest in a Rolls Royce provided by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.
"It's just really nice to be home and see everyone again," Rhys told BBC South Today.
Rhys reached the summit of Everest on Wednesday May 17th - his 20th birthday. It had been his ambition to climb Everest ever since joining the Scouts at the age of 11.
"I was just relieved to get to the top, but very aware that I had to concentrate on getting down safely." he said.
On top of the world
After keeping a close eye on the weather throughout the first few days of May, Rhys and his team opened a route through deep snow to The Hillary Step, which is about halfway between the south summit and the main summit before making their move up to the summit.
Crossing a crevice on a ladder
The news was eagerly awaited in Copythorne where a party was held at the local Scout hut, where Rhys is a leader. His family received the news by phone after the team had relayed their progress to Base Camp via radio. Rhys' dad, Alan was proud of his son's achievement and what it had taken: "It's focus and determination and having a dream and pursuing it to the end."
The Jones family have also received congratulations messages from Sir Chay Blythe and Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Rhys wasn't the only British teenager climbing the world's highest peak. Robin Gauntlett from Petworth in West Sussex became the youngest Briton to climb Everest, when he reached the summit from the North Face on the same day at around 3.30am (UK time).
Rhys had already climbed Denali in North America, Aconcagua in South America, Mt Vinson in Antarctica, Elbrus in Europe and Kilimanjaro in Africa.
He had an eventful few weeks acclimatising on the mountain before returning to Base Camp from Camp 3 to prepare for the final assault on the summit.
In April, the team were caught in snow storms for four days with food supplies running low and rescued another climber who had fallen off a ladder while crossing a crevice. There was also news of three Sherpas being killed nearby.
last updated: 03/04/2008 at 11:55
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