Climbing an 8000-meter peaks is always a significant challenge. It requires skill, dedication and a considerable amount of luck as well. There are 14 mountains on our planet that reach above that lofty height and to date only 31 people have managed to summit them all. Most of those who have climbed these difficult mountains have taken several years to accomplish that feat. Now, once climber hopes to do all of them in just two years time.
47-year old Nick Cienski has announced Mission 14, which he has dubbed “the World’s Toughest Expedition.” Beginning in 2014 he will launch his attempt to climb all of those big peaks in just 24-months, including Everest, K2 and the always tricky Annapurna. He will begin his quest next winter, although which mountain he’ll start with remains to be seen. Nick will climb using supplemental oxygen and he hopes to set several records along the way, including a new speed record on Everest, which currently stands at 8 hours, 10 minutes and was set by Permba Dorje Sherpa in 2004.
The expedition will be of a truly epic scale. The budge is in excess of $5.6 million and 3780 porters will be used to carry gear, establish camps and fix ropes so that Nick can climb these mountains. No one has ever topped out on more than five 8000-meter peaks in a year. He’ll have to do that twice!
Cienski is launching this undertaking not just for setting records however. His goal is to raise awareness of human trafficking in places like Nicaragua and take steps to stamp out that awful activity. He hopes to raise funds for nonprofits that combat the illegal slavery trade.
So, what do you think? Can he do it? It seems like an extremely ambitious expedition, particularly when you have to rely on the always-fickle weather that we find in the Himalaya and Karakoram. One bad storm could put an end to Nick’s plans. Considering how temperamental conditions have been on a number of the 8000-meter peaks in the past few years, I’d say he has quite a struggle on his hands.
Stay tuned for more on Mission 14 in the months ahead. If things go according to plan, we should be hearing Nick’s name a lot over the next two years.
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