BOUNTIFUL — A former BYU football linebacker has ascended to new heights as an aspiring mountaineer.
Cameron Jensen, who starred for the Cougars’ defense over a decade ago, has since returned to his boyhood passion of reaching high places.
“It’s just stayed with me throughout my life,” Jensen said.
In late March, Jensen traveled to Nepal and over 2 1/2 weeks hiked and climbed as much as six hours per day to reach the base camp of Mount Everest.
“The Himalayas — I mean, they are just a totally different view,” Jensen said. “It’s just like, ‘wow,’ that’s the tallest point on this earth!”
Rather than attempt to summit Everest, Jensen continued with a group to the 20,305-foot summit of neighboring Island Peak, or Imja Tse.
“I haven’t felt anything like that until that summit day, than it was like football and workouts,” Jensen said. “To feel that again and just to challenge yourself in something like that, man I loved it — such a great experience!”
The journey wasn’t without peril. At one point, Jensen found himself crossing a bridge made of metal ladders that had been tied together.
“When you’re looking at five ladders and a 60- or 70-foot drop-off right there, you’re starting to question: Should I be doing this?” he shared.
Jensen, a tech entrepreneur, has always pushed himself to achieve more.
“There’s something with my sports background that I’ve always loved pushing my body, and that mental aspect — when everything’s saying, ‘no, stop, stop, stop,’ and your mind kind of takes over and tells you to go,” Jensen explained.
He said his career in football, which brought him to the precipice of the pros, has helped him as a mountaineer.
“I thought there’s a lot of correlation of the grit mentality, because climbing is endured suffering,” Jensen said. “When you’ve done hard things, climbing isn’t as hard.”
Having survived the Imja Tse climb, Jensen is now eyeing a new journey to the Everest summit in the coming years.
“I’m doing a few things before to give me the experience that I need,” he said. “I definitely want to try at some point to do Everest.”
He encourages others who are determined to climb to new heights to continue to reach toward their goals.
“Hey, (it’s) step by step, step by step, right?” Jensen said. “Focus on your goal and take it step by step. That’s what I did. That’s what the best ones do.”