Explorer’s Grand Slam

This journey would not be possible without the support of my family, friends and companies like Lincoln Financial Group and Astep Ahead Prosthetics.  My journey continues as I try to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. This is an adventurers challenge to reach the North and South Poles and at the top of the highest peaks on all 7 continents. So far only 59 people in the world have completed this challenge.

Explorer\'s Grand Slam Timeline

2015

Aconcagua – 22,842 ft

Is the tallest mountain in South America, and also the highest in the Western Hemisphere, with the summit at 22,841 feet. It is also the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. It sits within Argentina near the border with Chile. Despite its height, Aconcagua is considered a safe mountain to climb, as the routes are non-technical, although the lack of oxygen at high altitudes can cause problems. The first recorded summit in modern history was in 1897, by a Swiss climber Matthias Zurbriggen.

2016

Mt Everest – 29,035 ft

Is the tallest mountain on earth and the highest in Asia, with the summit at 29,035 feet. It lies on the border between China (Tibet) and Nepal in the center of the Himalayan mountain range. Due to its size, it is buffeted by the jet stream with winds reaching speeds of over 100 mph, and this, combined with the avalanches, glaciers, ice-rivers and altitude, make this the most difficult of all the Seven Summits to climb. It was first successfully climbed on 29 May 1953 by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

2018

South Pole

The southernmost point on Earth, found at latitude 90 degrees South, lies on the continent of Antarctica that is 1½ times the size of the USA, twice the size of Australia, and 58 times the size of the UK. It has 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s fresh water.

Vinson – 16,050ft

Is the highest mountain in Antarctica, with the summit at 16,050 feet. It is also the most southerly of the Seven Summits, lying at 78° S, and the coldest, with temperatures falling to -90°F. It lies in the Ellsworth Mountain range near the Antarctic Peninsula, and is in territory administered by Chile under the Antarctic Treaty. It is very hard to get to, as the only access is by ski plane from Punta Arenas in Chile, which is only able to fly occasionally due to the weather. It was first climbed in 1966 by an American team of Barry Corbet, John Evans, William Long and Pete Schoening.

Mt. Elbrus – 18,510ft

Is the highest mountain in Europe (not Mt Blanc as is commonly thought) with the summit at 18,510 feet. It lies in the Caucasus mountain range in Russia, close to the borders of Georgia and Armenia. A cable car has been built by the government that runs from the base of the mountain to around 12,000 feet, which makes the climb much more accessible. The first ascent of the summit took place in July 1874 by an English climber, Crauford Grove, and a Swiss guide, Peter Knubel.

Mt. Kosciuszko – 7,310ft

Is the tallest mountain in Australia with the summit at 7,310 feet. It sits in the Snowy mountain range on the borders of the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria, near to the Australian capital of Canberra. It is the smallest of the original Seven Summits and is the easiest to climb, with the hike to the top taking around 7 hours. It is believed that the local aboriginal people were the first to climb Mt Kosciuszko, but the first Westerner to ascend to the summit was a Polish climber, Edmund Strzelecki, in 1840.

Denali – 20,320ft

Also known as Mt McKinley is the highest mountain in North America, with the summit at 20,320 feet. It is situated in Alaska in the United States, in the Denali National Park. Denali has some of the worst weather in the world on a year-round basis, and is also generally acknowledged to be one of the most difficult of the Seven Summits, of which it is also the most northerly, lying at 63° N. It was first climbed by the Americans Hudson Stock, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum on 7 June 1913.

Mt. Kilimanjaro – 19,340ft

Is the highest mountain in Africa, with the summit at 19,340 feet. It lies in Tanzania on the eastern side of the continent, close to the equator and a short distance from the border with Kenya. Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro allows you to experience 5 distinct climate zones, from hot and arid equatorial conditions at the base, to artic conditions at the summit. The first recorded summit was by a German, Hans Meyer, in 1889.

North Pole

The northernmost point on Earth, found at latitude 90° North, where all meridians of longitude meet and the only direction is south. All directions point south and all lines of longitude converge there. It’s located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amidst waters 4,000 meters deep that are covered with constantly shifting sea ice 2-3 meters thick.

Carstensz Pyramid

Carstensz Pyramid is the only technical “rock” climbing of all the 7 Summits with the actual summit at 16,024 feet. Carstensz Pyramid sits in Irian Jaya which comprises the western side of the island of New Guinea located in Indonesia. The bare, rocky and near-vertical slopes of Carstensz Pyramid rise above the lush jungle environment that cans start off extremely hot and humid. One way to go is the Sugapa route that traverses rugged jungles, forests and alpine terrain for almost 80 km. Patrick Morrow was the first person to finish the Seven Summits with the Carstensz variation.

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