Colombian climber Manolo Barrios prepares himself for one of the biggest challenges of his storied career: climbing the tallest mountain in Antarctica by himself, reported local media on Tuesday.
In 2001, Barrios became one of only four Colombians to ever reach the top of Mount Everest. Such a feat would usually be the peak for any adventurer, but for Barrios it was not enough.
“What now?” Barrios asked after scaling the world’s tallest mountain.
The idea of ‘The Seven Summits’ originated after Barrios and others scaled Mount Everest. The idea is simple — reach the highest point on every continent.
“We climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount McKinley in Alaska, Aconcagua in Chile and Elbrus in Russia. But in my case,” said the 55-year-old Barrios, “I need only this mountain [Antarctica’s Mount Vinson] and one in New Guinea.”
Located on the Ronne Ice Bank 1,200 miles from the South Pole, Mount Vinson is 15,256 feet above sea level.
Barrios plans to climb the ominous peak in December, when the weather can be even more unforgiving than normal. Sunlight shines 24 hours a day and winds can reach speeds of up to 180 miles per hour. In addition to the hurricane winds and the unyielding brightness, Barrios will have to deal with the cold and the solitude.
“It is one thing to talk about it, it is another to live it,” as Barrios put it.
If all goes according to plan, Barrios will make it to the top of Mount Vinson, the sixth of his ‘Seven Summits’, by the end of December and will plant the first Colombian flag on Antarctica.
But as Barrios himself admitted, summiting the mountain is dependent on one thing.
“The mountain will decide when I turn back.”