(CNN) — In 1986, American businessman Richard Bass landed in the report books by changing into the first particular person to climb the “seven summits,” the highest peaks from every continent. On that listing are a few of the most iconic mountains in the world: Denali in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and naturally Mount Everest.
But mountain climbers aren’t the variety of people that simply let information relaxation. For many mountaineers, it is the seven second summits — aka the second highest peak on every continent — which are thought of a extra vital feat.
The relaxation, although, are something however family names.
Ojos de Salado (“Salty Eyes”) on the Chile-Argentina border is the highest volcano on the planet. Mount Tyree in Antarctica is comparatively straightforward to climb by mountaineering requirements, however the challenges of attending to the White Continent and dealing with its climate situations imply that solely a couple of dozen climbers have ever made it to the prime.
Only one particular person has formally climbed all seven of the second summits, however there’s somebody scorching on his heels to finish the set. And she is not what most individuals assume a mountaineer seems to be like — she’s a mom of seven who lives in Utah and did not begin climbing till she was in her thirties.
Throwing down the problem
Meet Jenn Drummond. Drummond has at all times been athletic, and he or she loves a problem.
With her fortieth birthday on the horizon in 2020, she determined to take her mountaineering expertise to the subsequent degree.
That 12 months, she employed a climbing coach, with the aim of summiting Ama Dablam, a mountain in Nepal.
But after finishing it, the coach introduced a brand new problem — the Seven Second Summits. “He said, ‘you have seven children, there are seven continents,” she recollects.
But climbing mountains requires much more than bodily coaching. Covid threw the complete world into disarray — abruptly, Drummond needed to dwelling faculty her youngsters, and worldwide border closures made it unimaginable to journey.
So far, she has climbed Dykh-Tau, Mount Kenya, Mount Tyree and most lately Mount Logan in Canada. K2 is deliberate for summer time 2022.
Drummond’s quest to climb the seven second summits has was a barely longer challenge as a consequence of some disagreement about which peaks rely as the official seven.
If you solely contemplate the continent to be the nation of Australia itself, the second summit there may be Mount Townsend in the state of New South Wales.
But for geographers who contemplate Australasia and Oceania a part of the continent, the second summit is Sumantri in Indonesia’s West Papua province. To make certain her report is indeniable, Drummond plans to climb each.
Drummond in motion climbing Mount Kenya.
Because it is there
In an anecdotal story, somebody as soon as requested the explorer George Mallory why he was so determined to summit Mount Everest, the mountain that finally claimed his life.
“Because it’s there,” he responded.
Although it is not clear whether or not Mallory truly uttered these phrases, they’ve lengthy been a touchstone for different climbers who wrestle to elucidate why they threat life and limb to summit the world’s most difficult mountains.
Drummond agrees. She likes to climb mountains for the sake of the act. But she additionally is aware of that information imply one thing.
“if I had a Guinness World Record, my kids would actually think I’m cool,” she laughs.
She additionally desires to handle a few of the inequalities that exist in the small, rarefied world of mountaineering. For years, the picture of a mountain climber was somebody like Reinhold Messner or Edmund Hillary — bearded, severe, ice-ax-toting white males from Europe or North America.
Mountain climbing may be exceptionally harmful. People can die from altitude illness, falls and the chilly. But it is not solely the mountains themselves that present challenges.
At the base of Sumantri, two rival tribes are at battle over who has the rights to the mine there. And the ongoing battle in Russia has resulted in lots of airways stopping flights to the nation, which signifies that Dykh-Tau is difficult to succeed in.
It can be costly and time-consuming.
Simply getting a allow to hike Everest prices $11,000. That would not embody airfare, native transportation, gear and information charges.
Plus, it will probably take weeks and even months to scale a few of the world’s highest peaks as a consequence of the acclimation course of.
For Drummond, being a girl on a mountain is an asset, not a weak spot.
“There’s definitely people who approach the mountains as me versus the mountain,” she says.
“For me, it is so much more an experience of being with the mountain. If you go into Everest and you’re in the Himalaya mountain range, that mountain range in my opinion is very feminine. It’s very loving. It’s enormous. It’s beautiful. The people are unbelievable. They honor life. They pray before they climb the mountain.”
Her climbs have additionally turn out to be a approach to join along with her youngsters, who vary in age from 9 to fifteen. Some have joined her on climbs, whereas others want to hang around on decrease floor.
But they’ve all been watching their mom pursue her aim. Drummond has used her mission as a approach to inspire the youngsters in their very own lives.
“We’ll look at Mount Everest,” she tells them throughout a homework session, “but first you’re going to do your math.”