Seven Summits Begins!

Mount Everest, Asia

This is an exciting but nerve-wracking post. It’s exciting because it is the beginning of this journey—making it public, writing it out, and building this website makes it real. This is also nerve-wracking because I will reveal some things in this post that very few people know about me and my personal motives and goals or the Seven Summits.

Mount Aconcagua

I know there will be doubters and people that question my ability for the Seven Summits project. I also know there will be many more that are supportive and positive about my motivations and my intent to complete this project.

No one is more dangerously insane than those who are sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle. -Alan Watts

I have dreamed since a little kid of climbing some of these mountains—Everest and Denali to be sure. The climbing history and challenge on one hand; the accomplishment and adventure on the other. I have watched Everest documentaries not only in awe but with a strong feeling of jealousy. I want to do that!

This will be by far the most difficult endeavor I have undertaken — pushing my climbing abilities and pushing me financially and professionally to balance everything. But I feel like I am in the best possible place to undertake this endeavor.
I have begun researching regularly for training and warm-up mountains, gear that I will eventually need to acquire, classes and training courses, and planning intermediate training expeditions like the Colorado Trail thru-hike and winter Fourteeners in Colorado. Training will likely include filling my 60L pack with all kinds of weight to hike up trails, stadiums and music venues, and skyscraper stairs.

Mount Vinson in Antarctica

In the mid-2000s when I was only partway to hiking all of Colorado’s Fourteeners, I never imagined I would climb the most difficult mountains: North Maroon, Capitol Peak, the Crestones. These were improbable, far-off mountains that only crazy people climbed. I guess I am now one of those crazy people. I suspect this journey will have a similar curve to it: starting off easy and easing into the most difficult on the list both climbing and logistically. I am starting off easy having already submitted Kilimanjaro and aiming for Mount Kosciuszko in 2020 and Elbrus in 2020 or 2021. These three are easier than almost any Fourteener I have attempted in the last 5-7 years. So I know these are possible barring altitude sickness or schedule issues. Everest is another story. Everest is my new North Maroon or Capitol Peak. It will take several non-seven summit climbs to prepare me for Everest: other Himalayan 8,000m peaks, Mount Ragnier, Mount Hood, winter Fourteeners, and others to get used to glacier traverse, crampon techniques, and fixed-rope climbing. I will work up to it just like I worked up to successfully climbing North Maroon and the Crestones. It won’t be easy but I quite like taking on big adventures and big goals.

It is better to risk starving to death than surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what's left? -Jim Carrey

I have suffered depression and anxiety for years; for the first time in many years it is getting better with the help of regular psychotherapy and other lifestyle changes. The Seven Summits is also a consequence of my depression and anxiety. Climbing the Seven Summits is a journey that I have wanted to start for years but fear of lacking support, fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of not knowing how to get started or how to finish have always postponed me starting the climbs. I am tired of living in fear, without confidence, and sad about what I am doing or what I am not doing. Ironically the “safer” my life has become, the less happy I have become. Climbing the Seven Summits is not only about reaching seven summits, but about happiness, about pursuing a dream, and about using my own dream to fuel the dreams of others.

You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. -Jim Carrey

So from now on I choose love. I choose love of mountains, outdoors, climbing, expeditions, big mountains, and my love of far-away destinations. The Seven Summits is my vehicle to pursue many passions, but most of all my passion to reveal the world to others and help others the only way I know how.

… you will only have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart. - Jim Carrey

As a journalist-turned-designer, the driving interest in my work is to unify the ethical and documentary obligations of journalism (storytelling) and its common ground with the projective, forward-thinking obligations of the design fields (futuretelling)."

Jonathan Knight