You may not know it, but there is an exclusive club to which, if you’re like most people, you do not belong. No, we’re not talking about the Skull and Bones or the Freemasons. We’re talking about the group that consists of anyone that has scaled what climbers call “The Seven Summits”. The Seven Summits are the tallest peaks on every continent, and from reports by The Olympian, only 86 Americans have ever done this. In fact, only about 280 people worldwide have done this. Oh, wait – make that 281.
Last month, Olympia, Wash., resident Steve Giesecke joined the Seven Summits club by scaling Antarctica’s Mount Vinson, a freezing 16,000 foot peak that on average is the highest of all the summits. The 56-year-old mountaineer starting the Seven Summits challenge in 1989 by climbing Alaska’s Mount McKinley. Since then he has mastered the other five summits, including Kilimanjaro, Kosciuszko, Carstensz Pyramid, Everest, Elbrus, and Aconcagua.
You may not be a world-class climber, but you can still have a lot of fun hiking and climbing in the Pacific Northwest. Before you head for the hills, however, make sure you have the proper climbing equipment. This includes a good pair of shoes/boots, warm clothing (even in the summer), a hunting knife or pocket tool, a powerful LED flashlight (don’t forget the batteries), plenty of water, food, and a good knowledge of the terrain you will be climbing. Have fun, and be safe!