Italian climber first to scale “Second Seven Summits”

Hans Kammerlander has conquered the Second Seven SummitsAn Italian climber by the name of Hans Kammerlander has become the first person to climb the “Second Seven Summits” after topping out on Mt. Tyree in Antarctica last week. This unique distinction was earned by climbing the second highest peaks on each of the seven continents – a feat that most mountaineers feel is far more difficult than the traditional Seven Summits.

In addition to Mt. Tyree, the Second Seven Summits consist of Ojos del Salado (22,614 ft) in South America, Mt. Kenya (17,057 ft) in Africa, Mt. Logan (19,550 ft) in North America, Dychtau (17,073 ft) in Europe, Puncak Trikora (15,518 ft) in Oceania, and K2 in Asia. Kammerlander knocked off K2, quite possibly the hardest climb in the world, back in 2001, but had no idea that he would go on to climb the other Second Seven at the time.

In 2009 he traveled to South America, and successfully climbed Ojos del Salado, located along the border of Argentina and Chile. It was after that expedition that he began to form a plan to take on the remaining five. The past two years have been focused on those mountains, and his quest to climb them all ended on January 3rd at the summit of Tyree.

The Italian mountaineer has had a long and storied career in the high places of the Earth before accomplishing this feat. He has knocked off 13 of the 14 8000-meter peaks and opened new routes on some of the world’s most iconic mountains, including Cho Oyu and Annapurna.

It doesn’t seem that the 55-year old is ready to hang up his crampons just yet.

[Photo courtesy of Hans Kammerlander]

Teen mountaineer completes Seven Summits

Jordan Romero completes the Seven Summits15 year old mountaineer Jordan Romero has completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents, and in the process became the youngest person to achieve that feat. On Christmas Eve, Jordan, along with father Paul and stepmother Karen, reached the top of the 16,050-foot Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, the last of the mountains on his list.

Jordan first dreamed of climbing the Seven Summits after seeing a mural on the iconic peaks in his grade school. He was just ten years old at the time. Later that year, he would bag his first summit, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa. He would follow that up with successful climbs of Kosciuszko (Australia), Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), and Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania).

But it was his successful summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet, that grabbed headlines around the globe. At the time, Jordan was just 13 years old, and his bold expedition sparked debate in the mountaineering community over how young is too young to climb the world’s biggest mountains.

The logistics and location of climbing in Antarctica forced Jordan to wait another year and a half to climb Mt. Vinson, but now he has claimed that summit too. Last Friday, the teenager, along with his parents, moved up to High Camp on that mountain, and on Saturday – Christmas Eve – they continued on to the summit itself. Weather conditions, as you would expect, were challenging, with high winds and sub-zero temperatures dogging them all the way. But int he end, they topped out at about 1 PM local time. They then safely descended back down the mountain and skied back to Base Camp, where they enjoyed Christmas dinner.

Congratulations to Jordan on completing his quest to climb the Seven Summits. Well done young man!

[Photo courtesy of Jordan Romero]

Teen climber Jordan Romero prepares for final Seven Summit

Jordan Romero will take on Mt. Vinson nextWhen we last checked in with teenage mountaineer Jordan Romero, he had just finished climbing Mt. Everest and in the process, setting a record for the youngest person to accomplish that feat. Jordan was 13 at the time, and razor focused on becoming the youngest person to reach the top of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Now, a year and a half later, with one mountain still on his list, he is preparing to achieve that goal as well.

Next week, Jordan, now age 15, will leave the U.S. for Antarctica, where he and his father Paul, along with step-mom Karen Lundgren, will attempt to climb Mt. Vinson, the highest peak on the continent. If all goes according to schedule, he’ll arrive in the Antarctic on December 16 and start the climb the following day. Over the following two weeks, Jordan and his team will face brutally cold temperatures, high winds, and the threat of avalanches, all for the chance to stand on the summit of the 16,050-foot mountain. If successful, Romero will become the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits.

Jordan first conceived of the idea of climbing the highest mountains on each of the continents when he saw a mural of the Seven Summits in his elementary school. That was back in 2005, when he was just nine years old. The following year he was off to Africa, where he trekked to the top of Kilimanjaro, which only fueled his desire to climb those mountains. In 2007 he checked Kosciuszko (Australia), Elbrus (Europe), and Aconcagua (South America) off of his list, and summitted Denali (North America) and Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania) in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Last year, he gained recognition worldwide for his successful climb of Everest, igniting a debate in the mountaineering community in the process. Many climbers began to wonder just how young was too young, which later prompted Nepal and China to set strict age limits, requiring Everest climbers to be at least 18 years old. The move was applauded by many, although some felt that Jordan was proof that young climbers could do well on the world’s tallest mountains.

[Photo courtesy of Jordan Romero]

Human-powered circumnavigator climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for Tanzanian school

human powered circumnavigationSeattle-based adventurer Erden Eruç has launched the next phase in his quest to circumnavigate the world under human power, for his charitable organization, Around-n-Over (AnO). The mission of the 501(c)(3) non-profit is to assist poor communities by providing basic educational aid, resources, and facilities as a means of guiding them into self-sufficiency.

Eruç will continue his Six Summits Expedition, to climb the highest summits on the six continents he reaches after approaching each by bicycle, on foot, and by rowing across three oceans. His goal in raising awareness about his journey is to instill in young people the values of selflessness, sacrifice, and perseverance in the tradition of historical adventurers and expeditions. In November, 2010, Eruç became the first person in history to have crossed three oceans (Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific) via rowing. He is also the most experienced ocean rower alive.

The next leg of AnO’s Six Summits Expedition takes Eruç to Tanzania, and the continent’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, to raise awareness for the Mateves Secondary School in Arusha. For this journey, AnO has collaborated with Mountain Madness, a Seattle adventure travel company who will provide guides and support for the climb. The goal is for AnO and participants to raise money to use toward the building of new classrooms and educational support. Mountain Madness will also donate a portion of the fees they receive from participants toward the school. To donate, click here.

12-year old climbs highest point in all 50 states in record time

12-year old Matt Moniz of Boulder, Colorado will have quite a tale to share with his friends when he returns to school this fall. While most kids his age spend the summer relaxing and doing as little work as possible, Matt, along with his father Mike, launched their 50 in 50 in 50 expedition. The plan was to reach the highest point in all 50 states, in 50 days or less, and on July 16th, they completed their quest, reaching the summit of the 13,796-foot tall Mauna Kea in Hawaii, setting a new record for completing the high points in the process. The previous record for the fastest time to reach the highest point in all 50 states was 45 day, 19 hours, and 2 minutes, set by climber Mike Haugen back in 2008. Matt and his dad completed that same feat in just 43 days, 2 hours, and 8 minutes.

America’s high points vary greatly in altitude, with some being quite easy to reach, while others involving true mountaineering skills. The lowest of the high points is Britton Hill, which is located in Florida and stands just 345 feet above sea level. The highest is of course Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali, which is found in Alaska and stands 20,320 feet in height. Other peaks of note include Mt. Whitney, which is the highest point in California at 14,494 feet and Mt. Rainier, which stands at 14,411 feet and is the tallest mountain in the state of Washington.

Matt’s climbing resume is quickly becoming a very impressive one. Not only has he now completed the 50 high points, he has also climbed Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Elbrus, the highest peaks in Africa, South America, and Europe respectively. He has also made the trek to Everest Base Camp as well, and with the completion of Denali, he now has four of the Seven Summits under his belt. Not bad for a young man who hasn’t even entered junior high yet.

[Photo credit: Matt Moniz]