Iowans make history on Mount Everest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans make history on Mount Everest

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A University of Northern Iowa professor and his cousin become the first Iowans to summit Mount Everest from the north route.

The men are among only three other Iowans to ever climb the tallest mountain in the world.

UNI business professor Andy Anderson and his cousin John Anderson climbed Mount Everest from the north, the side facing China, which is said to be the harder route up the mountain.

The other three Iowans to summit Everest did so from the southern route.

 "It is pretty daunting. You know Mount Everest is big, but then you get to base camp and actually see the size and the whole mountain. It is huge. It really hits you hard at that point," said John Anderson.

 Then begins the 37-day, slow trek up the mountain; the body fighting the altitude with every step.

"Every time you move up to a higher elevation, you are miserable. You are just completely miserable. You have headaches. I was vomiting from the altitude," describes Andy Anderson.

Andy says the altitude is the toughest component, no matter how fit you are.

 "The mountain doesn't care, the most important thing to success is mental toughness and patience," said Andy.

The Andersons conquering the challenging conditions on May 23rd, waving the Iowa flag on top the highest peak.

"Sitting on the summit was pure elation. We did get to see the sunrise over the world, on top of the world, which is pretty cool," said Andy.

But the accomplishment is about more than an item on the bucket list.

John has served in the National Guard for 25 years, with two tours in Afghanistan.

"The way I've dealt with reintegration coming back to the U.S. was climbing. You form tight bonds with your climbing partner which is militaristic, and just being outdoors and being active, I think it really helps deal with those issues," said John.

The cousins have partnered with the UNI Veteran's Affairs Office to take veterans on hiking, climbing and snowshoeing trips.

They hope to use their Mount Everest climb to raise awareness for the program and help veterans throughout Iowa adjust back to civilian life.

For more information on how you can be involved in the program contact the Andersons through their Iowans for Everest Facebook page.

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