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Young gay mountaineer reaches summit of Everest

Young gay mountaineer reaches summit of Everest

Young mountaineer Cason Crane made it to the top of Mount Everest, the highest summit in the world, last week.

The Himalayan mountain is the sixth in Crane’s seven summit challenge he has given himself to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention for LGBT youth.

Crane ‘sobbed’ when he reached the top of the mountain, he wrote on his blog for Huffington Post. ‘I had done it,’ he said. ‘It was so worth it, good times and bad, and I knew I was there for every one of us who’d experienced discrimination.’

The 20-year-old American student climbed his first mountain, Africa’s highest peak Mouth Kilimanjiro with his mother when he was 15. He started The Rainbow Summits Project after being moved to do something to prevent suicide in LGBT young people after the death of a close friend and Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after being filmed having sex with a man by his roommate.

‘In mountaineering, we have an adage: "If you don’t summit but do get off the mountain safely, you can always come back, because the mountain will always be here.",’ wrote Crane on his Huffington Post blog.

‘A similar version can be applied to real life. Don’t give up. Don’t consider suicide. Your mountain will still be here, with or without you. If you leave, you lose, but if you stay, one day, you will conquer it.’

Before he traveled to Nepal to climb Everest, Crane met with LGBT youth in Singapore, where sex between men is still criminalized.

The seventh and final mountaineering challenge for Crane’s Rainbow Summits Project is Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska. Crane has attempted the summit before but didn’t reach it. He will re-attempt it next month.

Crane has raised over $120,000 (€90,400) for The Trevor Project, which works on preventing  LGBT youth suicide, but aims to raise $250,000 (€188,300).