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Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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March 27, 2018

Madness Climber Begins His Pursuit of the "Eight-Thousanders"

The world is covered in mountains of all shapes and sizes, but only 14 peaks stand taller than 8,000 meters (26,247 ft). Each of these has a riveting history, the triumphant and disastrous often only minutes apart. Mountain Madness climber Alex B. is embarking on his first of the "eight-thousanders," Cho Oyu. Madness Everest guide Ossy Freire leads the Expedition starting August 25. We invite you to follow the expedition experience through the eyes of Alex.

 

It's Over Eight Thousand!!!

 

You've heard some of their names.

Everest.  K2.  Annapurna.

 

Everest's Khumbu Icefall. Ossy Freire photo

 

Some you've probably never heard of, but whose very names fill the mind with wild and mystical images of far off and exotic places.

 

Makalu.  Dhaulagiri.  Shishapangma.

 

There are only fourteen of them in the world, residing in a thin chain of mountain ranges stretching from the impossibly high sheer walls of Nanga Parbat, standing in isolation in Pakistan to the west, to the daunting and holy Kangchenjunga, 1500km to the east near the border between Nepal and Sikkim, India.  It is one of the younger mountain ranges on the planet, still rising at a rate of five millimeters per year, pushed towards the stratosphere by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent plowing into and under the Tibetan plateau.

 

Hidden Peak.  Broad Peak.  Cho Oyu.

 

Cho Oyu camp. Mark Payne photo

 

They are known as the "eight-thousanders;" mountain peaks whose summits reach up over eight thousand meters (26,000 feet) above mean sea level, into a realm normally only occupied by jet streams and jet liners (and the occasional flock of overachieving geese).  Up here the atmosphere is so thin that the vast majority of those who venture into this realm will use supplemental oxygen while they dash to the top in often razor-thin windows of opportunity.

 

Gasherbrum II.  Lhotse.  Manaslu.

 

First successfully climbed between 1950 and 1964 in a post-war burst of nationalistic pride by teams from countries around the world, most of them have still only seen a few hundred ascents.  The scene of many epic triumphs and tragedies, they are among the most storied and famous (and infamous) mountains in the world.

 

Coming Summer 2018.

 

Follow the journey on social media:

 

Instagram:  @weekendalpinist 

Twitter: @weekendalpinist 

 

Alex

P.S.  For those not up on their memes (or aren't Dragon Ball Z fans)

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