San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican to climb Mount Everest, but with an added twist

For as long as he can remember, Giovanni Rodríguez has climbed mountains. At 15 he conquered Costa Rica’s tallest peak, Cerro Chirripó. Now, at 37, Rodríguez has seen Chirripó’s summit 72 times, but he’s ready for a bigger challenge: Mount Everest.

If he succeeds, Rodríguez will be the second Tico to scale the Himalayas’ Mount Everest, and the first person to reach the top in an officially carbon-neutral expedition.

“The plan is to avoid pollution as much as possible and then offset the absolutely inevitable environmental impacts,” Rodríguez told The Tico Times.

For his training, Rodríguez will take as few flights as possible. He will stay in simple hotels and only eat local food. The Technical Norms Institute of Costa Rica will determine the expedition’s carbon footprint, and Rodríguez’s team will plant trees to absorb that same amount of carbon.

With two years of daily training already under his belt, Rodríguez will spend the next four years climbing mountains in North and South America to prepare for the 2018 expedition of the world’s tallest summit. The highest peak in Rodríguez’s training will be the 6,982-meter Mount Aconcagua in Argentina.

As an ambassador for the environmental organization Earth Hour, Rodríguez has participated in similar stunts before. In April Rodríguez and Warner Rojas, the first Costa Rican to summit Mount Everest, crossed from Costa Rica’s Atlantic to Pacific coasts in a 271-kilometer hike to raise awareness for climate change.

Carbon neutrality is becoming a popular goal among mountain climbers. In June, Omar Samra became the first Egyptian to summit each of the seven continent’s tallest peaks. An owner of a carbon-neutral travel company, Samra calculated his own carbon emissions and bought the equivalent in carbon credits. Rodríguez’s attempt will be the first officially carbon-neutral climb, as his emissions will be determined by an international board.

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