Raleigh, N.C. — “If you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want.” That belief has taken Jamie Wilde, 40, to the top of the world – seven times.
Wilde grew up in Raleigh, but his love of Ernest Hemingway led him to Africa to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“You’re so far up in the atmosphere. Everything’s really clear,” he said.
That expedition was the first of many for Wilde, who has stood on the summit of the highest mountains on all seven continents. Fewer than 300 people in human history can say that.
Mount Vinson in Antarctica was not the tallest mountain he climbed, but it was the most beautiful, he said.
Wilde's mission is to raise money for his non-profit, Global H2O, but the mission is not without risks.
“I had lost a teammate in 2005, so I know that it’s possible to die,” he said. “On the way down (Mount Kilimanjaro), he ran out of oxygen around 27,000 to 28,000 feet, and he sat down and had a little nap, basically.”
That loss and bad weather scared Wilde from going to Everest, yet he was determined and returned to the Himalayas this spring. On May 23, he stood atop Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
“One thing we noticed on the way up was the shooting stars. Every 5 seconds or so, not just like little blips in the sky, from horizon to horizon, it seemed like fireworks,” he said.
That wasn’t bad therapy for a person with an intense fear of heights.
“I’m trying to control it as much as possible,” Wilde said with a laugh. “You go down it backwards without any idea where you’re placing your feet. You can’t see, so it’s sort of a leap of faith over into the abyss.”
With his feet now firmly on the ground, Wilde has a message for all who will listen.
“Our achievements are limited by the boundaries of our dreams,” he said. “If you plan your dreams, you have an opportunity to achieve those dreams.”
As for Wilde's next dream, he said he'd like to circumnavigate the globe using only green energy.