Outdoors

Challenge21 climber Jake Norton sets out for three tallest peaks on each continent

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Why the Triple Summits, and what do you expect will be the biggest challenges as you work your way through the list?

I deliberately focused, in consultation with my wife, Wende, on setting a high climbing bar for three reasons. First, we wanted the climbing goal to mirror in some sense the magnitude of the water/sanitation crisis around the world. So, it had to be big. Second, we knew we wanted to raise a lot of money through the project, and get a lot of people involved through small donations rather than a couple of big checks (although we're not opposed to those!). So, we knew it had to be spread out over a longer period of time. Third, having past experience with expeditions and sponsorship, I was very aware that quite often companies are pitched an idea to fund an expedition, and then have a relatively short time window to maximize their ROI -- perhaps only the 30 or 60 days of the expedition. We wanted to be different with our funding approach to companies. Corporations who partner with us to underwrite will be buying into a four-year marketing push, rather than just one expedition. So, the long project made sense from multiple perspectives.

With the Triple Seven specifically, it's interesting as I've never really been much of a peak bagger. I climb because I love climbing, not because I have a mountain "to-do" list. But, I recognized that, to be digestible to the general public, I needed to have a tangible, coherent goal. Most people have heard of the Seven Summits, or at least can understand the concept. The Triple Seven was an ambitious goal that would satisfy the three components listed above and -- to boot -- has yet to be done by anyone. So, it made a lot of sense. And, there's a lot of peaks on the list I've long wanted to climb, so that's an added plus!

On challenges, there will be lots. Most of the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks are either more difficult technically or logistically than their higher siblings, so there's huge challenges there. If I were to single out a few, it would be K2 (#2 in Asia/World), Logan (#2 in North America), Tyree (#2 in Antarctica), Kangchenjunga (#3 in Asia/World). Those are all tough peaks, both technically and logistically, and are not climbed a heck of a lot.

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Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane