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The Seven Second Summits are the second highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Unlike the Seven Summits (the highest mountains of the seven continents), the Seven Second Summits are not as popular amongst climbers and peak baggers. The technical and logistical difficulties of the lower summits are much higher.

The list: Asia-K2 (Pakistan/China-8611 m); South America-Ojos del Salado (Argentina/Chile-6893 m); North America-Mount Logan (Canada-5959 m); Europe-Dykh-Tau (Russia-5205 m); Africa-Mount Kenya (Kenya-5199 m); Antarctica-Mount Tyree (4852 m); Australia & Oceania-Puncak Mandala (Indonesia-4760 m).

So, when you are done with the Seven Summits and the Seven Second Summits, what's left? The Seven Third Summits :)

The list: Asia-Kangchenjunga (Nepal/India-8586 m); South America-Monte Pissis (Argentina-6793 m); North America-Pico de Orizaba (Mexico-5636 m); Europe-Shkhara (Georgia/Russia-5193 m); Africa-Mawenzi (Tanzania-5149 m); Antarctica-Mount Shinn (4661 m); Australia & Oceania-Puncak Trikora (Indonesia-4750 m).

March 09th, 2012 , around 08:30, local time Adam Bielecki and Janusz Gołąb made the first winter ascend of Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak, 8068m) in Karakorum, in Pakistan. The climbers summited through the "Japanese" route and were not using supplementary oxygen.

Gasherbrum I is the eleventh eight-thousand meters peak climbed in the winter (nine of them where climbed by Polish climbers), and a second in Karakorum.

It looks like Italian Simone Moro, and Denis Urubko from Kazakhstan are becoming the new leaders in a very demanding (and dominated in the past by climbers from Poland) activity - winter climbing in the Himalayas.

On February 2nd, 2011 they (along with Cory Richard from the USA) reached, in amazing style, the summit of Gasherbrum II (8036 m), the thirteenth highest mountain amongst the fourteen eight-thousanders, and the first ever climbed in winter in Karakorum. GII (after Shisha Pangma and Makalu) is Moro's third first-winter ascent, and Urubko's second (climbed Makalu with the Italian).

Everyone interested in this masochistic (a little) way of wasting free time should hurry up. There are only Four eight-thousand-meter summits not climbed in winter - K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak). Unfortunately all of them are located in Karakorum, where winter climbing, according to experts, is much more difficult than in the Himalayas.

It has been an amazing year in the Himalayas so far. A South-Korean mountaineer, Oh Eun-sun, reached the summit of Annapurna and became the first woman to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders. Unfortunately there's a big controversy surrounding her Kanchenjunga ascent. Hopefully she can provide a satisfactory explanation because a few days after Eun-sun's success, a Spanish woman, Edurne Pasaban, also finished the race to the title, without any doubts about her climbs.

Two new records on Mount Everest (one would think everything has already been done on this hill). Apa Sherpa climbed to the "top of the world" for the TWENTIETH time, and Jordan Romero from the USA became the youngest person ever to reach the summit at the age of THIRTEEN! Jordan is on his way to becoming the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits. Vinson Massif is the only mountain left on his list. Amazing!

The 2010 spring season has been also good for Polish mountaineers. After four previous attempts Piotr Pustelnik finally reached the summit of Annapurna and became the twentieth person and the third Pole (after Kukuczka and Wielicki) to climb all fourteen highest mountains in the world. Kinga Baranowska also succeeded on Annapurna. It was Kinga's seventh eight-thousand meter mountain. She is only one short from the best ever Polish female record of Wanda Rutkiewicz who died on Kanchenjunga in 1992.

2011.02.10
IT'S OFFICIAL! OH EUN-SUN HAS BEEN DISQUALIFIED. EDURNE PASABAN IS THE FIRST WOMAN WITH THE CROWN OF HIMALAYAS! COGRATULATIONS!

A South Korean climber Oh Eun-sun, 44, is taking the final steps in becoming the first woman in the world to conquer the 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters.

At a press conference, Oh said she will challenge Annapurna (8,091 meters) starting April 25. "I will continue trying to climb the peak until mid-May if I fail at the first attempt," she said.

After acclimatization, the expedition plans to set up its base camp at 5,600 meters around early April; the high base camp at 6,800 meters in mid-April; and attempt the summit toward the end of the month. Oh will climb via the North Buttress Route without oxygen. She had already tried to reach the summit of Annapurna last autumn, but failed due to bad weather. Last year, she ascended four mountains without oxygen-Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters), Dhaulagiri I (8,167 meters), Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters) and Gasherbrum I (8,068 meters).

Oh's rival for the title, Edurne Pasaban of Spain, who has taken 12 peaks, is also challenging the Korean for her remaining two summits-the 8,027 meter Shishapangma and Annapurna, this spring.

This summer, Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson will embark on his dream of becoming the first person to ski the world’s three highest mountains: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga. Arguably, the toughest challenge of the three will be his expedition to the world’s second highest mountain, K2, which begins in June 2009.

Fredrik Ericsson is one of the world’s leading high altitude skiers with ski descents on some of the highest mountains on earth, including Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma, Gasherbrum 2, Laila Peak and Dhaulagiri.

“I have already skied on three of the 14 8000-meter peaks ... During these adventures I gained critical experience that will apply towards my goal of skiing the absolute highest. The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 (8612m) this summer, Kangchenjunga (8586m) in autumn 2009, and Mount Everest (8850m) in the autumn of 2010,” says Fredrik.

I don't think anybody knows why, but it looks like people from Japan (at least some) stay in really good shape even later in their lives. At an age where most of us have problems with climbing stairs some Japanese are doing ascents of 8000 meter peaks in Himalayas. It's true that the oldest conqueror of Mount Everest is not from Japan but out of ten ascents done by mountaineers of "the third age", seven were done by Japanese including the only woman Toshiko Uchida. It's never too late to change slippers for mountaineering boots.
Below, ten himalayan ascents done by older people:
Min Bahadur Sherchan, Nepal, 25.05.2008, Mount Everest, age 76; Yuichiro Miura, Japan, 26.05.2008, Mount Everest, age 75 ... Boris Korshunov, Russia, 02.10.2007, Cho Oyu, age 72; Toshiko Uchida, Japan, 01.10.2002, Cho Oyu, age 71; Katsusuke Yanagisawa, Japan, 22.05.2007, Mount Everest, age 71; Takao Arayama, Japan, 17.05.2006, Mount Everest, age 70; Yuichiro Miura, Japan, 22.05.2003, Mount Everest, age 70; Katsusuke Yanagisawa, Japan, 02.10.2006, Cho Oyu, age 70; Werner Berger, Canada, 22.05.2007, Mount Everest, age 69; Yuichiro Miura, Japan, 08.05.2002, Cho Oyu, age 69.

Polish climbers have achieved great success in winter on 8000 meter climbs. A Partial list of the achievements:

1. Everest: 2.17.1980 first winter accent of Everest. Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy. 2. Kangchenjunga: Krzysztof Wielicki and Jerzy Kukuczka reached the summit on 1.11.1986. Andrzej Czok died during this climb. He had previously reached the summits of Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Dhaulagiri (a winter climb). 3. Dhaulagiri: Jerzy Kukuczka and Andrzej Czok reached the summit on 1.21.1985. 4. Manaslu: Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski reached the summit on 1.12.1984. 5. Cho Oyu: Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski reached the summit on 2.12.1985. Three days later Andrzej Heinrich and Jerzy Kukuczka summited by a new route that has not been repeated on Cho Oyu. 6. Annapurna: Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer reached the summit on 2.3.1987. 7. Lhotse: Krzysztof Wielicki reached the summit on 12.31.1988.

British Rod Baber, one among the circa 520 people who summited Everest this spring, managed to stand out and get a great deal of press in world media by claiming to have made the first cell-phone call and send the first SMS from the summit. In fact, a Chinese team used a cell-phone from the top already four years earlier.

"One small text for man, one giant leap for mobilekind -- thanks Motorola,” Baber reportedly said, giving all merit to the multinational company, which had provided him with a terminal and sponsored his expedition.

Actually, the call was possible thanks to China Telecom, which set up an antenna and thus allowed everyone on the hill to call home from several points, including the summit. The cell-phone coverage was set up to support the huge Chinese team doing a rehearsal carry of the Olympic Torch.

A 71-year-old man from Japan has become the oldest person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.
Retired teacher Katsusuke Yanagisawa scaled the 8,850m (29,035ft) Himalayan peak, breaking the record set by a 70-year-old Japanese man in May 2006.
"I was pretty much at ease mentally at the summit, like I could sing a song," he told a Japanese TV station. Mr Yanagisawa said he climbed the Tibetan side of the peak with a team including New Zealanders and Japanese.

History of climbing Mt. Everest - 1962

Illegal four-man expedition led by the American Woodrow Wilson Sayre is trying the pre-war British route up the North Col and NE Ridge. Possessing a permit to climb Gyanchung Kang from the Nepalese side, the party ascends the Ngozumpa Icefall with Sherpa support, but then surreptitiously crosses the Nup La into Tibet.
Without porters and relying on a grueling schedule of load-shuttling that covers the same ground three times daily, the group reaches the base of the North Col in nineteen days. They climb the North Col, but a fall lands Sayre and partner Roger Hart in a crevasse where they survive the night by wrapping themselves up in a tent. Undeterred, Sayre and Norman Hansen set off the very next day up the North Ridge, but can only climb 1,200 feet (400 meters) in the next two days. Realizing that they are beaten, they turn back but Sayre slips and falls 600 feet (200 meters) down the North Ridge snowfield before stopping. Incredibly, the now emaciated and half-starved expedition is able to return back over the Nup La into Nepal without encountering Chinese patrols.

History of climbing Mt. Everest - 1960

Chinese and Tibetan team of 214 men and women, led by Shih Chan- chun, makes the first summit of Everest via the North Col and Northeast Ridge. Long doubted by Western mountaineers because of the lack of a summit photo and the claim of summiting at night, the photos and film the Chinese did release reveal that they at least climbed the Second Step, the key to the route (although Reinhold Messner claims he possesses documentation proving they didn't climb it, so far this evidence has not been produced).
The final assault party of Wang Fu-chou, Liu Lien-man, Chu Yin-hua, and the Tibetan Gonbu (also known as Gonpa) assaulted the final 15 foot (5 meter) Second Step headwall using pitons and team tactics. After Liu Lien- man repeatedly falls off attempting to lead the pitch, Chu Yin-hua takes off his boots and socks, and using a shoulder stand climbs the last vertical pitch in bare feet! Exhausted by his effort, Liu Lien- man is forced to halt at 28,600 feet (8,700 meters), but the remaining three climbers make it to the summit where they purportedly leave a plaster bust of Chairman Mao by a rock outcrop.

The alpinist of world renown, Reinhold Messner has decided to enter a strategic alliance with SALEWA owner Heiner Oberrauch and his brother Georg, the owner of Sportler. Their common goal is to establish Bolzano as the European Mountaineering Headquarters. The first stage in achieving this goal was the opening of the Messner Mountain Museum in Sigmundskron Castle in June 2006. The museum will be the first of its kind in the world and will be provide a great attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Korean alpinist Park Young Seok has succeeded in reaching the North Pole. This success of exploration has marked Park the first human being in the world to ascend the 14 Highest 8000m Himalayan Peaks, the 7 Summits (the highest peaks on each continent), and reach the 3 poles (Everest, The North Pole, and the South Pole).
Park finally stepped his foot on the North Pole on April 30, 2005 00:00 PM.

From "Everest News":

"Everest 2006 just got more interesting...
Jerzy Kukuczka, Wanda Rutkiewicz, Krzysztof Wielicki, Martyna Wojciechowska? Well maybe not, but she is much better looking! [Have a sense of humor Krzysztof!]
Martyna, a polish Playboy cover girl, will attempt Everest from the Tibet side with Boguslav Ogrodnik. Yes the polish plan a traverse by the normal route, but of course that has been done by several climbers. Somehow we think Martyna will get more coverage... in the Media :) With 2006 probably bringing the 3000th summit of Everest, firsts are hard to obtain, First Playboy Cover Girl to summit! GO Girl!"

Environmental campaigners are calling on UNESCO to place Everest National Park (Sagarmatha National Park) on the World Heritage Danger List because of climate change, so that the legal duty to protect the area is respected. They warn that unless urgent action is taken, many Himalayan lakes could burst, threatening the lives of thousands of people and destroying a unique and irreplaceable environment.
Pro Public (Friends of the Earth Nepal) and record-breaking Nepalese climbers, delivered their petition by hand to the World Heritage Committee in Paris on Thursday 18 Nov 2005. Petitioners include Sir David Attenborough, Sir Chris Bonington, Reinhold Messner i Stephen Venables.

October 4th, 2000 - one month after the death of Canada's most popular prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian government changed the name of Mt. Logan (5959 m), the highest mountain in Canada, to Mount Trudeau.
After surprising opposition to that change from historians, mountain climbers, and citizens of the Yukon the goverment revoked the change. It looks like sometimes (unfortunately very rarely) we can force the politicians to listen.

British mountaineer, Alan Hinkes, has successfully reached the summit of Kangchenjunga (May 2005).
This marks the completion of Hinkes' Challenge 8000, his attempt to be the first Briton to Summit the world's 14, 8000m peaks.
Hinkes is the 14th person who climbed all 8000 meters mountains.
The others are:
1. Reinhold Messner (Italy), 2. Jerzy Kukuczka (Poland), 3. Erhard Loretan (Switzerland), 4. Carlos Carsolio (Mexico), 5. Krzysztof Wielicki (Poland), 6. Juan Oiarzabal (Spain), 7. Sergio Matrini (Italy),8. Park Young Seok (S. Korea), 9. Hong Gil Um (S. Korea), 10. Alberto Inurrategui (Spain), 11. Han Wang Yong (S. Korea), 12. Ed Viestur (USA), 13. Fausto Di Stefani ( Italy).

History of climbing Mt. Everest - 1952

Rumors of a post-monsoon Russian attempt from the North led by Dr. Pawel Datschnolian, possibly with the hope of beating the Swiss to the top and scoring major propaganda points in an age of Sputnik. There are reports that this expedition left Moscow on October 16th and eventually placed Camp VII at 26,800 feet (8170 meters) before six climbers (including Datschnolian) simply disappeared. The Russians deny the expedition ever took place and the Chinese have never made any mention of it.
Interestingly enough, in an interview with the Tibetan Gonbu (also known as Gonpa), a member of the successful 1960 Chinese first ascent of the North Ridge, a "mystery camp" was encountered at 27,900 feet (8500 meters).
Located above the Yellow Band, this camp could not have been placed there by any of the British pre-war expeditions.
Was the camp placed there by this "mystery" Soviet expedition?
Looking for a good idea for your holidays? How about the so-called "Grand Slam of Adventure"? All you have to do is climb the highest mountains of all the continents and reach both poles. So far only a few people have been able to join "the club".
They are: Heo Young-Ho (S. Korea), Fedor Konyukhov (Russia), David Hempleman (UK), Bernard Voyer (Canada), Khoo Swee Chiow (Singapore), Haraldur Olafsson (Iceland), Stuart Smith (USA), Randall Peeters (USA), Jo Gambi (UK), Rob Gambi (Australia) and Park Young Seok (S. Korea).
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