Sunday, August 18

Seven Summits

"It all started in the mountain peaks, blazing new trails, seeing new horizons, exploring new territories. Alone in nature is my worship, my church, my home.  It is where I get my inner peace, my inner connection in every single step every single move. And I see God's grandeur and its endless beauty."

Before I get passionate with running, trekking and mountain climbing has been my very first outdoor passion. It all started with one decision to do it and I got drawn to it. As I counted the years I turn to running and ultra running, it taught me lots of things, molded me to be a better person. Learn so much, I meet lots of people, some leave a mark in my heart.  

It's true,  in running you have the starting line and finish line that other people got to see you, cheer and encourage you, in some races you  have the entire world watching you. In climbing and long expeditions, you only have yourself, the nature and your God. Nothing more nothing less, there is even no contact and communication to the outside world. In high altitude mountains mobile signals are not even available. 

Lately, circumstance seems telling me something. With lots of races planned yet did not materialize, I realized, probably its time to focus on something else aside from running. Probably time to go back to where I started it all. So without hesitation, looking at my old files I see my inspiration, the seven summits. They have always been there, on my tones of notes. Now I am reminded again, probably its time to move forward and look for a brighter tomorrow on another field.

1. Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa): $2,500 to $8,000
Mount Kilimanjaro has a reputation for being a long but easy hike. In fact, the most popular trail is called the “Coca Cola Route” because drinks are available for sale along the way. While the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are not particularly demanding, the altitude and your choice of tour guide play important roles in your success or failure. Guide service is compulsory on the mountain and some local guides promise you the summit in four or five days’ time. But Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit is at 19,340 feet, and altitude sickness is the main reason why people fail to reach the top. If you take 7 to 9 days, and come prepared for an expedition rather than a hike, it’s very likely that you’ll summit successfully.

2. Mount Elbrus (Europe): $1,175 to $5,600
At 18,510 feet, Mt. Elbrus is another of the Seven Summits that should be taken more seriously than it is. Located in the Caucasus Mountain Range in Russia, the area doubles as a ski resort and climbers can use cable cars, chair lifts, and huts during their ascents. However, to get to the, slow and careful acclimatization is still essential, as are crampon and ice axe skills. Most critical of all is the weather. Mt. Elbrus is more than 3,300 feet higher than the surrounding peaks, and creates its own weather systems – unexpected fog, wind, and snow storms generate dangerous white-out conditions in a matter of minutes

3. Denali (North America): $1,225 to $6,850
Although, at 20,320 feet, Denali is significantly lower than Mt. Everest, its proximity to the Arctic means that temperatures sometimes get colder than at the top of the world. Denali’s challenges include crevasse danger, intense and sudden storms, and altitude sickness. While many climb this mountain on their own, rather than with a guide service, past experience with winter mountaineering, route finding, advanced crampon and ice axe use, and knowledge of avalanche danger is essential. Many climbers use Denali as a practice climb before tackling Mount Everest.

4. Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania): $10,000 to $25,000
The greatest obstacle to climbing the highest point on the Oceanic continent is political, rather than natural. While the technical rock climbing on the upper sections of Carstensz Pyramid are more difficult than on the rest of the Seven Summits, the real challenge lies in gaining legal access to the mountain itself. Influence, connections, time, and money are needed to contend with the overwhelming number of forms, fees, and permits required by federal, local, and tribal governments. Once you gain access and acclimatize, however, moderate rock climbing skills and a willingness to scramble, rappel, jumar, and climb in the rain are all that’s needed to reach the 16,023-foot summit.

5. Aconcagua (South America): $850 to $5,000
Aconcagua is another climb that many people tend to underestimate. True, it is mainly a very long, hard trudge to the summit. But at 22,840 feet, a hasty ascent will spell disaster in the form of acute altitude sickness. Plan to spend three weeks or more on this expedition. Be prepared for extreme and intense cold as well as long delays due to bad weather. Proper endurance and strength training prior to the climb, as well as teamwork and patience once you’re on the mountain are critical factors in your summit attempt.

6. Vinson Massif ( /ˈvɪnsən mæˈsiːf/) is the highest mountain of Antarctica, lying in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, which stand above the Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. The massif is located about 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) from the South Pole and is about 21 km (13 mi) long and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide. At 4,892 metres (16,050 ft) the highest point is Mount Vinson, which was named in 2006.

Vinson Massif was first seen in 1958 and first climbed in 1966. An expedition in 2001 was the first to climb via the Eastern route, and also took GPS measurements of the height of the peak. As of February 2010, 700 climbers have attempted to reach the top of Mount Vinson.

7. Mount Kosciuszko is a mountain located in the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park. With a height of 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Australia (not including its external territories). It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish national hero and hero of the American Revolutionary War General Tadeusz Kościuszko, because of its perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Mound in Krakow.

The name of the mountain was previously spelt "Mount Kosciusko", an Anglicisation, but the spelling "Mount Kosciuszko" was officially adopted in 1997 by the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. The traditional English pronunciation of Kosciuszko is /kɒziːˈɒskoʊ/, but the pronunciation /kɒˈʃʊʃkoʊ/ is now sometimes used, which is substantially closer to the Polish pronunciation

8. Mount Everest (Tibetan: ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ, Jomolungma, "Holy Mother"; Chinese: 珠穆朗玛峰, Mandarin: Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng, "Jomolungma Peak"; Nepali: सगरमाथा, Sagarmāthā) is the world's highest mountain at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. Everest is in the Mahalangur section of the Himalaya on the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Its massif includes neighboring peaks Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7855m), and Changtse (7580m).

In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time, who named it after his predecessor in the post, and former chief, Sir George Everest. Chomolungma had been in common use by Tibetans for centuries, but Waugh was unable to propose an established local name because Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners.

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