Americans Dan Lochner and
We live in a society fascinated by extremes. We want to know the first, the
fastest, biggest, shortest, longest, and quickest, when it come to just about
any human activity. You can see it from our fascination in sports records,
fastest cars, and tallest mountains. Mountaineering is no different, in-fact
it may be more focused on records than a lot of other sports. There is of
course the mother of all records Mt. Everest, and the lesser but no less
arduous and significant climbing records on the other Himalayan peaks. Who was
really first atop Everest? When was the first winter summit of K2? Who did the
first oxygen-less ascent of what mountain and when? We all want to know.
Dan Lochner, a 21-year-old native of Edina, Minnesota, is taking his own
crack at the record books by attempting to become the youngest person to scale
the Seven Summits (the tallest peak on each continent). Japanese climber
Atsushi Yamada who completed all seven peaks at the age of 23 years and 9 days
currently holds the record. If all goes according to Lochner's plan he will
summit Mt. Everest in May and then Mt. Vinson, the tallest mountain in
Antarctica, sometime in the fall. He hopes to join the Seven Summits club now
with around 113 members (around 41 of them American), at the age of 22.
Lochner's quest for the Seven Summits began at the age of 13 in a Maine
summer camp when he developed an interest in rock-climbing and a love of the
outdoors. When a friend of a friend climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest
mountain, Lochner first considered making a bid for the Seven Summits. He
trained for 10 days in the Canadian Rockies and in the Alaskan Range before giving Mt. McKinley
(Denali), the tallest peak in North America, a try last summer. Even though he
doesn't consider himself a mountaineer Lochner had privately decided that if
McKinley were a success then he'd give the other 6 peaks a shot. McKinley
turned out to be an arduous 15-day climb, but in the end it was a successful
McKinley was followed by Elbrus in Europe, Kosciusko in Australia, and
Kilimanjaro in Africa, giving him 4 of the 7 summits. Then came Aconcagua
in Argentina making a second attempt at Aconcagua in the South American Andes,
an earlier attempt at summiting Aconcagua was prevented by severe weather and
an attack of bronchitis just 600 feet short of the top. In addition to
Everest, and Mt. Vinson, Lochner hopes to climb Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New
Guinea as well. There is some dispute in climbing circles over whether
Kosciusko or the taller Carstensz Pyramid constitutes the seventh summit.
Political problems in Papua New Guinea make climbing Carstensz Pyramid
Lochner plans to return to University of Richmond after completing the
Seven Summits and complete his degree in Economics.
His climbing partner:
Dan Meggitt of Philadelphia
is a free spirit looking for adventure in every corner of the Earth. Meggitt,
a teammate and aspiring Seven Summit climber, will be climbing together with
Dan Lochner this March to attempt the traditional North Col of Everest.
Meggitt, besides being an excellent mountaineer, has many accomplishments
under his belt, namely sailing around the world, solo.
The Dan's met each other in
Talkeetna, Alaska in April 2003 while enrolled in a mountaineering course with
Alaskan Mountain Guides. Coincidently, both Dan's, while being enrolled in the
same mountaineering course, also were planning to climb Denali (McKinley) a
week later and had plans to also climb the remaining Seven Summits. Instantly,
their similar personalities and goals brought them together, bonding a
friendship while training in the ramparts of the Alaskan Range. Since their
meeting, the Dan's have been climbing together on Denali and Elbrus as a team.
Mount Everest will be the next expedition they as a team.
To date, Meggitt has climbed
Denali, Elbrus and a solo climb of Aconcagua. In addition to Everest this
March, he has plans to climb the remaining Seven Summits in the near future.
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