Alamo teen heading 'into thin air'

18-year-old among youngest to tackle Mount Everest

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.


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on May 5, 2010 at 7:44 am

I love it. I wish I had the balls to do that.

Like this comment
Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

Ralph N. Shirlet is a registered user.

Dear Emily,

I have flown just 5000 feet above Everest some years ago. I have heard that the cell and internet service is poor and there is no room service. From my view it seemed cloudy and cold, so I recommend the outer beaches of Penang Malaysia for a more pleasant holiday.

Ralph just slightly ROFL

Like this comment
Posted by Carrie
a resident of Monte Vista High School
on May 6, 2010 at 9:47 am

My son goes to Monte Vista and I think this is one motivated senior. My dad was asked to be on the U.S. Expedition for Mt. Everest in 1980, quite an accomplishment, he even missed my high school graduation because he was on some expedition in Nepal. Would love to see if Scott has a webpage so we can see his progress or Danville Weekly would do an update on the story. Wish Scott lots of luck!

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Posted by matt
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2010 at 10:35 am

I was inspired to climb the high mountains of the world by my father at the age of six,growing up in yosemite valley the pioneers of rock climbing the big grainte walls were all present as well as myself, one of the youngest boys to have had the oppurtunity to climb with folks that now are legends after making many of the most difficult ascents on the highest peaks in the world.After climbing the same peaks as scott before the age of 30,and some high ones in south america,my numerous trips to the himalayas climbing many peaks below 8000 meters i never manifested my dreams of doing one of the real big boys,now at the age of over 50 my shot is pretty much over so ill stick to paddelin the rivers that the high mountains glaciers feed.I envy Scott for attempting everest at such a young age and respect his parents for giving the tremendous support needed in the high altitude climbing world.Being a climbing junkie for most of my life and still being alive to talk about my fond memories of the sport,as Scott well knows after being on denali those huge avalanches are what we all need to avoid at all costs,so be careful,climb safe and enjoy the higher realms of the world, There will always be only a handfull of us who were meant to go to such places.A kindered spirit wihes you the best reguards.

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Posted by Christina
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 8, 2010 at 12:01 am

Here's the link to Scott's team's dispatches that are updated practically everyday for those whom are interested!

There are also updates on FirstAscent and Outdoor Blogs.

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Posted by Susanne
a resident of Alamo
on May 14, 2010 at 11:34 am

I'm the Mom, as parents we are just so proud of our young man.He has trained hard and focused all his energy and studied hard to graduate and secure his college prior to this trip. He has a big dream and has his families support. If you want to follow his steps log on to or Outdoor Blogs or FirstAscent. Keep Scott and all the Mountain climbers in your prayers summit is a big deal but getting home is a lot more dangerous, currently the winds are high and teams are climbing. As it gets more crowded and conditions worsen every step is full of peril.

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