Alabama CEO returns to Earth’s highest mountain for climb

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An Alabama-based CEO expects to return to the Earth’s highest mountain for a second time this month after a massive earthquake stopped his initial climb.

Kent Stewart, 59, will be traveling to Nepal in late April to climb Mount Everest, the Al.com reported. Stewart’s Birmingham-based Reli Title handles residential and commercial real estate transactions throughout Alabama and parts of Tennessee and Florida.

In 2014, Stewart trained to climb Everest, but he canceled after controversy struck following an avalanche killed 16 people at the mountain. He also made an attempt in 2013, but didn’t make it to the top.

Stewart got into mountaineering after he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with his wife, Julie, and the pair went on to climb five of the “Seven Summits” – the highest point on each continent. Kent Stewart climbed the sixth, and all that’s left is Everest.

“There’s more difficult mountains, but my goal from the very beginning was the climb the seven summits,” Stewart said. “I don’t have any plans to climb again after Everest if I complete it. I don’t know what I’ll move onto, but it probably won’t be mountaineering. It didn’t start out as a love of climbing. It started out as, and has remained, a personal challenge.”

If Stewart reaches the top this time, Stewart will plant flag for the University of Alabama – his alma mater.

Stewart said he’s learned from his previous attempt and feel confident. He’s learned how to keep his energy up and what to expect on certain difficult sections of the mountain.

Stewart leaves in late April and is attempting the summit in a 30-day period, while most climbers take six to nine weeks. He’ll post updates when he can on his Facebook and Instagram.

The damage to Everest was just a tiny fraction of the damage last year’s earthquake caused – the quake killed more than 8,000 people and decimated countless villages in Nepal, many of which are too remote for many rescue efforts.

Some of the Sherpas Stewart got to know saw their villages obliterated by the quake.

After his return last year, Stewart and his wife raised money through the Seven Summits Foundation, which the couple started after they first started climbing to help regions near the seven mountains. Last year, the Foundation raised about $87,000 to go toward rebuilding the remote villages in Nepal. There’s more to be done and it’s still accepting donations, but Stewart said the support so far has made a tremendous difference.

“I’m in contact with my friends there, and they report that the village is almost back to normal,” Stewart said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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