The outdoor adventure and exploration community has always looked for big, bold new challenges. For years, it was all about climbing the Seven Summits or reaching the top of all 14 8000-meter peaks. Then there was the Explore’s Grand Slam, which added skiing to the North and South Pole to the mix. Now, comes a new challenge that mixes three different disciplines to create a triathlon of shorts, although in this case it is of world-spanning proportions.
Dubbed the Worldbig3, this challenges involves cycling, rowing, and mountaineering, as a part of three individual legs, each of which is a massive challenge in its own right. The three legs include doing a solo ride across America as part of the Race Across America cycling event. Often dubbed the “world’s toughest bike race,” the 3000 mile (4828 km) begins in Oceanside, California and ends in Annapolis, Maryland, crossing 12 states in-between. A solo ride is indeed a significant undertaking.
If adventurers manage to complete that ride, their next task as part of the Worldbig3 challenge is to make a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean. In doing so, they would once agai cover somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3100+ miles (5000 km). This solo row can be made independently, or as part of an organized event, such as the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. Rowers can choose to go either east to west or vice versa, depending on their approach.
Finally, the third epic challenge that makes up the Worldbig3 is to complete a solo summit of Mt. Everest. Considering that this has only really ever been done once, this is clearly the most difficult of the there phases of this undertaking. In my mind, Reinhold Messner is the only man to truly complete a solo climb of Everest, which means going up without the assistance of Sherpas of course, but also completely alone and without any outside help. That’s something that is next to impossible these days as well, unless someone is climbing in the fall, when the mountain is far less crowded.
If you want to find out more about the so-called Worldbig3, you can check out the website dedicated to the challenge. There isn’t a ton to see there, but its worth taking a look and thinking about the logistics of such an endeavor. Two stages of this—the bike ride and row—are done in a solo capacity every year. It is the Everest climb that makes this one truly tough.