ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man is scratching an item off his bucket list. At 50-years-old, he climbed the tallest mountain in Africa. The adventure all began with a surprise trip to Tanzania from his wife last Christmas.

After a nearly 20,000 foot climb above sea level to reach the highest point in Africa, Robert Nevada is back in Albuquerque. Conquering Mount Kilimanjaro was always on his bucket list and something he was able to cross off for his 50th birthday. “My birthday was on July 26 and I literally left for Africa the day after my birthday,” said Nevada.

Nevada said he knew there would be some challenges but he didn’t let that get in the way of his goal. From May to July, Nevada hiked La Luz trail every Saturday and Sunday to help prepare.

After a 27-hour trip from Albuquerque to Tanzania, he was off to his eight-day adventure. Nevada was in a group of 9 climbers. The first day was a four-hour hike, followed by a ten-mile hike on the second day. By day six the group had reached 15,000 feet above sea level. “The higher we got, the colder it got, we were in negative degree temperature at night periodically I was in a -20 degree bag with three layers of clothes on,” said Nevada.

It wasn’t only the goal of reaching the top, but Nevada said thinking of his family is what kept him going and bursting with emotion when he finally made it to the summit. Nevada is already planning another climb to celebrate his 55th birthday. His goal for that trip is to climb Aconcagua in Argentina, that’s at nearly 23,000 feet.