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Marietta man summits Everest & Lhotse in 24 hours

8:19 PM, May 29, 2013   |    comments
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Photo courtesy WXIA

MARIETTA, Ga. (WXIA) -- Michael Grigsby, 42, joined a very exclusive club of mountain climbers a couple of weeks ago.

He became the fourth climber in the world to make it to the summits of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, and Lhoste, the fourth highest, within 24 hours.

"I don't know if I'm a risk-taker as much as a risk-identifier and controller," Grigsby told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie from his home in Marietta. "I control all the risks when I can and deal with the other ones when they come."

After training for 2 1/2 years with Alpine Ascents International, Grigsby began his final ascent on Mount Everest on May 18.

"It's one of those things you only get to do once in your life," Grigsby said. "I took a picture of my entire family to the top. I wanted them to be with me. It was very emotional."

But Grigsby wasn't done.

Before tackling Everest, his mountain guides committed to take him on a second climb up Lhotse.

"Most people when they get back down from Everest are done," he said. "Well, when I got down I had to turn back around and climb this other thing. I didn't honestly have any idea how difficult it was going to be until I got to the top of Everest. Looking down on Lhotse and seeing the route, you think, 'Oh, my goodness. How am I going to do that?'"

Together, the two climbs were incredibly dangerous.

Grigsby temporarily lost vision in his right eye, and he ran out of water and oxygen at one point.

"It can get down to 40 degrees below zero and 100 mile per hour winds, so you have to be prepared," Grigsby said.

Grigsby is self-employed, so he had the flexibility to take off two months for this journey.

He spent tens of thousands of dollars on all the equipment, training and expert guides to lead the way.

After enjoying a warm welcome home from his family in Marietta over the weekend, Grigsby admits he's ready to tackle another mountain -- or two.


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