I aim to summit the seven highest mountains on each continent in an entirely unconventional order. As Denali and Everest can only be attempted during May-June, I plan to attempt them almost a year apart. Denali is not recommended early in ones climbing plan however I am limited to approximately one year for this project.
Just over 400 people have completed the Seven Summits of which only 10 are Australian.
Trip duration: 7 days
Trip date: July 2016
Main Challenges: The summit day was a 6 hour slog up a trail that was hardly steep and yet made us all look terribly unfit. The temperature on Summit day was less than minus 25 degC.
What I'm thinking about right now: The business that the mountain brings to so many local Tanzanian's is fantastic and to support these people is a reason in itself to attempt this mountain once in your life. Despite many thousands of people being on the mountain at a time, there is such incredible respect for the environment (by locals at least).
Trip duration: 23 days
Trip date: 23-Apr to 16-May
Main Challenges: Mera Peak is the highest non-expedition type peak in Nepal and will be the highest altitude that I have been to.
What I'm thinking about right now: 6,476m is a big step up from trekking in the Himalayas. I have not camped on snow before nor scaled a fully snow capped mountain.
Continent: North America
Altitude: 6,190 m
Trip duration: 24 days
Trip date: 1-Jun to 25-Jun
Main Challenges: There is no sherpa/porter support for Denali and so each climber must carry all of their own gear for several weeks in packs and sleds. Due to the high latitude, Denali is notorious for awful weather and it is not unusual to spend several days buckled down in a tent high on the mountain during a blizzard while waiting for a weather window that may never come.
What I'm thinking about right now: As this is one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult) of the Seven Summits, it is generally attempted towards the end. I am quite nervous about attempting this so early in my project. Only 50% of those who attempt Denali are successful, and those who attempt are far from casual hikers.
Altitude: 5,642 m
Trip duration: 13 days
Trip date: 10-Jul to 23-Jul
What I'm thinking about right now: As one of the more easier mountains of the Seven Summits, Elbrus has an alarming rate of failure due mostly to the ease of accessibility.
Altitude: 8,163 m
Trip duration: 43 days
Trip date: 30-Aug to 12-Oct
Main Challenges: The altitude alone represents a huge challenge. The length of the climb demands enormous endurance and a strong will to persevere.
What I'm thinking about right now: Manaslu is the 8th highest mountain in the world and I cannot wait to have an attempt at an 8000'er! 43 days in a tent will break my current record set at a music festival by 35 days.
Altitude: 4,884 m
Trip duration: 14 days
Trip date: November '17
Main Challenges: Carstensz is the only particularly technical mountain of the Seven Summits. The mountain is situated in the very remote highlands of the Papua Provence requiring a tough 5 day trek in and out through extremely muddy rain forest. Territorial local tribes present an additional safety risk.
What I'm thinking about right now: There is an option to take a helicopter to the base camp however I have opted to trek in. I feel I will regret that decision at some point. I have very little technical climbing experience and not brilliant with heights. This will be a very different challenge for me from the other mountains.
The original Seven Summits feat was accomplished in 1985 by climbing Mt Kosciusko in Australia at the grand height of 2,228m. In 1986 the Australasian leg was replaced by Carstensz to add a more of a challenge.
Trip duration: 15 days
Trip date: Dec '17
Challenges: Being located in Antarctica is surly an obvious logistical challenge but with only a few flights from southern Chile to Antarctica per year, this isn't the mountain to call in for an early departure.
What I'm thinking about right now: Visiting Antarctica has been high on the bucket list however a penguin spotting cruise does not appeal. An attempt on Vinson will be an excellent way to experience Antarctica while climbing a mountain. Jaw dropping panoramas have been promised.
Continent: South America
Trip duration: 21days
Trip date: Jan '18
Main Challenges: At nearly 7,000m Aconcagua is often underestimated and although not a technical mountain the altitude presents more than enough of a challenge to even the well prepared climber. High altitude cerebral and pulmonary edema are a common occurrence.
What I'm thinking about right now: By January I will have attempted 6 mountains in a little over 7 months and serious fatigue is sure to take its toll. My Coach has indicated this one will be tough after the limited recovery time between previous climbs.
Trip duration: 62 days
Trip date: Apr '18
Main Challenges: It hardly needs to be pointed out that Everest presents the ultimate high altitude challenge. The climb starts with the Khumbu Icefall, a maze of large blocks of ice the size of buildings that move continuously. Climbers must negotiate dozens of crevasses by crossing precarious aluminum ladders. The period spent above 8000m is to be minimized due to the bodies inability to acclimatize at such altitude.
What I'm thinking about right now: I am not really thinking too much about Everest at this point in time. There are eight mountains to climb before I get to Everest and I wont make a decision on whether I am ready until much closer to the time. Right now this seems like an almost impossible achievement however I've planned the year as a series of smaller steps leading up to the big one. Hopefully by late 2017 I am feeling far more ready.