John Beede wept as he reached Earth’s highest point.
It was 5:48 a.m. on May 21 and the 31-year-old had just become the first Las Vegas native to reach the summit of Mount Everest. With leaks in both of his oxygen bottles, he had only 11 minutes at the top.
“I was elated and absolutely exhausted, I was thrilled and I was terrified, because I still had the whole way down to go,” he said. “I was just weeping like a baby the entire time because of the contrast in emotions.”
At the summit lay three frozen bodies of climbers who had accomplished what for many seems impossible, but hadn’t lived to tell the tale. Beede was distraught, he said, but “literally on top of the world.”
Scaling Mount Everest was something he had dreamed of since he was a child.
”When you see an avalanche coming straight at you, when it’s so cold you can’t warm up your hands and feet, when your teammates are quitting, it all comes down to focusing on that original dream,” he said. “The pursuit of something like that doesn’t leave your heart easily.”
For years, he couldn’t get the thought of climbing the mountain out of his head. He had a “monster that would cast a shadow over my life every day,” he said.
Now he believes he can move on to other pursuits, including representing Las Vegas as vacation website Jauntaroo’s Chief World Explorer. Beede is one of 50 finalists competing for the one-year gig, which would pay $100,000 and all travel expenses for a year.
If he wins, he’ll travel around the world making video webisodes about Jauntaroo’s featured destinations. Beede’s first featured destination — his entry video — was Las Vegas.
The city is a beautiful place, he said, and he wanted to show it to the world because “it’s something I grew up with and it’s important to me.”
“Las Vegas is an amazing place with so much more to it than just the hotels with neon lights,” he said. “It’s an amazing travel experience for thrillseekers in both the Strip sense of the word and the outdoor adventure sense of the word.”
In order to make the final five, Beede’s entry video has to become one of the most-liked entries in the contest by Sunday. View it here.