The Utah mom climbing the world’s highest mountains

 The Utah mom climbing the world’s highest mountains

(CNN) – In 1986, American businessman Richard Bass landed the record books by becoming the first person to climb the “seven summits,” the highest peaks from every continent. On that list are some of the most iconic mountains in the world: Denali in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and of course Mount Everest.

But mountain climbers aren’t the kind of people who just ignore records. For many mountaineers, this is the seven second summit – aka the second highest peak on each continent – that is considered an even more important achievement.

These mountains are less popular, less popular with new climbers and less commercial. The most famous of the group is K2, which is located on the border of Pakistan and China in the Karakoram Range.

Some, however, are anything but household names.

Ojos de Salado (“Salt Eyes”) on the Chile-Argentina border is the tallest volcano on the planet. Mount Tyree in Antarctica is easy to climb by mountain climbing patterns, but the challenges of getting to the White Continent and coping with its weather conditions mean only about a dozen climbers. has reached the top.

Only one man officially climbed all seven of the second summit, but there was one man warm on his heels to complete the set. And she’s not what most mountaineer think – she’s a mother of seven who lives in Utah and didn’t start climbing until the age of thirty.

Passing the challenge

Meet Jenn Drummond. Drummond has always been an athlete, and he loves a challenge.

On his 40th birthday in the sky in 2020, he decided to take his hiking skills to the next level.

That year, he hired a climbing coach, with the aim of summit at Ama Dablam, a mountain in Nepal.

But after it was completed, the coach presented a new challenge-the Seven Second Summits. “He said,‘ you have seven children, there are seven continents, ’” he recalls.

But mountain climbing requires more than physical training. Covid destroyed the whole world-all of a sudden, Drummond had to send his children to school, and international border closures made travel impossible.

So far, he has climbed Dykh-Tau, Mount Kenya, Mount Tyree and Canada’s most recent Mount Logan. K2 is planned for summer 2022.

Drummond’s desire to climb to seven second summits has become a taller project due to some disagreement about the peaks being considered officially seven.

If you just assume that the continent is the country of Australia itself, the second summit there is Mount Townsend in the state of New South Wales.

But for geographers considering Australasia and Oceania part of the continent, the second summit is Sumantri in Indonesia’s West Papua province. To ensure his record is undisputed, Drummond plans to climb both.

Drummond in action climbing Mount Kenya.

Drummond in action climbing Mount Kenya.

Dan Terpstra

Because there is

In an anecdotal story, someone once asked explorer George Mallory why he was so desperate to climb Mount Everest, the mountain that eventually took his life.

“Because there is,” he replied.

Even if it’s unclear whether Mallory uttered the words, it’s long been the standard for other climbers struggling to explain why they risked their lives and feet to reach the world’s most challenging mountains.

Drummond agreed. He loves to climb mountains because of the action. But he also knows that records make sense.

“If I had a Guinness World Record, my kids would really think I was cool,” he laughed.

He also wants to solve some of the unequal situations in the small, unique world of mountaineering. For years, the image of a mountain climber was someone like Reinhold Messner or Edmund Hillary-bearded, serious, white men ice-ax-toting from Europe or North America.

Organizations like Full Circle, an all-Black group of mountaineers who summit Everest in May 2022, are showing the world that extreme activities like mountain climbing are available to anyone with a strong test. .

Climbing the mountain can be very dangerous. People can die from chronic illness, falls and colds. But it’s not just the mountains themselves that present challenges.

At the Sumantri base, two rival tribes are fighting over who has the right to mine there. And the ongoing conflict in Russia has resulted in many airlines stopping flights to the country, meaning Dykh-Tau will be challenging to reach.

It is also expensive and time consuming.

Just getting a permit to hike Everest costs $ 11,000. That doesn’t include airfare, local transportation, gear and guide fees.

In addition, it can take weeks or even months to measure some of the world’s highest peaks due to the acclimation process.

For Drummond, being a mountain woman is an asset, not a weakness.

“There are people who go to the mountains like me against the mountain,” he said.

“For me, it’s more of an experience to be with the mountain. If you go to Everest and you’re in the Himalayan mountains, that mountain in my view is very feminine. It’s very loving. It’s huge. It’s huge. It’s very feminine. beautiful. People are unbelievable. They honor life. They pray before they go up the mountain. “

Her climbs also became a way to connect with her children, who ranged in age from 9 to 15. Some joined her on the climb, while others preferred to hang out on the lower ground.

But they all watched their mother pursue her goal. Drummond uses his mission as a way to inspire children in their own lives.

“Let’s take a look at Mount Everest,” he told them in a homework session, “but first you have to do your math.”

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