An 18-year-old from Alamo is hoping to be one of the youngest to ever climb Mount Everest, and his parents are backing him all the way.
Scott Jones graduated early from his senior class at Monte Vista High School to make the springtime trek to Nepal. His parents helped by arranging some home schooling so he could leave on time for the ascent, which is scheduled to be anywhere from May 15 to 30.
Scott's father, Jeff, said his son got the idea for an Everest climb from watching "Beyond The Limit," a Discovery Channel show about the world's highest mountain.
"Climbing is kind of his passion," Jeff said. "He's climbed Mount Shasta, Mount Whitney, Mount Rainier, Mount McKinley and Mount Kilimanjaro."
Jeff flew to Nepal with his son and accompanied him part-way up the mountain, to base camp. That took two weeks and a climb to 17,500 feet.
"I'm definitely not a mountain climber, it's my son that has the passion," Jeff said. "My going to base camp with him was basically to support his passion."
On the plane trip, Jeff read the book "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer, about a team that loses a number of members while attempting to summit.
Jeff said he was already aware of the dangers his son faces.
"Of course it's very, very dangerous. Historically, 10 percent of the people who have made it to the summit have died. Lately, it's 1 out of 100," Jeff said. "The top of the mountain, that's an area that if you're injured, a lot of times they're unable to get you down."
He said Scott is in good hands, though. Scott's guide has been to the top of Everest more than anyone else, except a sherpa. There's one guide for each climber, and a large sherpa team as well.
"We've done everything we can to minimize the risk for him," Jeff said. He added that Scott calls about 5 times a week.
"He has a satellite phone, which we had to smuggle intro Nepal," Jeff said. "He calls almost every morning."
Right now, Scott is getting used to the altitude by doing rotations between the different camps.
"He's in his second rotation," Jeff said. "He's going to camp two which is 22,000, then he'll go up to camp three -- 23,500 feet. His third rotation, he goes camp one, camp two, camp three really fast, one night in each camp then back to base camp."
Scott's team is expected to try for the summit between May 15 and May 30. Jeff said that depends on the weather.
"The weather window has got to open," Jeff explained. "They need a typhoon somewhere. It pushes the jet stream off the top of the mountain and makes it calm enough that they can make it to the summit."
Two 17-year-olds have already made it to the top of Everest, and there's a 13-year-old currently on the mountain. Still, at 18, Scott would be among the four youngest to ever reach the peak.
Jeff said Scott is already set for college. He'll be attending -- where else? -- the University of Colorado, with campuses at the highest altitudes in the United States.