ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – The self-proclaimed “king of the mountain men” has finished his final climbing goal, all before turning 50 in December.

Troy Aupperle of Alexandria has conquered the highest peak in each of the 50 states, earning him a spot in the Highpointers Club.

“Most guys who climb mountains are a different breed,” Aupperle said with a laugh. “It all comes down to how strong your will is. It tests your willpower more than anything else in the world.”

Aupperle was introduced to the sport of mountain climbing when he was 27 and started his mission to complete three near-impossible feats when he was 40.

As of Nov. 28, he had finished the final of his three personal quests once he trekked down Mauna Kea in Hawaii. In 2012, he became a proud member of the Colorado Mountain Club’s Master List, which he accomplished by climbing the 54 mountains in Colorado that are above 14,000 feet.

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He hit his first goal of scaling the Seven Summits of the world – Mount Elbrus, Mount Aconcagua, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Vinson, Kosciuszko, Carstensz Pyramid, Mount Denali/McKinley, and Mount Everest – in 2009. Because of some dispute within the climbing community as to which seven mountains make up the true Seven Summits, he climbed all eight to avoid any confusion.

Aupperle said his life of climbing has been mostly a learning experience. Spending most of his final climbs in remote locations completely alone, he spent a lot of time getting to know himself.

“You need to have a certain comfort level with yourself,” he said. “You need to have the confidence and reassurance that everything will be OK.”

Besides joking about getting a second job to fill in the spare time now that his goals are finished, Aupperle has some exciting plans for his future. Not only would he like to write a book that discusses the spiritual journey he has been on with mountain climbing, but he will be starting a new program through his Miltona-based company, Enzymology Research Center Inc. that will allow others to learn his secrets to success.

ERC is an organically certified supplier of enzymes to the food, feed, equine and nutraceutical industries, and was founded by Aupperle in 1995.

Having been mainly a behind-the-scenes manufacturer and supplier, this new program will be a transition for Aupperle to be in the public eye.

“What I’ve been doing has always been directly associated with my career,” Aupperle said. “It’s a real showcase of what the human body is capable of with the right nutrition and care.”

He also hopes to get in contact with the only other man he is aware of that has completed the same three feats. Aupperle said the man is in his 70s. He said it would be nice to talk to someone else who has had the same experiences.

“It’s much more than getting to the top, it’s what it takes to get there,” Aupperle said with a smile. “I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much. It really tests how much you want it.”