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Romi Garduce seeks out more challenges

MANILA, Philippines—There are more mountains to climb and adventures to seek out. Romi Garduce wants to try them all out.

“Just like the mountain that is timeless, so is mountaineering,” Garduce told journalists. “It’s not something bound by age constraints. Like there are some trying to set records as the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest.”

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Garduce just completed his mission of scaling the “Seven Summits,” becoming just the 15th Asian and first Filipino to complete the feat. He hopes his next adventure, though, will take him across much flatter, yet just as hostile, terrain.

“The South Pole is also on my list,” said Garduce. “It’s more difficult because it usually takes two months. Hopefully, it will be an all-Pinoy team.”

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“It isn’t a bad idea at all. But for now, I have to relax and enjoy,” said Garduce, who just returned to Manila last week after successfully reaching the summit of Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica at 16,067 feet, last Jan. 5.

The latest achievement wrapped up Garduce’s 10-year journey to scale the Seven Summits, the collective reference to the highest mountains in the seven continents of the world.

“I want to climb more 8,000-meter peaks,” Garduce said in a recent press conference at Travel Cafe in Greenbelt 5, Makati.
“It’s a more difficult record since there are 14 of them in the world. Right now, I’ve only climbed two.”

The 42-year-old Garduce, a guest host of GMA 7’s Born To Be Wild program, started his quest in 2002 in Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa.

“I am very happy and I would like to thank my supporters including GMA 7 and The North Face,” said Garduce.

Garduce, however, joked that the climbing bug hasn’t compelled him to mimic Frenchman Alain Robert, known as the “Human Spider,” and scale skyscrapers.

“I don’t want to get arrested,” Garduce chuckled.

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GMA7 director for sports and special projects and Prime CEO and president Jacky Quintos joined Garduce in the presscon. Quintos later awarded Garduce P200,000.

Araneta said GMA will air Garduce’s feat next month in a special that will be dubbed “Pito sa Pilipino.”

“I would say Mt. Vinson is the fourth most difficult among the Seven Summits,” said Garduce, who still ranked his epic 2006 climb in Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world at 29,029 feet, as the toughest.

“What made Vinson difficult was the physical effort, the terrain and the challenge of the harsh environment. It was very cold.”

The diminutive but strong climber has also scaled 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.

Garduce said he aims to focus on future climbers.

“I want to train the next generation,” said Garduce. “It’s one reason why I think it’s important to share my experience. I hope we’ll have more climbers and have a structure of continuity.”

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TAGS: Mountain-climbing, Romi Garduce, Seven Summits, Sports
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