A BOY who doesn’t like heights is bidding to become the youngest Scot to climb Mount Everest.
Ryan Hume, 15, who until recently had never even scaled a Munro, plans to conquer the world’s tallest peak by the time he’s just 19.
If he makes it, Ryan would smash the record held by former St Andrews University student Geordie Stewart, who was 21 when he became the youngest Scot to reach the summit in 2011.
The Edinburgh teen was inspired to reach for the top of the world after taking part in a life-changing expedition to the Arctic earlier this year.
Until then his only experience of the great outdoors was camping with his family.
Now he is combining studying for his Highers at Liberton High School with
planning which mountains in the world he needs to conquer in order to prepare him for his Everest adventure.
He said: “I don’t like heights and a sheer drop to the ground would scare me. But I’m sure I can manage this.
“I’ve got the determination and guts.”
The teen decided to reach for the top after a gruelling expedition earlier this year organised by The Polar Academy.
Led by Bo’ness-based explorer Craig Mathieson, Ryan and a group of Edinburgh teenagers crossed 62 miles of sea ice
pulling 45kg sledges behind them and then camped out under the stars in the Arctic.
However, it’s still a world away from climbing the 29,029ft of one of the world’s most challenging peaks.
Around 1 in 15 of the 4000 or so climbers who have reached the summit since the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, lost their lives on the way back down. The area above 8000m is called the “Death Zone”.
Ryan said: “My mum is worried about it. But I’ve researched it and I’m confident I can do it.”
Mum Trish said: “Ryan came back from The Polar Academy like a changed person.
“It’s given him such confidence that he can do anything he wants to.
“We’ve had long conversations about it, and he’s determined that he can do it.”
Ryan will take a mountain winter skills course in the Cairngorms, followed by a trip to Ecuador next summer to tackle a number of 6000m peaks.
He added: “At the end of the Arctic expedition, someone asked what I’d like to do next.
“As soon as I said, ‘Climb Everest’ I knew it was something I had to do.
“I didn’t realise that I’d be the youngest Scot to do it, though.”
Explorer Craig, who set up The Polar Academy to give teenagers the chance to explore a world they might otherwise never see, said: “Ryan is a remarkable young man. When I first met him he was extremely shy and lacking in self-confidence.
“Yet it was clear there was a spark in him.
“He has the attitude and focus and I have absolutely no doubt he will one day stand atop the world’s highest peak.”
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