A U.S. adventurer and a marine scientist have become the first men to ascend Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world, Guinness World Records said.
Victor Vescovo, who previously made headlines when he became the first person to visit the oceans’ greatest depths in 2018-19, told Guinness he “thought it was time for someone to finally ascend the full extent of this massive mountain.”
Mount Everest is considered the world’s highest mountain, reaching a height of 29,031 feet above sea level, and Mauna Kea reaches only 13,802 feet above sea level, but is actually much taller — a total 33,500 feet — with more than half of the mountain submerged in the Pacific Ocean.
Vescovo said he was inspired to take on the challenge “because it allowed me to combine two of the strongest passions in my life: mountain climbing and ocean exploration.”
The adventurer started his ascent by boarding his deep-submergence vehicle Limiting Factor with Hawaiian marine scientist Clifford Kapono.
The two men descended to a depth of 16,785 feet, where Mauna Kea’s flank levels out at the sea floor, and began their ascent.
The men surfaced and met up with their support vessel, DSSV Pressure Drop, and canoed the 26 miles to the shore of Hawaii’s Big Island with their guide, Chad Cabral.
Vescovo and Kapono spent the night in a hotel before biking 37 miles up the mountain roads. The men then hiked to the Onizuka Visitor Center, where they spent the night before setting off for their final day of ascending the mountain.
The men walked the 6-mile Humu’ula Trail to the mountain’s observatory, where they brandished ski poles to brave the snow and ice that covers the final stretch to the summit.
Vescovo and Kapono reached the summit at a height of 13,802 feet above sea level — about 5.6 miles higher than where their journey began at the ocean floor.