'TRIPLE SEVEN SUMMITS peaks had been simply too difficult' | Interview with CHRISTIAN STANGL

On August 23, 2013 Christian Stangl ascended Shkhara (5193) in Caucasus Mountain Range to become the first person to accomplish Triple Seven Summits i.e. scaling the three highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Stangl’s climbing style ‘fast and light’ amalgamates skyrunning and climbing. In 2007, he reached Mt Vinson summit to conclude his First Seven Summits (or commonly known as Seven Summits) project in a cumulative record time of 58 hours and 45 minutes from BC to Summit. He took 16 hour, 45 minute on Denali (6194m), 9:10 on Mt Vinson, 16:42 on Everest (8848m), 5:18 on Mt. Elbrus (5643m), 5:36 on Kilimanjaro (5895m), 4:25 on Aconcagua (6956m), and 49 minutes up Indonesia's Carstensz Pyramid (4884m), from BC to summt. His 16 hours 42 minutes Everest ascent was a time record at that stage.

The pursuit of Second Seven Summits proved to be more challenging. Repeated failures on K2, the second highest peak of Asia, pushed him into complex situation - a false summit claim in 2010, followed by massive criticism from all corners. Nonetheless he recovered and went on to become the first person to complete Second Seven Summits, in January 2013.

Although, the Triple Seven Summits should have meant an ascent of 21 peaks, Christian Stangl climbed 30 peaks to avoid any doubt. He rather documented the summit readings using various GPS devices to facilitate definition of true Second and Third Seven Summit Mountain.

Download Second and Third Seven Summits tables at 8000ers.com.

The Austrian climber Christian Stangl participated in the round table on "The mountain on the cover of the media, when the scandal is more important than experience."
Christian Stangl; Source

Here is a short interview with Chris, that I did a couple of days ago.

When and how did the idea of Double and/or Triple Seven Summit trigger?
Christian Stangl: After completing the normal seven summits I looked out for something “NEW”. I did not want to repeat the 14 8000ers and over one or two years 2007 – 2009 the idea of the TRIPLE SEVEN SUMMITS came very slowly to my mind.

There were penalty of controversies and politics related to the identification of 'Triple Seven Summits'. You worked (and climbed 30 peaks) to clarify the situation. What's the importance of this work for you?
Christian Stangl: Yes there were many controversies, but exactly that was the reason that this project became more and more interesting to me. After some research I found a couple of conflicts concerning the elevations (and rankings as well) and that’s why I started a surveying program to clarify all those elevation conflicts. My final idea was to find out the correct ranking of the three highest peaks of the seven continents.

How difficult was it to recover from huge criticism after K2 mix-up in 2010, and become the first person to achieve Triple Seven Summits?
Christian Stangl: For more than half a year I was very depressed and in a bad mood. I felt guilty and yes, it was true, it was my fault. After some time I decided to continue, I didn’t care too much about the public opinion. I decided to finish the quest, I just wanted to find out the correct ranking and, of course, I wanted to climb all of them.

How did it feel to be at K2 summit in 2012, after attempting the peak for several years?
Christian Stangl: Well, the summit of K2 seemed to me like a gift of God. I summited after five years in a row in Pakistan, spending months on the slopes of the most dangerous mountain in the world. I summited at July 31st 2012 and returned without any frostbite nor any other injuries. Maybe my personal entire history on K2 from 2008 till 2012 was a huge examination.

You have a unique climbing style - a mixture of climbing and skyrunning. When did you adopt and practice this technique?
Christian Stangl: My style in the mountains was always: “Go light and go fast”. On the ordinary seven summits I made “Skyruns’, speeding up from the basecamp to the top in a single push. I was not able to make “Skyruns” on each of the 21 peaks of the TRIPLE SEVEN SUMMITS project. The majority of those peaks had been simply too difficult.

Triple Seven Summits involves plenty of traveling all around the globe. Any interesting experience, idea, suggestion or recommendation, you would like to share?
Christian Stangl: Well, there had been so many adventures, don’t know where to start. Next few months I’ll work on a book about the TRIPLE SEVEN SUMMITS quest. There will be a scientific part and a part of all the adventures.

Triple Seven Summits done … what’s next? Any future plans?
Christian Stangl: Yes there are a couple of ideas. Till now I didn’t decide which project I’ll run first. Stay tuned :-)

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