Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Seven Zits

A friend of mine was bemoaning the fact that in her viewpoint Idaho, or maybe she meant Boise, had no real mountains.

Another friend overheard and asked, "What do you mean? Don't the Sawtooths and the Whiteclouds count?"

In response, she added, "No. I mean real mountains like Rainier and Baker and Hood."

"What!" he retorted, "Those aren't mountains, they're zits!"

I had to laugh heartily at that, but I have enjoyed my time spent in the Cascades. I haven't done that many volcanoes yet, just Olympus, Rainier and Glacier Peak but I've enjoyed my climbs and I will admit they do feel real compared to the nearly snow-bald 12,000 footers in Idaho.

Q: How many glaciers are there in Idaho?
A: Idaho has no glaciers, only permanent snowfields
(highlight with cursor to read answer)

Recently I've taken a pretty active role in redesigning my life to be prioritized around my interests. Two near the top are travelling and mountaineering. This combination brought to mind a great book I read as a child, Seven Summits about two ordinary, but very rich men who decided on a whim to climb the highest point on each continent.

Few consider me ordinary. So, I immediately started thinking about how I could pervert this to make it interesting. My first take was to take my favorite number and climb the 11th Highest Peak on each continent.

Gasherbrum I, public photo by blu sky
licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License
A little quick research made me step back a bit. I'm not saying I won't do it, but I am saying that the 11th highest peak in Asia (and naturally the world), Gasherbrum I (26,509 feet), is a little beyond my current abilities. In 2003 19 people summited and 4 died. This is an expedition-style mountain located in a remote region along the China-Pakistan border.

Retreating slightly, I continued my search and stumbled upon a list of the world's highest volcanoes and to my delight, I'd already summited the 11th highest volcano in North America!

I may just have found my next goal to propel me around the world. To become the first individual to climb the 11th highest volcano on each continent.

My Seven Zits
The 11th Highest Volcano on Each Continent
N. AmericaMount Rainier14,411ft4,392mWashington
(United States)
S. AmericaNevada el Muerto21,286ft6,488mChile / Argentina
AfricaVisoke12,175ft3,711mCongo / Rwanda
OceaniaUlawun7,658ft2,334mNew Britian
(Papua New Guinea)
AntarcticaMount Terror10,597ft3,230mMarie Byrd Land


Brent said...

I think with a little creative scheduling I might be able to work Hofsjokull in as a layover on my way to Baden Baden for our family reunion. My parents did a layover in Reykjavik and absolutely loved it a few years ago.

On first look Hofsjokull doesn't appear too challenging though with the substantial glacier travel necessary I would want a companion. Any Icelandic climbers out there care to stroll up Hofsjokull with next me in June/July 2007?

SWIG said...

I would love to say yes, but I am kind of booked up then. perhaps I will piddle my way to the summit of kilauea about the time you are skiing down from Hofsjukull - We could toast to each others honor...

Hrm. Coordinated intercontinental volcanic escalation. Sounds Sexy.

SWIG said...

check that. is there a volcano in Hawaii that you CAN'T drive to the top of? :)

I will still toast you honor, even if the hike to the summit does only involve a 5 minute stint in my tevas.