For most, summiting one of these mountains would be the feat of a lifetime; a jewel in the crown of stories to tell grandchildren, or friends back in the warm, cozy confines of civilization. Some manage a few spaced out by a few years to allow for the immense logistical task of organizing such an expedition and to give the mind and body to heal after. Bagging them all typically takes years - to date, only 248 people have succeeded. To even come close to breaking the record is a mammoth undertaking, and puts you in a very exclusive club. The current world speed record for summiting all seven currently stands at 126 days by Polish mountaineer Janusz Kochanski in 2017.
Steve Plain and Project 7in4 hope to break this record, and to date has successfully summited the lowest 6 peaks, leaving only Mt Everest. With the help of Team Montane Athlete Jon Gupta, he has ascended some of the most iconic mountains in the world, endured incredible physical hardship and potentially deadly conditions. All this has put him and the project in good stead, however. Currently at Base Camp 2 on the slopes of Mt Everest, the team are acclimatising with every moment, and are well positioned to break the record in good time.
To achieve this, he needed a lot of things to go well; even the slightest delay could lead to missing the record. A single equipment malfunction or illness from food or altitude could spell disaster for the expedition as a whole. Even something as supposedly trivial as losing a glove or getting wet could increase the already palpable risk of injury or worse.
- International climbing legend and Team Montane Athlete Tom Ballard.
Steve suffered a broken neck following a surfing accident in 2014 and, for a while, doctors were unsure whether he would ever walk again. Despite this, Steve overcame all the odds stacked against him and in under a year he had already summited Mt Aspiring in New Zealand. The first of a number of training expeditions to prepare his mind and body for the most ambitious undertaking of his life.
He set out on this incredible adventure to raise awareness and funds for the Surf Life Saving Association and SpinalCure Austrailia.
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Jon is no stranger to challenge. He has organized, climbed, guided and summited mountains on over 65 expeditions across the world, and has summited most of the mountains involved on Steve's expedition - including Everest - at least twice. In fact, he has more high-altitude experience than anyone in the UK his age. He is also used to the time-sensitive pressures of record-breaking, having achieved a number of world record-breaking speed ascents around the world.
While he has helped Steve organize and plan the whole project, he didn't go to Antarctica with him, and initially, Everest was only a maybe. Thankfully, however, Jon will be joining Steve for the final peak.
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