Vinson Massif

At 4,897m (16,066 feet), Vinson Massif is the highest mountain in Antarctica, the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent on earth.

Vinson Massif lies on the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains at the base of the Antarctic Peninsula and approximately 1,200 km from the South Pole.

The climb itself is not difficult, but the main challenge is the remote location and extreme weather. During the summer season, November through January, despite 24 hours of sunlight, the average temperature is -30C. During the winter, temperatures plummet further. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on earth was -89.2C in Antarctica in 1983.

The mountain was first climbed in 1966 by an expedition led by Nicholas Clinch and as of February 2010, 700 climbers have attempted to reach the top of Vinson Massif.

2013 Speaking Recap

Last year gave me dozens of opportunities to relive my journey to the top of the world through motivational presentations at schools, universities / business schools and companies primarily across Europe and the Middle East, including at great companies such as Accenture, HP, McKinsey & Company, Danone and Dubizzle.

I spoke to audiences of various sizes, ages and cultural backgrounds about how many of the challenges we face on high altitude expeditions are very similar to the challenges that we encounter in our daily private and professional lives and therefore, how many of the ways in we address those challenges on the mountains are also relevant at sea-level.



As a businessman and mountaineer, I use the journey to address various topics relevant to businesses from encouraging ambition and setting goals for sales teams, to improving teamwork within and across departments as well as addressing topics such as dealing with constantly changing operating environments.

My most memorable experience from the past year was one young lady who came up to me post-presentation explaining that she suffered from ADD and has struggled to focus for periods longer than a few minutes for most of her life, however, my story had kept her engaged for almost two hours.

It gave me an amazing feeling…almost like the one I felt standing on top of the world ;-)


First Anniversary of My Seven Summits

Today’s the first anniversary of my Seven Summits – climbing the highest mountains of every continent as the first person from my native Finland.

The “Seven Summits” –term was coined by Richard Bass, an American climber, who became the first to climb the mountains in 1985.

  • Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m) in Tanzania
  • Antarctica: Vinson Massif (4897m)
  • Asia: Mount Everest (8850m) in Nepal
  • Australia: Mount Kosciuszko (2228m) in Australia
  • Europe: Mount Elbrus (5642m) in Russia
  • North America: Denali (6194m) in USA
  • South Africa: Cerro Aconcagua (6962m) in Argentina

A year later, legendary Italian mountaineer, Reinhold Messner, also climbed the Seven Summits, but instead of climbing Mount Kosciuszco in mainland Australia, he felt that the highest mountain for Australian continent should be Carstensz Pyramid (4884m), which stands in the middle of the jungle on the island of Papua in Indonesia.

There mountaineering community remains split regarding which one is the correct mountain for Australia, so both views are accepted and referred to as the Bass and Messner Seven Summits Lists.

To date, roughly 350 people globally have climbed the Seven Summits. I’m one of around 100 people that have climbed both Bass and Messner Seven Summits Lists, so there’s no room for dispute ;-)

My Seven Summits project was an amazing experience. It started ten years ago in Africa, although at that time I viewed climbing Kilimanjaro simply as a mountain climb, not the start of a big project. Over the years, my climbs took me around the world to interesting places and finally on June 22nd, 2012 I completed the project by summiting Denali in
Alaska, USA.

It was an amazing feeling to complete a project that required years of focus and dedication, but also led to a feeling of what’s next and a desire for another big project. I’ll tell you more about what that ill be later!

Mountains Under the Ice

One of the only remaining little-explored frontiers in the world today is Antarctica.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole on the 14th December 1911, but despite the +100 years of exploration, it’s still largely unexplored.

Most people know Antarctica as the coldest continent on earth. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded, -89.2C, was measured at the Vostok Station on Antarctica in 1983, while the average temperatures on the South Pole range from -26C to -56C.

However, most people don’t realise that Antarctica is actually a desert – the annual precipitation is only 200mm, which makes Antarctica the driest continent on earth.

It may sound bit counterintuitive, but the driest continent on earth is actually 98% covered in ice, which averages 1.6 km in thickness and makes Antarctica the highest continent on earth.

The Antarctic Icecap represents over 70% of the fresh-water resources on earth and hence is extremely important to the ocean ecosystems around the world. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey have recently estimated that if the icecap melted, the ocean levels would rise by 58 meters.

I’ve had a chance to visit Antarctica twice – once arriving by boat from South America, exploring the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula and once when climbing Vinson Massif, the highest mountain on Antarctica.

My first time to this breath-taking place included a chance to visit Palmer Station, an American research post on the Antarctica Peninsula as well as a chance to see icebergs, leopard seals, whales and penguins close-up. I’ll remember the trip forever.

However, the second trip was even more impactful – I flew into the Union Glacier Camp onboard a massive Russian Ilyushin cargo plane and then continued with a small Otter to the base of Mount Vinson. On the way you see hundreds of mountains, most of which no-one has ever set foot on.

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey have done an amazing job in mapping the topology of Antarctica underneath the ice and National Geographic has put together a cool image allowing the viewer to discover what’s underneath the ice themselves. See it here!

I find Antarctica extremely fascinating and dream of following the footsteps of Roald Amundsen and skiing unsupported to the South Pole, an expedition of approximately two months as well as exploring some of those unclimbed mountains and making some first ascents, which also entitle the expedition to name the mountain.


Arsenal’s Mountain Man

Check out the latest edition of the Official Arsenal Magazine for a “Summit Special” – a story regarding my relationship with Arsenal and the journey of two Arsenal flags on my Seven Summits project.











One of the flags accompanied me to the summit of Vinson Massif on Antarctica, the highest, driest, windiest and coldest continent on earth, as well as to the summit of Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America. The other followed me to the top of the world, the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal, as well as to the summit of Denali / Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America.

The flags will be auctioned for the Arsenal Foundation at the Charity Ball towards the end of the season. If you’re interested in bidding for these unique items, please contact the Editor of the magazine at


Photos from Arsenal FC visit

I got a nice message this morning from my friends at Arsenal Football Club.

They sent me some of the pictures bringing up memories of the great day at Emirates Stadium a couple of weeks ago.

I carried a couple of Arsenal flags on my Seven Summits expeditions, which the team will be auctioning off for charity.

Arsenal also wanted to share the unique journey of the flags and created a short video regarding me and the journey of the flags, which will be available on next week, so keep an eye out for that!

We shot material for the video on top of a nearby apartment building which gave us a beautiful view over the Emirates Stadium as well as the rest of London.







The club also presented me with my own official Arsenal FC shirt with number 7 for the Seven Summits. I bet Tomas Rosicky will be surprised when he returns from injury and finds out his number has been reallocated!







We also shot some material pitch-side with me sitting on Arsene Wenger’s chair and shaking hands with Gunnersaurus Rex – ask your kids if you don’t know who he is ;-)













Snowman and the Seven Giants

The leading Finnish outdoor magazine, Retki, which basically means “trip” or “journey” recently published a story regarding my Seven Summits journey titled “Snowman and the Seven Giants” in the theme of snow white and the seven dwarfs.











I’m obviously not much of a snow white, but the article is great and if you’re a Finnish speaker and haven’t had a chance to pick up the magazine, then you can see the article here.

Aiming High with Arsenal FC!

I had a great day visiting Arsenal Football Club at Emirates Stadium today!

I carried two Arsenal flags on my Seven Summits expeditions: one came with me to the summits of Vinson Massif on Antarctica and Cerro Aconcagua in Argentina and the other one, to the top of Mount Everest and Denali / Mount McKinley.

I handed over the flags to Arsenal FC to be auctioned off for a charity and the Arsenal marketing team used the opportunity to create some material for their media channels as well (I’ll post these up as soon as they’re available).


We got some pictures of me holding one of the flags at the roof of a nearby building, which gave us a stunning view of not only Emirates Stadium but also London!

Then we took some pictures in the stadium and the pitch – I even found myself sitting on Arsene Wenger’s seat on the sideline, but forgot to leave him a note with some tips for the game!





The team gave me an official Arsenal shirt with my name and number 7, so Tomas Rosicky may be surprised to find his number has been reallocated when he returns from injury ;-)

Then I had a chance to catch up with one of the most exciting young players at Arsenal FC, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Although Alex really doesn’t like the cold, so looks like he won’t be joining me on any mountains ;-)

The day was crowned with Arsenal winning a tough game against QPR 1-0!

Big thanks to Arsenal FC for hosting me!


Carbon Offset Completed!

I just finished offsetting the last of my Seven Summits project’s travel related carbon dioxide emissions.








My First Finnish Seven Summits project took me to all seven continents over a period of several years, although the last five mountains were climbed during a period of just 13 months.

The project was a great experience and I would recommend everyone to take advantage of the numerous beautiful places on this planet. However, I would also encourage everyone to also be considerate to the negative aspects of travel and in particular the carbon dioxide emissions.

In order to continue exploring the world with a clear conscience, I wanted to offset the carbon dioxide emissions related to my travel and would encourage others to do the same, so that we can continue to admire the natural beauty around us.

In order to complete my project, I had to take 46 flights and cover approximately 137,453 miles in a combination of planes and helicopters. I’ve now offset the emissions related to these flights by making a donation to Foundation, which will invest the money in projects creating 26.51 tonnes of carbon offsets.



Buying the carbon offsets is easy as there are a lot of companies offering the service to both companies and individuals. Figuring out your carbon dioxide emissions is a bit trickier, but fortunately most carbon offset companies provide calculators enabling individuals to calculate their carbon dioxide emissions for example related to driving, flying, living etc.


Outdoor Achievement of the Year in Finland

My First Finnish Seven Summits project was recognised tonight as the Outdoor Achievement of the Year in Finland.






The selection decision was announced at the Helsinki Adventure Night event in central Helsinki, which is quickly becoming the must-attend event of the Finnish outdoor scene.






The award was a great honour and recognition both for Finnish mountaineering as a sport as well as my project, which has taken my full focus for the last 12 months, so it was a great feeling to be recognised!