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Tue 3 Jan 2012 10:27 AM

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Dubai expat aims to climb world’s seven highest summits

Atte Miettinen scales South America’s highest peak in seven-continent attempt

Dubai expat aims to climb world’s seven highest summits
Atte Miettinen shown at the summit of Aconcagua

A Dubai-based expatriate has successfully scaled South America’s tallest peak as part of an attempt to conquer the summit of the seven tallest mountains on seven continents.

Atte Miettinen, a Finnish telecoms executive and mountaineer, reached the top of the 6,962m-high Aconcagua at 12.15pm on Dec 26, following a grueling three-week trek.

Just 350 people, including one other UAE resident, have scaled the highest mountains on each of the world’s seven continents, but Miettinen is now a step closer to reaching his goal.

“All my life I have been very interested in travelling, and what better way to see the world then climb the highest mountain on every continent,” he said. “I keep looking for a different kind of experience. I’m no longer interested in the beach or city holiday.”

At a height of almost 7,000m, the altitude on Aconcagua represents the most significant challenge to climbers, he said. Aside from battling with high winds and unexpected storms, climbers must manage with 41 percent of the oxygen available at sea-level.

Miettinen scaled Vinson Massif in Antarctica in the weeks before his South American challenge in a bid to complete as many peaks as possible before the year-end.

In March, he plans to take on the world’s biggest mountain, Mount Everest in Nepal, before making his way to Alaska to climb the tallest peak in North America.

“I’m now spending the next couple of months in Dubai preparing, and I’m taking a bit of time off to climb full time.” he said. “Many of the mountains I climb now are not something you just decide on the spot, you have to prepare intensely for them.

“The environment you’re climbing in is quite dangerous. It’s cold and there are a lot of crevasses, so you have to prepare.”

Asked about future challenges, Miettinen said he has not ruled out the possibility of further expeditions.

“Who knows? I am looking forward to completing this chapter of my life, and then moving on to the next thing, whether it’s be setting up a company or maybe I’ll decide there is another big challenge waiting for me,” he said. “My wife suggests that I ski to North or South Pole.”