After conquering America’s summits, teen Eagle Scout sets sights on Everest

matt_moniz_climbing_3Matt Moniz and his dad, Mike, needed just six weeks and a day to climb to the highest point in every U.S. state. That’s faster than anyone in history.

I’m talking 50 summits — from Alaska’s 20,322-foot Denali to Florida’s 345-foot Britton Hill — in just 43 days. The time broke the previous record by more than two days.

Oh, and did I mention Matt was just 12 years old at the time?

The feat got the attention of National Geographic, which named this “Kid Climber” one of its 2010 Adventurers of the Year.

Four years later, the Eagle Scout is ready to conquer another summit. And this time he’s hoping to stand atop the tallest point on the planet.

The Boulder, Colo., 16-year-old and his dad left last week to start their quest to summit Mount Everest, elevation 29,029 feet.

Superhuman climbing abilities aren’t the only reason I’m impressed by Matt. He also seems to “get it” when it comes to Scouting.

In an interview with Andrew Skurka, the world’s best-known long-distance hiker who was profiled in the March-April 2012 issue of Scouting magazine, Matt shares what he learned in Scouting:

Andrew Skurka: Congratulations again on earning the rank of Eagle Scout last September. What were some of the most important life lessons and most rewarding experiences that you had as a Scout?

Matt Moniz: One of the most important lessons I learned in Scouts is leadership. Unlike a sports team, kids in Scouts come in all shapes, ages and sizes, and all with different talents, so you learn to work with lots of different personalities, a bit more like real life.

Some people have asked why with all the outdoor adventures I go on would I need Scouts. I tell them that when I’m out on an a big expedition I really don’t get to lead or make my own plans and decisions. People cook for you, guides point the way, summit plans are made. In Scouts, I don’t have my partners and guides to rely on to make the dinner or choose routes, evaluate the weather, etc. But in Scouts I’ve learned how to be self-sufficient.

Now that he’s learned so much, Matt’s ready to teach. He leads workshops and discussions like the one seen below, always with the goal of sharing with fellow teens what he’s learned on his many adventures.

All that and he’s just 16.

I’ll keep in touch with Matt and his dad to hear how their Everest attempt goes, and I’ll share the story and photos right here on the blog.

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4 thoughts on “After conquering America’s summits, teen Eagle Scout sets sights on Everest

  1. A capital accomplishment for Mike. Only thing is, if he climbed all 50 state peaks, he still overlooked Reno Hill, which, at 409 feet above sea level, is the highest natural point in the District of Columbia. It’s OK, Mike. DC is easily and often overlooked in matters not political. If you or anyone else is interested, the History of Scouting Trail, a BSA-sanctioned national historical trail, will be the site of the 7.2-mile Baden Powell Hike on Memorial Day weekend. It will be the second of three inaugural hikes that not only exercise your legs, but challenge you to find spots of historical significance to Boy Scouting in the nation’s capital. To find out more, go to the National Capital Area Council web site.

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