41 years, Australia
Two mountaineers are trying to summit all 82 4,000 meter (13,123 foot) peaks in the Alps in 100 days, in odrer to raise awareness about climate change.
Climbers Peter Sandahl (Sweden) and Danny Uhlmann (United States), have summited 35 4,000 m (13,123 ft) peaks since May 5, when Climb for Climate began. The duo has been climbing for 54 days so far, through some “very challenging weather,” and hope to summit 47 more 4,000ers by August 13. The climbers are undertaking this endeavor in hopes of raising awareness about climate change, and particularly its effects in the European Alps.
Rock and Ice spoke with Fredrik Hertzman, Climb for Climate’s project manager, by phone about the motivations behind the expedition. “This project is about, first and foremost, raising awareness about the climate change in the Alps,” Hertzman said. “The climbing is mostly a vehicle in order to raise awareness, but the actual goal of the 82 summits is also a personal ambition for both Peter and Danny, so it’s sort of a two in one.”
“The Alps is one of the places where the consequences of climate change is most obvious and dramatic,” Sandahl, the founder of Climb for Climate, said. “The critical 2-degree level is already reached here which has big implications for many people, not only in the immediate surroundings. The objective with the Climb for Climate project is to raise awareness about how climate change is impacting these environments and inspire people, companies and organizations to take action.”
The project involves climbing the height of Everest around 20 times in the span of 100 days, and the climbers will have covered more than 400 kilometers of alpine terrain if they finish. The late Ueli Steck, who perished on Nepal’s Nupste in 2017, embarked on and completed a similar objective in 2015, when he summited all 82 peaks in 62 days. Martijn Seuren, a Dutch climber accompanying Steck on some of the peaks, died from a 950-foot fall into a crevasse on Mont Blanc. Steck went on to complete the expedition, using only human-power (hiking, biking, paragliding and skiing) to travel between and ascend each peak. He was just shy of the 60 day record set by the Italians Franco Nicolini and Diego Giovannini in 2008.
Peter Sandahl summiting.
Though the Climb for Climate is already half over, and only 35 of the 82 peaks have been summited, Hertzman expressed optimism about the climbers’ prospects. “They’ve had really tough conditions,” he said. “The weather has not been very friendly, with snowy conditions, wind and rain. It has constantly changed, so it’s been really tricky. Based on that, it’s fantastic that they’ve done 35.” The climbers have had to heavily modify their schedule as weather has forced them away from planned summits. “They’re having to go back and forth between peaks, take more transports and change routes,” Hertzman said. “So 35 so far is very good. We’re very optimistic.
As a part of Climb for Climate, one of the largest pension companies in the Nordic region has committed to move 7,000,000,000 Swedish kroner (788,105,500 USD) from traditional to sustainable investments. Thanks to this initiative, 300,000 customers will receive a green, climate friendly pension scheme. This transition, Hertzman said, “will reduce CO2 emissions by 71,000 tons.” Outdoor clothing brand Haglöfs and Protect Our Winters, the environmental nonprofit founded by legendary big mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones, are also sponsoring the project.
“The consequences of an increasingly warmer planet stretches far beyond losing a few ski days per year,” stated the Climb for Climate press release. “It is a whole ecosystem that is being disrupted when glaciers retreat, snow cover diminishes and the permafrost, which keeps the mountains together, melts.”
Photo credit: Climb for Climate
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