Alan Arnette used the arrival of 2015 to announce a major new endeavor. In a blog post to his website Alan has announced Project 8000 for Alzheimer's which will be his attempt to climb all of the 8000 meter peaks in an effort to raise funds and awareness to combat that debilitating disease.
As you may recall, in the summer of 2014 Alan made the journey to Pakistan to climb K2, the most difficult mountain in the world. He was successful in that attempt, but it took just about every ounce of skill and strength he had at his disposal to reach the top. After completing that incredibly difficult expedition, he began to think about what he had learned on the mountain, and what he wanted to do next. After some time at home, and a bit of reflection, he decided that he wanted to climb all of the 8000 meter peaks, of which he already has three on his resume.
In addition to K2 (8611 m/28,251 ft), Alan has also summited Everest (8848 m/29,029 ft) and Manaslu (8163 m/26,781 ft). That leaves Kangchenjunga (8586 m/28,169 ft), Lhotse (8516 m/27,940 ft), Makalu (8485 m/27,838 ft), Cho Oyu (8201 m/26,906 ft), Dhaulagiri (8167 m/26,795 ft), Nanga Parbat (8126 m/26,660 ft), Annapurna (8091 m/26,545 ft), Gasherbrum I (8080 m/26,444 ft), Broad Peak (8051 m/26,414 ft), Gasherbrum II (8035 m/26,362 ft), and Shishapangma (8027 m/26,335 ft) left to be climbed.
Alan has set an ambitious schedule for himself to complete the remaining 11 mountains over a 5 year period that begins this spring. In a few months time, he'll head back to Nepal to attempt Lhotse, the neighbor of Everest. Those two peaks share much of the same route, so it will be familiar ground for Alan, who has a double summit of Shishapangma and Cho Oyu scheduled for the fall. After that, he hopes to methodically knock off each of the remaining mountains in his effort to become just the second American to climb each of these mountains. At the moment, Ed Viesturs is the only other person from the U.S. to accomplish that feat.
Alan's previous attempts to using mountaineering as a vehicle to raise funds to fight Alzheimer's have proven to be very successful. His K2 climb engaged more than 5 million people, and raised $70,000 in just six weeks time. He'll be tapping into that same experience as he moves forward with Project 8000, which will once again raise funds for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.
In his blog post, Alan also indicates that he is looking for sponsors to join him on this quest. Climbing these mountains will obviously be an expensive endeavor, but it will also bring a lot of awareness to the organizations and brands that partner with Alan on this endeavor. This is a truly great opportunity to not only be a part of a project that is seeking to end an agonizing disease, but also make climbing history. It will certainly be a highly visible platform for anyone who joins the team.
Expect to hear a lot more about Alan's quest to climb these mountains – and conquer Alzheimer's – in the months ahead. As usual, I'll be posting updates on his progress while he is on his expeditions, the first of which will begin this spring. It should be an amazing experience to follow.