Alex's Mt Everest is the real thing
Nine-year-old Alex Mulholland loves nothing more than scaling new heights out in the bush.
The Raumati South School pupil has spent the last five years climbing to 48 huts in the Tararua Ranges, and now has his eyes set on a new goal, climbing Mt Everest.
"I like tramping so I just came up with the idea of doing Everest," he said.
"I've done all these huts and I'm doing all the Ruahines too. I know I can do it and it's not going to be super super hard."
In March, Alex will travel with Kapiti's Parawai Tramping Club to Nepal, where they will trek up to Mt Everest's South Base Camp.
Alex has been climbing since the age of 4, with the support of parents Vicky and Mike, and reached Field Hut in Otaki Forks after his fourth birthday.
"It's a pretty scary thing," Vicky said.
"There's 246 bodies or something on that mountain that have never been recovered because they can't get them off. It's obviously not any mother's dream to send their kid off to do that but well, we'll back him as much as we can. It's a hard trek up to base camp and we'll just see how he goes from then. I've always told him you've got to dream big."
Alex hopes to become the youngest climber to scale Mt Everest, out-doing now 16-year- old Jordan Romero from the United States, who climbed the peak when he was 13.
To get to Mt Everest before Alex turns 13 will involve a series of trips to Nepal, starting with a trek to the South Base Camp on March 26.
The trip has been organised by the Parawai club.
At over 5300 metres, the trip to the base camp will include several acclimatisation days for the members to adjust to the high altitude.
Alex said he is not worried about the altitude, cold weather or dead bodies.
"I like the dangers and stuff like that, like crossing canyons of snow that could easily break, the ladder could easily break," he said.
After Mt Everest, Alex plans to climb New Zealand's "biggest and tallest mountains" in the South Island, and will never stop tramping, he said.
"It's fun and you get to see a lot of different animals tramping. I really like it."