In a week’s time, I’m starting what will hopefully be the last expedition of my Seven Summits challenge. I’ll be flying to Alaska with the hopes of scaling 6194m Denali (also known as Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in North America.
I’ll be climbing the mountain with Alaska Mountaineering School (AMS) and my guide will be Mike Hamill, an all around great guy with whom I’ve already climbed Vinson Massif, the highest mountain on Antarctica, and who was also the lead guide on my recent expedition to Mount Everest.
Despite being just 34 years old, Mike is already one of the top mountain guides in the world. He’s been guiding for 12 years and has an impressive climbing resume, which includes for example four summits on Mount Everest, completing the Seven Summits (Bass List) four times, 19 summits on Aconcagua, five summits on Cho Oyu and four summits of Vinson Massif.
Today, Mike guides around 200 days a year exclusively for International Mountain Guides (IMG) and AMS across all seven continents.
His typical year begins with Aconcagua in Argentina before moving to Nepal for a two-month expedition to Mount Everest. After Everest, Mike heads to North America’s highest mountain Denali, one of his favourite annual pilgrimages, and continues from there to Europe’s highest peak Elbrus in Russia. Then it’s typically time for a trip or two on Mount Rainier, close to his home in Seattle. In the fall, Mike normally makes at least one trip to Vinson Massif on Antarctica.
Last year, Mike also managed to fit in a combined expedition to Shishapangma and Cho Oyu, summiting both +8000m mountains within eight days!
Somehow, in the past year Mike has also found time to put together a guide book, “Climbing the Seven Summits”, targeted as a guide book for people interested in the Seven Summits. The book is published by Mountaineers Books and it was released the day before I summited Everest!