For me it’s all about the challenge. The more unlikely it is that I can pull it off, then the more likely I am to give it a go. And if somebody tells men it can’t be done the more likely I am to dig in and prove otherwise. Stubborn – maybe, you need to discuss that with my wife and close friends to get an honest answer!
7 Summits started for me in 2011, all because 3 of us climbing as a team, had been unsuccessful in summitting Mt McKinley in Alaska. That was my first real exposure to high altitude mountaineering. Hugh, Bridie and I had planned an independent expedition to Mt McKinley. I arrived in Talketna completely unaware of what I had set myself for over the next 3 weeks on the mountain. During the flight into base camp it all became perfectly clear to me – this was BIG mountain country and everything, RISK – WEATHER – ADVENTURE was in the extreme.
2 months later back in Sydney and I had already decided that attempting the 7 Summits (the highest mountain on each continent) was the ideal come back plan.
For the past 4 years achieving this objective has been in the back of my mind almost continuously. At times I get distracted by “side trips” (currently Heard Island Expedition) and my wife keeps reminding me of the costs, and that’s not an unreasonable issue.
Right now I’m 4 of 7 summits achieved –
- Mt Kosiuscko – Australia
- Mt Kilimanjaro – Africa
- Mt Aconcagua – South America
- Mt Elbrus – Europe
I made a return trip to MtMcKinley in 2014. This time I made it to High camp but the then again bad weather intervened and prevented a summit attempt.
The final 3 summits are on the To Do list – somehow and sometime!