Climbs - Mt. Everest, Asia - 29,035ft / 8,850m, PROJECTED: April - May 2013
Seven years and six peaks later, amid hundreds of days spent proudly serving in combat zones and countries far from home, the many members of the USAF 7 Summits Challenge are extremely excited to have just one peak remaining in our goal to take the US Air Force to the top of the world: Mt. Everest.
The highest peak on Earth has seen a fair number of climbers on its icy summit, but surprisingly no formal team of American military members has ever been among the ranks. British, Indian, and several other military climbing teams have taken on this peak, yet America has yet to do so. Since envisioning this feat over a decade ago, we’ve been looking forward to the day that statistic is forever erased. In fact, this climb of Everest will cap the first ever completion of the 7 Summits by a team of active duty military members from any nation! We’re proud to put America and its servicemen and women into the record books where they belong.
The USAF 7 Summits Challenge team not only hopes to make this climb a history making event, but we will also use it as a tool to highlight the great aspects of the US Air Force and motivate the Airmen that serve in it. Air Force members are working on every continent, 24 hours a day, tracking objects high in space, deep-water diving during Special Operations missions, providing life-saving medical care when disaster strikes, transporting millions of tons of humanitarian goods, disrupting terrorist networks in remote areas of the globe, developing cutting-edge solar technology and biofuels, and protecting world networks from cyber-criminals, to name just a few or their roles. With such a diverse and dynamic group of Airmen to motivate, we decided the only option was to take on the largest challenge we could: Mt. Everest.
Additionally, we believe physical fitness is essential to a healthy, adventurous life. The Air Force’s “Fit to Fight” program emphasizes this through increased physical training and tougher testing. For each of our climbs, we’ve used Air Force provided fitness centers to obtain the necessary physical training to reach these mountains. If it’s possible to climb the 7 Summits using mainly an Air Force fitness center to train, it’s possible to achieve any physical feat through their use.
While the push-ups we do atop each summit is an exclamation mark to this belief, we first started doing them to honor our fellow Airmen who have died serving their nation since 9/11. With several high-altitude pushup records already under our belt, we hope to set another one on the highest point on Earth: Mt. Everest’s summit. It will be the ultimate military tribute to those who have given so much, as well as a unique show of spirit and accomplishment.
The National Geographic Society recently measured the summit of Mt. Everest at 29,035ft in elevation. It sits on the border between Nepal and Tibet, over looking the Himalayan mountain range. Surrounded by jagged and beautiful peaks such as Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, and enormous glaciers like the Khumbu Glacier base camp sits upon, Everest is located in one of the most beautiful and rugged parts of the world. This region of Nepal is home to the famous Sherpa people, a group of astonishingly tough and equally kind folk.