There are some places that always have a white Christmas. Captain Phil Nolan, ex-Royal Engineer search advisor, will have witnessed snow-covered sights from Russia to Argentina, as Brimstone sponsors him through the spectacular Seven Summits. As he conquers seven impressive mountains, he will battle physical challenges and be rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views that can only be found on the highest mountain peaks!
A Different World
Ancient, snow-laden and sometimes treacherous, mountains can seem like an entirely separate world. However, International Mountains Day on 11th December raises awareness of that world, exploring the importance of mountains in regards to life on earth. Some people take it as a reminder of their great beauty, while some think of it in terms of political importance.
This day often highlights mountain environments, peoples and cultures, which Captain Nolan will experience as he travels across the globe. The Seven Summits consists of the highest peaks in each of the seven continents, taking him on a real adventure.
The Seven Summits
Mountaineers can choose between two agendas when tackling the Seven Summits: the Messner list and the Bass list. We’re sponsoring Captain Nolan through the Messner list, which includes the dramatic structure, Denali, in Alaska. Also known as Mount McKinley, this is the tallest mountain in North America, with a summit permanently blanketed in snow and glaciers that are more than 30 miles long. On the other side of the globe, Mt. Vinson provides an extreme mental and physical challenge, with Captain Nolan having to battle the freezing temperatures and windswept landscape that is Antarctica.
In between these two colossi, the Messner list features Mt. Elbrus, which is the most prominent peak in Russia and the highest mountain in all of Europe. Above the snowline, temperatures can get to minus 30 degrees, combining with strong winds for a harsh and intensely difficult climb.
Aconcagua is also counted as one of the Seven Summits, an Argentinian mountain with the name ‘Sentinel of Stone’. Although it’s considered to be one of the less demanding of the Seven Summits, the altitude can have a great impact on its climbers. Ignoring or not realising the effect of the low oxygen levels has led to multiple casualties every year, bringing home the potential danger of these behemoths.
From Argentina to Australasia…The Carstensz Pyramid is a very different mountain to Elbrus or Vinson, rising out of a dense Papua rainforest. Also known as Puncak Jaya, this is the highest point in Australasia and one of the only places in Indonesia to have snow, with some routes led by guides from local tribes as climbers strive to reach this jungle mountain.
Everest And Kilimanjaro
Out of all of the Seven Summits, the easiest two to name are Everest and Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is not as steep as many mountains, although high altitude makes getting to the summit to take in the spectacular African scenery a real trial. Mount Everest is, of course, the most difficult mountain, straddling the China-Nepal border and stretching to just below the cruising height of a jumbo jet!
Everest reminds us of mountain unpredictability, with the vast 2014 avalanche striking down climbers with fragments of ice and a 2015 Nepalese earthquake sending multiple avalanches down to Base Camp, where they swept away part of the camp, killed 15 people and injured at least 70.
Yet with respect, preparation and good weather, dedicated mountaineers can experience the full beauty of the Seven Summits safely. Mountaineering is also a way to push the boundaries of the individual and of the entire climbing community – we’re reminded of Nimsdail Purja, who climbed 14 8000m peaks in six months, including Everest and K2, known as the ‘Savage Mountain’. We’re cheering on Captain Nolan as he nears his goal, trusting him to conquer the Seven Summits in the same way Purja conquered the ‘Savage Mountain’.
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