Laval St. Germain, a Calgary resident and one of the world’s top explorers, has wrapped up his Antarctica expedition, where he successfully attained his “Seventh Summit” after reaching the top of Mount Vinson (4,892m) on Dec. 31, 2018.
The next day, he successfully reached the summit of Mount Shinn, the continent’s third tallest peak, at 4,661m. The Seven Summits is an accolade for the few climbers who have successfully reached the summit of the tallest peak on every continent, including Antarctica.
St. Germain’s original expedition also included an unsupported solo ski to the South Pole, but he made the difficult decision to end that portion of the journey early when he encountered challenges pulling a warped sled.
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“Woke up to stiff winds and cap clouds on the peaks. Delayed our departure for several hours, then at 1320h we set off into cold winds & marginal conditions. @dxprguy said the winds at the summit would drop by late afternoon… he nailed it! Basically -32C & calm at the top. HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ANTARCTICA’S HIGHEST POINT…& my 7th Summit!!” -LS
Despite the adversity of his expedition, St. Germain’s commitment to raising funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation never wavered. He says, “From the start, I wanted to dedicate this expedition to raising much needed funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. I thought about the adversity that every cancer patient must face, and their courage helped me get through some challenging days in Antarctica.”
Climbing close to the Earth’s pole can pose challenges. Beyond the frigid temperatures and windchill factor, the physiological effects of altitude are magnified due to the way the earth’s atmosphere is ‘compressed’ or thinner nearer the poles.
Says St. Germain, “Some experts estimate a 10-15% greater perceived altitude near the Poles due to this effect, not to mention the ever-present threat of frostbite.”
Donations are still being accepted by the Alberta Cancer Foundation through Laval’s expedition page, https://albertacancer.ca/southpole. To date, this expedition has helped raise more than $25,000 towards the cause.
St. Germain’s outdoor adventure accolades and expertise to date are numerous, and include:
· Completion of the Seven Summits
· Only Canadian to summit Mount Everest without oxygen
· Only person to climb and ski Iraq’s highest mountain, Cheekah Dar
· Climbed and skied Nunavut’s highest mountain, Barbeau Peak
· Climbed and skied Canada’s highest mountain, Mount Logan
· Climbed the highest peak in 19 countries
· Cycled from the Arctic Ocean to Yukon in winter
· World-record crossing of the North Atlantic ocean by solo row boat
· A Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society
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1813h, Dec.31, 2018 – Summit of Mount Vinson, highest mountain in Antarctica & the last of the highest mountains on the earth’s seven continents that I’ve stood on. . . . Just over 2 years ago I rowed solo across the North Atlantic Ocean from Canada to France. Originally it was just another one of my hard trips. A way to push myself, challenge myself & push my limits. As I was planning the row, my good friend, fellow airline captain & young dad to three kids @korey44 was diagnosed with cancer. Feeling shocked, scared & frankly helpless I decided to try to help in any way I could. I reached out to @albertacancer & suddenly my ‘solo row for me’ became the Confront Cancer Ocean Row, raising funds for @albertacancer. On that solo row I struggled from doubt, loneliness, sea-sickness, cold, heat, pain & fear. BUT I also had periods of sublime beauty: a whale staring at me from only a metre away. Dolphins leaping around me soothing my isolation. My oar blades erupting in green bioluminescence as I rowed thru night seas. Sunrises. Sunsets. Star filled nights. . . . Cancer even more than the sea provides the doubt, loneliness, nausea, cold, fevers, pain & fear in spades. Though the only sublime beauty associated with cancer, is the beauty of the unfortunately growing community of people who research new treatments, care for cancer patients, advocate for patients & their families & maybe in some way provide a ray or two of sunshine in a storm filled journey with cancer. On Part I of this latest expedition, while in my tent alone in a blizzard during my failed attempt to ski solo to the South Pole @korey44 let me know via satellite message that his prognosis had suddenly taken a turn for the worse. We ALL need to do our part to help cancer patients reach safe harbours & unless you are a researcher, doctor nurse, volunteer or caregiver, the way you do that is by giving money…full stop. I know Korey will keep up the fight, but let’s help others do the same. Donate link in my profile above. #albertacancerfoundation #netcancer #antarctica #7summits