This Mountaineer is on a Mission to Break a World Climbing Record

One man's mission to make a difference while conquering six summits

Flickr/rupertuk, Licensed under Creative Commons

Some people climb mountains simply for the thrill of the challenge.

Others, like Nick Cienski, climb to make a difference.

Cienski wants to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to do so he'll attempt to conquer a record-breaking feat. The plan: to summit six peaks—Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, and Manaslu—and he plans to scale them all within just one year.

Starting this month he’ll set out on a quest to climb more than 70,000 vertical feet over six mountains by October 2015 in order to raise funds for his non-profit human trafficking awareness group, Mission 14®.

If the quest goes as planned, Cienski will break South Korean mountaineer Park Young-Seok’s current Guinness World Record for climbing five of the 8,000-meter Himalayan peaks within one year.

“Climbing mountains is what I know, and raising awareness for human trafficking is what I am called to do," Cienski said in a press release. “By summiting these peaks, I am working to empower organizations and inspire individuals to be brave, take action, and think beyond your own limits every day.”

In addition to being an experienced mountaineer, Cienski is the senior director of innovation at Under Armour, which allowed him the opportunity to play a role in designing the gear that he and his team will wear on the excursion.

Cienski’s team includes five other climbers and a four-member logistical support team. The mission, which has been dubbed The 6 Summits Challenge, will begin with the climbing team split into three groups, each starting out on a different mountain.

The plan is for Cienski to first climb Lhotse, summiting in early May and then descending to camp 2 where he will join the members of his team already in progress on Everest.

After reaching the top of Everest in mid-May, if all goes according to plan, Cienski will then go to Makalu and afterwards move on to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma and Manaslu in the fall.

Ultimately, Cienski aims to “redefine adventure” so that it can be used as a platform to engage and educate people about, and eventually defeat, the issue of human trafficking.


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