Is This the World's Toughest Expedition?
That’s the claim being made by Nick Cienski, 47, mountaineer and Under Armour designer, for his planned attempt to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks within two years. Tough? Yes. Toughest? We have our doubts, especially compared to dogsledding 3,400 miles across Antarctica for seven months in temps that havered around -20 to -30º Fahrenheit—a feat Will Steger and his team achieved in 1989-90.
Nonetheless, the $5.7 million Mission 14 project promises to be an extraordinary adventure, all in the name of calling attention to human trafficking. Cienski’s nonprofit will partner with other anti-slavery organizations to raise funds for the cause.
For each climb, one Sherpa will guide Cienski, and a core 65-member Sherpa crew will haul gear and run ahead of the duo to set up ropes and base camps, so Cienski can travel with as minimal weight as possible. Helicopters will be used where necessary to accomplish in two years what usually takes seven years or more.
"I will attempt to break multiple world records on the most daring high-altitude expedition in history,” he boasts on his website.
To protect his body from the elements, he designed a 14-piece clothing line that uses Cocona fabric that blends polyester with burned carbon and other naturally-derived particles.
“Mission 14 is fundamentally about changing lives,” Cienski writes. “We are not climbing mountains to be famous. We are climbing because we believe there are ways to release children from poverty that haven’t been done yet.”
Additional sponsors are Asolo, GoalZero and Under Armour.
For more information, visit www.mission14.org.
This story first appeared in Expedition News.