You don’t have to risk your life in the Himalayan “death zone” to have an epic, mountain adventure! “Sea-to-Summit” (climbing mountains from sea level) makes even the safest route extremely challenging. Of course, it is not an original idea, it’s the way most of the mountains in the world were climbed until the 20th century. Try to explain this to your friends and you will probably get blank stares! It’s no easier with most mountaineers, who are accustomed to taking cars, cablecars, snowcats or helicopters as high as possible. “Why make a climb so hard?” they invariably ask. “It’s not meant to be easy!” is my answer.
To prove my point, here are some recent human-powered circumnavigations that re-define the meaning of “commitment:
“Around the World by Bike: Alastair Humphreys (UK) 50,000 miles, 5 continents, 50 countries in four years. No buses, no hitching, no support vehicles.
Around the World on Foot: Karl Bushby (UK)set off in 1998 and has completed over 17,000 miles. With 19,000 miles to go, he hopes to be home by 2012….
Meanwhile, two Canadians set out to be the “First Around the World by Human Power:”
Expedition Canada (Colin Angus) split up with
Vancouver to Vancouver (Tim Harvey). Both returned successfully to their starting point.
Expedition 360 (UK) started in 1993, and taking the long-term view……….
Erden Eruc (US) from Seattle is attempting an equally ambitiuous long-term goal: The Six Summits while rowing around the world! He has already climbed Denali from his house in Seattle hauling all his gear by bike both ways, Aconcagua, and rowed the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
My Personal Experience: I have attended lectures by many adventurers, including Alastair and Colin in Portland, and interviewed Erden and two other ocean rowers for NW Yachting magazine. And here is my own record that makes up in quantity what it lacks in quality–dedicated to the memory of the great Bill Tilman.
Sea-to-Summit–In the 1990’s I was a pioneer sea-to-summit climber in the Cascades, climbing all the major peaks from sea level, then adding the 14,000’+ volcanoes of Mexico and high points of Guatemala and Hawaii. (Climbing from the Pacific Ocean into the Andes, I discovered 5,000 meters/16,400 feet was probably my altitude limit.)