Mountain climbing is a dangerous sport that—similar to endurance racing—tests the mental ability of the climber just as much as their physical strength. Mountaineers are driven people who are motivated by setting records, and one of the proudest accomplishments is to be the first at doing something. Here’s a list of important mountaineering firsts from around the world.
Richard Bass, U.S.A.
The North American representative is a major ski resort owner in the United States. But, business success wasn’t enough for him, and he wanted to do something bigger. He decided to try to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountains on each continent. He was the first one to successfully accomplish it.
Edmund Hillary, New Zealand
Mt. Everest is the tallest and most famous mountain in the world. Sir Hillary became famous by being the first to climb it, along with his Sherpa helper, Tenzing Norgay. There is a great deal of wonder about another climber, George Mallory who may actually have been the first to the summit. Unfortunately, Mallory didn’t make it back alive, so no one has been able to confirm this.
Walter Parry Haskett Smith, England
As the long name hints at, Smith was an upperclass Englishman with a thirst for adventure. He was athletic, and needed somewhere to push himself when he finished school and no longer had competitions. This led to his interest in a sport that didn’t yet exist, and his efforts of finding a more sophisticated way of scaling walls while recording his results have led many to call him the father of modern rock climbing.
Cathy O’Dowd, South Africa
This adventurous lady grew up in Johannesburg, and decided to accomplish her own mountainous firsts. Everest had already been climbed, and a woman had already been to the top, so she decided to do something different. After summiting Everest from the southern approach, she became the first woman to come back and also tackle it from the northern side.
Park Young-seok, South Korea
This South Korean climber decided to set as many records as he could. However, the most impressive was being the first to complete a True Explorers Grand Slam. This feat is defined as summiting all of the Seven Summits and getting to both the North and South Poles, and it’s only been completed by a handful of people.
Iván Vallejo, Ecuador
Despite having some amazing mountain ranges, there aren’t a lot of notable-record-setting mountaineers to come out of South America. But, that didn’t stop Vallejo who managed to summit all of the 14 peaks above 8,000 meters without using supplemental oxygen.