Tag: video

How Much Money to do the Seven Summits?

This is a continuation of an idea presented in my previous article on How Long to Do the Seven Summits HERE

First of all, let’s look at some average prices for each of the Seven Summits. These are generally taken from major, well-established guide companies. Some could be more or less depending on your own abilities to take care of yourself within limits established by local governments, as well as finding your way around in a foreign country and reading between the lines to hook up with local small guide and logistics companies.

Kilimanjaro Summit - 6:45 AM Jan 1, 2010 - I"m in orange
Kilimanjaro Summit – 6:45 AM Jan 1, 2010 – I”m in orange

That was a mouthful for sure, but basically, most normal people will be with a major guide company.

  • Everest: $70,000
  • Vinson: $50,000
  • Carstensz: $15,000
  • Denali: $10,000
  • Aconcagua: $6,000
  • Kilimanjaro: $5,000
  • Elbrus: $4,000
  • Kosciusko: $1,000

Note that none of these include airfare, and are otherwise about mid range for that mountain. You could go cheaper or more expensive, but this is a decent average.

If you go for all 8 of the 7 Summits, you’re looking at $161,000. Add in some airfare and other miscellaneous fees, and it’s going to be another $25,000 or so bringing the total to $186,000.

Myself, Kilian Jornet, and Todd Gilles at the opening ceremony for Elbrus Race 2013
Myself, Kilian Jornet, and Todd Gilles at the opening ceremony for Elbrus Race 2013

I don’t know much about your life, but let’s assume for a second that you are able to put away $1,000 each and every month. You could do it then with about 182 months of savings. A little over 15 years. Not bad. Add in the year or two that you’re actually off to the mountains, so about 17 years.

How in the world do people do it if they’re not on the 17 year plan?

  1. Have a really really good job
  2. Trust fund “kids”
  3. Live off charity
  4. Become a guide
  5. Mortgage your, or your parents’ house

I know people in each of those groups. The most successful, oddly enough, seem to be group 3, though they are really quiet about that, since it would turn off the flow of donations. Since the mortgage “bust” 5 is a lot less lucrative than it used to be, since back in the “boom” banks would go out 140% of the value of your house with a 5 year balloon, even without equity and a current loan, no matter how silly the use of the money would be. Hence the “bust” that resulted.

Seven Summits Quest - Volume 5 - South America - from Aconcagua Base Camp
Seven Summits Quest – Volume 5 – South America – from Aconcagua Base Camp

Now for reality

Yeah, you need to get that really really good job. Or hook up with someone who has an inside track on discounted, yet reputable guides and logistics operators in the area of your summit.

While I usually try not to toot my own horn, I do have a Full Service trip to Aconcagua for about 30% off the usual price of such a trip HERE and I have an Aconcagua Light Package for about half what others charge HERE.

Fill out the form (upper right side) and I’ll send you more info about my trips as I put them together. Kili and Everest Base Camp coming soon.

It’s well worth taking a quick look at to see if you can pull it off in 2015. To be honest, it’s an experiment, and if no one takes me up on the offer I might not be able to do it in 2016. So if you can adjust your schedule at all, let’s go to Aconcagua this February.

Seven Summits Quest Volume 5 – South America

If we do go, I’ll be working on that continuation of my successful book series, and you could be taking a part in it, with or without a pseudonym. Up to you …

Here’s a video I made to introduce it to my Kickstarter Project HERE 

[weaver_vimeo id=114147041]

NOTE: Wasn’t trendy enough to be funded 🙁




TP-101 – Toilet Paper for Hiking etc.

Toilet Paper

It’s a necessity. Sure, I’ve used snow and leaves before. You have too, right? To be honest, there’s almost nothing as much fun as a chunk of solid styrofoam neve as toilet paper. You think I’m kidding?

Toilet Paper for hiking - two plastic bags and a little roll
Toilet Paper for hiking – two plastic bags and a little roll

You’ll want to carry the smallest lightest bit of toilet paper you can get away with, unless you’re on a porter or sled supported trip, then you take the whole roll. In the pic above, I have a ziplock baggie, with another ziplock baggie to put inside for the dirty used toilet paper. If you follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles MORE INFO you won’t want to be leaving your toilet paper anywhere outdoors. The stuff seems to last forever. Even in the Papuan Jungle there were old bits and pieces left over from previous Westerners.

Getting that little roll off of a big roll can be a challenge for some people. I know of people who go to a gas station or NFS bathroom and carefully unroll it off the big roll onto the little roll. That’s a real pain. I prefer to just save the ends of the rolls, when it becomes about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick on the cardboard tube and stick them in a plastic bag in the back of the closet until I need them for a trip.

End rolls of toilet paper in a plastic bag waiting to be converted into hiking toilet paper small rolls
End rolls of toilet paper in a plastic bag waiting to be converted into hiking toilet paper small rolls

Over the years I have developed a little trick in which I squeeze and fold the paper tube liner until I can twist it out, leaving a small roll of toilet paper ready to go. Some toilet paper is glued onto the tube pretty firmly, so you’d have to slide your fingers around inside a little bit more to free the end. You can then put the resulting thin small roll of toilet paper inside your plastic bag for your hike, backpacking trip, or whatever it is you’ll need to do.

Two mini rolls from two end rolls of toilet paper. The tubes were folded and pulled out. Note that one has some paper still glued firmly to it.
Two mini rolls from two end rolls of toilet paper. The tubes were folded and pulled out. Note that one has some paper still glued firmly to it.

When I’m on an overnight or longer, I typically keep my plastic bags and mini roll inside whatever layer I’ll almost always have on. If I’m wearing a base layer with a Napoleon pocket, that’s a great place. If I have a puffy jacket that I’ll most likely put on before a trip to the “outhouse” I’ll keep it in there. I want it as close to me at all times as possible. You hate to get there and discover you forgot it.

Here’s a video showing the trick to get the tube out of your toilet paper

[vimeo 110856786]

If you have a better way, please leave a comment or better yet, post a video link for us. I’d love to get your opinion on this. Thanks!

Mount Olympus Speed Run

I have a few days off work so I needed to get some more outdoor training in for Elbrus. You might notice that I haven’t posted any outdoor training in a while because I had to cover for someone on vacation at work, and had a few business meetings I needed to be around for.

This morning I had just enough time to squeeze in a run up Olympus, one of the most familiar peaks on the East side of Salt Lake. Today I was going to commit to the Flexline Hydration tube system for my running. I’d already used it on the treadmill, stairmaster, and Jacob’s Ladder. Today would be the first trip outside. I connected it to a 1.8 liter Platypus bladder with one Camelback Electrolyte tab in it.

I got to the trailhead at about 5:45 AM, switched on the GPS and took off. I moved pretty quickly up in the dark with my little tiny headlamp, with the glowing city lights behind me.

Olympus Summit Cone
Top of Olympus. East Saddle to right, right red line is Class 4/5 route to top

I arrived at the saddle towards Raymond in 1:32, had a Hammer Gel, texted Angie, and took off up the Class 3 scramble to the top. I managed to make a wrong turn and ended up at the East Saddle so rather than retrace my steps I just went up toward the summit from there. It was mostly Class 4 with a few small cruxy sections of 5.3 climbing. Maybe about 80′ total. I managed to kick a rock loose and it fell, bounced for a few seconds. Seemed like 1000′ straight down toward the Northeast.

I topped out in 1:58. I got a shot with the mailbox summit register (though it’s just barely visible behind my right hip). I hung out for four minutes, drinking my auxiliary Camelback Podium bottle with Accelerade Hydro for the sugar/protein energy to get me down. I managed to slip between the staggered blocks at the top and bruised my shin. I scrambled down further to the West than what I ascended, but still ended up with about one hundred feet of Class 4. I saw the right way as I passed it on the way, but not sure if I’ll remember it later.

When I got to the saddle I began to really take off, as there’s not much time saving until then, since the scrambling is tough going. I started passing people about halfway down, and most were respectful of my running. I did manage to pass a couple guys who pulled over to the side. One yelled to the other “I told you people run on this mountain”. Far out.


I got to the car, texted Angie and then took off for home after turning off all my electronics. The Flexline Hose system worked fine. I especially appreciated it for the scramble, where I was able to drink at will. In most of the pics it looks pretty well down on my left side. It’s actually a few inches out from my chest while down to the left. This is out of my line of vision, and all I have to do is duck my head and I can feel for it with my lips and tongue to center it and bite the valve. I’m eager to try it in the cold now.

My stats are on my Google Blog if you want to see technical details.


Note: in video I’m running at 11:15 pace according to my Polar, and it’s a compilation of a few clips, I’m not drinking every 10 seconds.

Elbrus Race 2010

In September 2010 I attended the Elbrus Race [Blogger Posts]. Below is a gallery of images from the race organizers. I was entered at bib number 24.

I was also featured a few times in a promotional video [1:04, 1:13, 1:33] that the event promoters created as a “trailer”.

Elbrus Race 2010 in fact was the driving force and motivation for the best period of serious intense training I have ever endured. I trained twice a day, doing weight and cardio splits that carried me above and beyond all previous training, and got me down to 14% bodyfat (elite for my age according to the charts) from my starting point of 28%.

I really liked the spirit of the competition, and have seriously considered returning, though in 2011 the area was closed for various reasons. This year it’s open again, and the race is going to be held a few weeks earlier, at the end of August. In 2010 I had been given water right out of the drain pipe without being treated by the cook in the hut. I managed to pass the qualification race in spite of having to stop and “use the rocks” because of dysentery. I was too sick to continue and the event physician medicated me and pulled me from the race.

Here is a brief rundown of the articles from that period on my old blog:

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Elbrus is a volcano in Russia, and is considered to be the highest point of Europe.

Striking Camp – packing up to go home

Did a training overnighter on Timpanogos (a Utah County mountain 11,749′ tall near Provo, UT). Slept on a flat area below an series of avalanche runouts from the cliffs below Pika Cirque. For kicks I did this timelapse video as I took the tent down. Enjoy …

I took down the Sierra Designs Baku single-wall one-person tent. I had a short inflatable pad, with an inflatable sitpad for my head, and my backpack for my feet. I had buried the tent stakes in a t-slot fashion, and stomped them in. I had to use my ice axe to dig them out, but no big deal really, just be careful not to cut anything.

It’s fun to see the process in only 4 seconds – pretty amazing, really. It’s good training for any climbing, including the Seven Summits, to go out on your own and camp in the snow, relying on your own skills. Builds confidence so you know if everything goes to heck on your expedition, you at least know how to do it on your own.