We’ve seen climbers set ambitious goals for the Himalaya before, but Canadian Nick Cienski has set the bar high for 2015. Nick is preparing to launch the 6 Summit Challenge, during which he will attempt to summit six 8000-meter peaks in a single year, a feat that has never been accomplished before.
The challenge will begin in Nepal this spring, where Nick will first attempt to summit Lhotse, the 8516 meter (27,940 ft) neighbor to Mt. Everest. His current plan to top out on that mountain in early May, then descend to Camp 2 where he’ll rest before going back up to attempt to summit Everest (8848 m/29,029 ft) sometime around mid-May. After that, he’ll descend once again, take a brief rest, and then fly to Base Camp on Makalu (8481 m/27,825 ft) where he’ll go for his third 8000-meter peak in as many weeks.
With those three mountains out of the way, and with the summer Monsoon arriving in the Himalaya, Nick will take a much deserved break before returning in the fall for his second set of mountains. He’ll use a similar approach as in the spring, first attempting Cho Oyu (8201 m/26,906 ft) before moving on to Shishapangma (8013 m/26,289 ft) and Manaslu (8156 m/26,759 ft). The exact timeline for those climbs hasn’t been set just yet, but they should all take place during the stable weather conditions that return to the Himalaya post-Monsoon in the autumn.
Nick is undertaking the 6 Summit Challenge in an effort to raise funds and awareness of Mission 14, a nonprofit dedicated to battling human trafficking around the globe. The 6 Summit Challenge will be used as way to draw attention to this troubling practice, and to help Mission 14 and its partners to work to stamp out the illegal trade of human beings that is all too common in certain parts of the world.
As you can imagine, climbing three 8000-meter peaks back-to-back-to-back in the spring and the fall will be a logistical challenge unlike any other. During both of those time frames there will be three independent teams working on each mountain. Those teams will establish each of the camps, fix the ropes to the summit, and prepare for Nick’s climbs. Meanwhile, he’ll first focus on acclimatizing on one of those peaks before he launches his summit bids. He will be climbing with bottled oxygen above 8000 meters on each of these mountains, and the logistical support for the expeditions is being handled by the very experienced team from Himalayan Experience.
With the spring climbing season in the Himalaya just a few weeks away at this point, Nick is just one of many climbers getting ready to depart for Nepal. By the first of April, Kathmandu will be crawling with new arrivals as the new season begins to get underway. I’ll be keeping a close eye on his progress, and posting regular updates as the season unfolds. Stay tuned for what promises to be a very interesting couple of months once again.
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