Italian alpinist Hans Kammerlander this week completed a quest that was little heralded and hardly celebrated, but nonetheless very cool and worth noting: On Tuesday, he topped out on Antarctica’s 15,916-foot Mt. Tyree, thereby become the first person to climb the second-highest summit on each of the world’s seven continents. Kammerland was the first to climb Tyree in 15 years and only the eighth person to gain the summit, which lies 13km from Mt. Vinson, the southern continent’s highest peak.
His bid to tackle the Second Seven technically began when he successfully ascended K2 in 2001, but became a quest in 2009 when he tackled South America’s second-highest, 6893-meter Ojos del Salado (6893m), and 5199-meter Mount Kenya in Africa. In 2010, he tagged North America’s Mt. Logan (5959m) and Europe’s Dychtau (5204m), followed by Oceania’s Puncak Trikora (4730m) in Indonesia in spring 2011.
The 55 year old from South Tyrol has had a long and storied climbing career, which included stretches as Reinhold Messner’s partner. In 1984, the two traversed Gasherbrum II and Hidden Peak without returning to base camp, and in 1996 Kammerlander set an Everest speed record, climbing from base camp to the summith via the North Col in 16 hours 45 minutes. He skied most of the descent but was unable to stitch a complete line because of conditions.