GOALS: Seven Summits in Seven Years (and Beyond!)

Report from 12/27/16

UPDATED 6/5/18

In the long term, a plan needed to be formulated for my biggest and most ambitious of goals: The Seven Summits.

When I decided I wanted to be teach high school, I knew the pay wouldn’t be great, but I would have summers off to go play. However, climbing season in Nepal is not June to August… it is right in the middle of school testing season. Whether or not I take a year off or find a long term sub when the time comes, who knows… I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. However, the rest of the list I can knock out during summers or Christmas break which works well in my favor! When I start hitting the big boys, I’m going to NEED to figure out some logistics; yet another bridge to cross in due time.

SO, without further ado, I give you my climbing timeline for completing The Seven Summits in the next Seven years!

Year 0- COMPLETE!  2017: I am calling this year 0 because my summer consisted of job searching for teaching positions and I spent a majority of the year being beyond broke. Realistic planning for adventures could not be finalized until I found a job. Since I now have a teaching position: this year’s goal is complete!

Year 1- COMPLETE! June 2018: Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar (18,519 ft/ 5,644.5 m) Because I was itching so badly to Everest up close and in person, and while I’m there!

Year 2- July 2019: FIRST SEVEN SUMMIT! Kilimanjaro, Africa (19,341’/5,895 m) I am booked with Eco-Africa Climbing on a Women Only Climb! #womenclimbkili!

Year 3- July 2020: Plans to move during summer break 2020 are in the works. That being said, there is no money for international climbing this year, but there is wiggle room for a trip to Washington to once again attempt Mount Rainier! (14,411’/4,392m)

Year 4- July 2021: Mount Elbrus, Europe (18,510’/5,642 m) I plan to go to this beautiful Russian volcano.

December 2021: Aconcagua, South America (22,841’/6,961 m) I actually thought about climbing this one first because I am so anxious and impatient to get climbing. But after looking at it from a realistic perspective, we are going to try to buy our first house in the first year or two of me teaching. My husband should graduate from college by 2020 and make the financial load significantly easier, so putting it off until later was the smarter thing to do.

Year 5– December 2022: Mount Kosciuszko, Australia (7,310’/2,228 m) For those who don’t know, there are two main lists for the Seven Summits, the Bass List and the Messner List which each have a different summit for the Australian Continent. I decided on doing both peak but am starting with the Bass List for a few reasons… One, being from Utah, and growing up skiing Snowbird, then working at Snowbird, and meeting Dick Bass personally, I feel a special connection to the Bass list. Two, Puncak Jaya, also known as Carstensz Pyramid, is extremely expensive and difficult to get to as it’s deep in the Filipino jungle and in a war zone. And three, my husband and I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, so we are planning a vacation for our 10 year anniversary down south with a quick pit stop to Australia to take a stroll up the easiest of the Seven Summits and visit a koala sanctuary!

Year 6- June/July 2023: Denali, North America (20,322’/6,194 m) I am very excited for this one. Alaska is beautiful and if it wasn’t so freaking expensive, I would probably climb this one earlier too.

Year 7- April-June 2024: Mount Everest, Asia (29,029’/8,848 m) 7 years of prep for the tallest mountain on earth. I plan to ascend the North Col route from Tibet. There are pros and cons to each side but the crowds are smaller on the Tibet side as permits are limited, which also makes them more expensive… The ONLY thing harder than climbing Everest, is funding Everest.

December 2024: Vinson Massif , Antarctica (16,077’/4,900 m) I saved what I deem to be the most epic for last. (as well as the most expensive… yes more expensive than Everest) It may not be nearly as high as some of the others, but it has an incredible amount of character. Deep in the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, this summit has the lowest amount of resources available to it. There are no cities in Antarctica. There is a camp, only accessible by a 4 hour plane ride from Chile. You have to drag all your gear around by sled, and it is a very cold and lonely place. I am just glad the sun is up for 24 hours down there during that time of year. I can’t imagine how dark and desolate it would be. (those poor penguins). A successful summit bid by this timeline would mean I complete the Bass Seven Summits just before my 35th birthday!

BONUS: The 8th Seven Summit for Year 8– June 2025: Puncak Jaya, also known as Carstensz Pyramid (16,024 ft/4,884m) This will complete Messner List and I will be part of an Elite crowd that has done both lists. This is the most technical of all the Seven Summits, therefore completion of the Messner list is more rare.

BONUS: Explorer’s Grand Slam: The Geographic North and South Poles! The more I work towards my goals, the more I wonder how far I can actually go! After following Colin O’Brady as he recently crossed Antartica solo and unaided, I have been seriously interested in exploring the poles; and I don’t just plan to fly to the pole, I want to complete what is known as “The Last Degree”: A 60 naudical mile ski trek from the 89th degree to the pole hauling a sled full of gear behind me!

As much as I would like to, I can’t guarantee this list’s completion in 7 years, and it will probably be adjusted as time goes on. There are simply too many factors out of my control; politics in foreign countries, unforeseen budget factors, weather, etc. But what I can guarantee is that I will personally strive for each one to the best of my ability until they are complete no matter what it takes.

People ask me all the time, “Why do you want to climb Everest?” “What is the point in putting yourself through physical anguish to reach the top?” In short reply it’s easier to just say “I don’t know” or “it’s hard to explain”. But the reality is I don’t simply have one reason for why I climb, I have several. I climb because I feel a very real, very spiritual connection in the mountains. My sister passed away when I was a kid, and when I summited my first 14er at the age of 13, I dedicated the climb to my baby sister, and ever since then those high peaks make me feel closer to her. After years of suffering through crippling depression and a dangerous eating disorder, completing something this huge is monumental to me. It’s simply proving to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. I do it for me, and I hope to set an example for others like me. That’s why I write this silly blog. My biggest goal of all, is to simply share my story in hopes that maybe someone else who is suffering, can look inside of themselves and realize that they don’t have to live in despair; they can do anything they set their mind to. It doesn’t have to be climbing, it could be something as simple as learning an instrument they have always wanted to learn, travel to a corner of the world they have always longed to see, or following a career passion they never dreamed was possible. As soon as you are okay with yourself and who you are, and you no longer care what society tells you what you should be or what your parents think you should be, and you start living your life for yourself, then you will be truly happy. You will be able to Conquer Yourself.

Keep up on my climbs! Click here to check out my current successful summit list!

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