SUGAR CITY — Every year, about 800 people try to climb Mt. Everest. Hunter Galbraith, 24, of Sugar City wants to be one of them.
Standing at about 29,029 feet, the highest mountain in the world cannot sustain human life. Even to a seasoned climber, Everest is a force to be reckoned with. Hunter doesn’t let it bother him, though.
“I’m not nervous,” he told EastIdahoNews.com, “I’m used to hard stuff.”
Hunter has been accepted into an expedition leaving in April 2024. While that may seem a little way down the road, he is already preparing himself.
“There are four stages to climbing Everest,” he said. “First, get in (an expedition). Second, you have to pay for it. Then, you train for it. And then you hike it.”
Getting accepted into an expedition was, in and of itself, a challenge. “I got rejected four times,” Hunter said, laughing. He had been applying for an expedition led by the Elite Exped since he was 19 years old. Elite Exped is owned by Nirmal Purja, the climber made famous by the movie “14 Peaks.” Hunter says his age was a concern for the expedition agency, but finally, after some convincing, they approved his request.
Right now, the young climber is focused on both training and raising money for the expedition of a lifetime. The price tag for the 60-day trek is $65,000. He is hoping for a sponsorship but recently took to Instagram and YouTube to ask for ideas.
“I don’t usually put myself out here like this,” he says in the video, “but I need you guys’ help.” He goes on to ask
for shares, follows, and ideas for fundraising. Hunter admits he’s at a loss about his next steps with this particular challenge; it’s all new territory for him.
Meanwhile, Hunter continues to train.
“I’m running 60 miles a week right now. Soon, I’ll be running 85 miles a week,” he said.
He is also planning several climbs over the summer, including the Scout Mountain Ultra race in Pocatello, which is 100 miles long. He is also scheduled to climb Argentina’s Aconcagua in February of next year.
Hunter’s adventures started when he was a child. His father, Kimball Galbraith, would pack the family up and set off into the wilderness.
“It was all about being together as a family and being outdoors,” Kimball told EastIdahoNews.com. “We loved to find a lake that would normally be an overnight trip. I’d say, ‘OK. We’re going to drive there, run in, swim, run out and go home. All in one day.'”
Kimball noted that Hunter has always loved the outdoors and going on adventures. “He just grew up that way.”
“It’s just the way I’m made,” Hunter said, echoing his father.
Kimball will be part of Hunter’s Everest training too. The duo will be competing in the UTMB PTL (La Petite Trotte a Leon) in August. The UTMB PTL is a 190-mile mountaineering competition through the Alps in Italy, Switzerland and France. “You really ride the line (between life and death),” Hunter said of the competition.
On the UTMB PTL’s website, it lists “mental toughness, team spirit, a sense of adventure, and core mountain values” as essential to compete. Like Hunter, Kimball thrives on challenge and adventure. The 57-year-old finance instructor is excited to compete with his son. Hunter credits his father for the opportunity to climb Mt. Everest.
“He has been my support, my coach, everything. He deserves all the credit,” Hunter said.
In fact, Hunter feels that the chance to compete in the UTMB PTL is what finally got him approved for the expedition.
Until he tackles the Alps in August, Hunter will continue his efforts to fund his Everest dream. He has always lived by the belief that you go as hard as you can and do your very best. If he doesn’t reach his fundraising goal, he will either give the money back to donors or possibly try to hire a guide and go on his own.
When not pushing the limits in the backcountry, Hunter is a student and Brigham Young University-Idaho, where Kimball also teaches.
To learn more about Hunter’s fundraising efforts, you may contact him on his Instagram account.