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End of the Six Summits Project: Erden Eruc Aborts Mission Due to Funding and Visa Issues

End of the Six Summits Project: Erden Eruc Aborts Mission Due to Funding and Visa Issues

Erden Eruc’s Six Summits Project Comes to an End Due to Funding and Visa Issues

Erden Eruc, an accomplished adventurer and endurance athlete, has announced the end of his Six Summits Project. The project, which started in 2003, aimed to reach all the Seven Summits (excluding Vinson in Antarctica) by human power and then climb them. However, lack of sponsorship and visa issues prevented him from continuing the project.

Eruc’s plan was to relaunch from the Philippines into the South China Sea and then continue to Everest. But he was unable to obtain the necessary visas. First, Myanmar denied his visa request, and later, China also turned him down. By the time China started issuing visas again after a long COVID hiatus, Eruc’s mounting costs made it impossible to continue.

Eruc’s project began in earnest after the death of his friend Goran Kropp in 2002. The two were climbing together in Washington State when Kropp suffered a fatal fall. On the plane returning home from Kropp’s funeral in Stockholm, Eruc drew the world map on a piece of paper and marked the highest summit on each continent except Antarctica. He said, “I’m going to reach each of the highest summits on these continents by human power, in honor of Goran.” That’s how the Six Summits Project began.

Eruc first climbed Denali in Alaska in 2003 and started his human-powered circumnavigation of the world four years later. He climbed Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia in 2010 and rowed alone across the Indian Ocean, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with his father in 2011. He completed the human-powered trip around the world in 2012.

Eruc then decided to tackle the final three summits, Everest, Elbrus, and Aconcagua, but financial issues began to impede his plans. He decided to bypass the summits for the time being and continue with the circumnavigation. He left California in the spring of 2021 and rowed 11,000km to Hong Kong, estimating that it would take 10 months. On reaching Asia, he planned to cycle overland to Everest.

However, weather and visa issues prevailed against him from the start. Eruc faced Tropical Storms Hilda, Jimena, Kevin, and Linda, which eventually became a hurricane. Currents and winds pushed him off track and delayed him significantly. Then he was denied a visa to China, which was crucial for his plan.

Eruc stopped in Hawaii in September 2021 to repair his boat and try to fix his visa problems, but to no avail. Weather also became an issue, and he had to row to Guam to resupply. When he landed, he became the first person to row from Hawaii to the Marianas and notch 1,000 days of rowing alone across the world’s oceans, besting the previous record set by legendary British rower Peter Bird in the 1990s.

Eruc re-launched from Guam in February 2022, hoping to avoid tropical depressions and storms. However, he started a few weeks too late, and weather forced him to stop in the Philippines. He left his boat there, waiting for him to return and restart in February 2023. Sadly, it was not to be.

Eruc said, “At this point, I am disappointed, but I don’t have any regrets. To put it simply, I lost faith that my journey would be welcome in China…Six Summits Project lost its luster when it became clear that even before this visa nonsense, reaching Everest by human power and then climbing it was out of the question without proper funding.


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