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Why a Utah fan held up a BYU shirt at the top of Mount Everest

Bart Williams has received some taunting from friends for carrying a BYU shirt to the top of Mount Everest.

Williams isn't a BYU fan supporting his team. He's actually a University of Utah fan.

Climbing Everest has been a childhood dream for Williams. It wasn't until his wife met a woman preparing to hike Everest that Williams decided to start working toward his dream.

His vision started to become more of a reality in 2012 when Williams and his wife hiked to the base of Everest with some friends. Their friends continued on to hike the summit while the Williams stayed behind. When their friends returned, they told Williams they thought he was strong enough to make the climb.

"It got me thinking about it," Williams said. "All of my kids are out of the house and I thought, 'Why not?'"

Williams made his first trip to Everest in 2015, but shortly after arriving, an earthquake in Nepal halted his journey. The earthquake and the aftershocks made climbing the mountain dangerous. All of the climbers were airlifted off the mountain. None reached the summit.

The government in Nepal told the climbers they could come back in the next year or two and attempt to climb Everest without having to pay for the climbing permit again. Williams wasn't ready to give up on his dream and decided to try again.

Williams wanted to have someone watch over his business while he was gone. Paul Shoemaker, one of the office managers and a former BYU quarterback, offered to help. Shoemaker didn't want anything in return for helping Williams, but Williams wanted to repay Shoemaker for his help. Shoemaker told Williams that taking a BYU shirt to the top of Everest would be sufficient compensation.

"I told him, 'That's it? That's all you're asking?'" Williams said. "Even though I'm an avid Ute fan, I was happy to do that because he was just the nicest guy and that is so little to ask. So I carried the shirt all the way up there."

Reaching the summit was harder than Williams had expected, but it was also more rewarding than he had expected. The hike was mentally and physically demanding.

"I just wanted to do it so bad that I had to overcome the physical part," Williams said. "I wonder if it might be more mental than physical."

When Williams reached the top, he called his wife and family on a satellite phone and had someone take a picture of him holding up a picture of his whole family and a second picture of him holding up the BYU shirt. The pictures were Williams' way of saying thanks to everyone who supported him and made the climb possible.