Romi Garduce completes ‘Seven Summits’ climb
MANILA, Philippines—Just like his past alpine climbs, his moment on top didn’t last long.
But that fleeting moment proved historic as Romeo “Romi” Garduce emerged as the first Filipino to complete the renowned “Seven Summits” after conquering Vinson Massif in Antarctica at 6:30 p.m. (Antarctica time) on Jan. 5.
“The summit day itself was the most difficult because that part of our climb was very steep,” Garduce said in Filipino in his first phone interview late Friday night on GMA News.
“It was a bit windy, so it was chilly, so we only had a few moments to appreciate the view.”
The remarkable feat made Garduce one of the few Asians—15 at the last count—to complete the “Seven Summits,” the collective reference to the highest mountains in the seven continents of the world.
Garduce said he battled biting temperature that dropped to as low as -26 degrees Celsius, but eventually enjoyed his view at the peak.
“All around you, you’ll see the mountain range of Ellsworth,” Garduce said. “And you’ll see the flat range of Antarctica, where you’ll see endless plains of ice.”
Vinson Massif, the highest mountain at 16,067 feet in the ice-covered continent of Antarctica, was the last mountain Garduce needed to scale to wrap up his 10-year journey that started in Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa (September 2002).
Garduce also conquered Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, South America (January 2005), Mt. Everest in Nepal, Asia (May 2006), Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Europe (August 2007), Mt. Mckinley or Denali Peak in Alaska, United States in North America (June 2008), and Australia’s Mt. Kosciuszko (December 2008) and Indonesia’s Mt. Carstensz Pyramid (July 2011) in the Australasia region.
The 42-year-old Garduce left last Dec. 23 for Punta Arenas, Chile, one of the main jump-off spots to Antarctica, with Filipino climber Levi Nayahangan.
But his fellow member at the University of the Philippines Mountaineers failed to reach the top due to respiratory infection.
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