Man with local ties trying to break Mt. Everest records - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Man with local ties attempting to climb Mt. Everest safe after avalanche

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ROCKTON (WREX) -

On the other side of the world, Jim Geiger is attempting to climb mount Everest. But in Rockton, his daughter Shelly Dippel and her children wait in anticipation for word Jim has made it to the top

"It's something he just truly loves doing, " says Shelly.

Jim Geiger's goal is to become the oldest American, and the first great-grandfather to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest.

"It's physical work, not to mention the air, you have to wear masks they carry up oxygen so you can breathe up there," says Shelly.

Jim, who currently lives in Sacramento, California, is not new to the sport of mountain climbing. He's been doing it for years. He's even been to Antarctica.

But his newest adventure took an alarming turn late last night, when ice came crashing down the mountain.

Good news came in the form of an email for Shelly. It was her dad. He was safe at base camp during the avalanche. She recalls the moment when she read the message, "Instant tears, they were tears of joy. Instant tears. Relief."

But not everyone was so lucky. The avalanche took the lives of 12 guides, and others are still missing. "All morning he has been watching the helicopters take bodies out all day," says Shelly.

It's being called the deadliest disaster ever on the Everest slopes, leaving Shelly to worry at times about her father's safety. "I feel like his parent. He needs to stop this nonsense and come home," she says jokingly.

But the family could not be more proud. Shelly says her two youngest boys can't help but brag. "My papa's climbing mount Everest, what's your grandpa do?"

It can take up to eight weeks to climb mount Everest. Jim's been there for about three weeks already. Also worth mentioning, he's being followed by a film crew documenting his adventure. One part of the production called 'Over the Hill,' is available online.  

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