Parkite’s ‘Seven Second Summits’ quest one step closer to finish line after K2 climb
Jennifer Drummond aims to become the first woman to climb the second-highest mountain on all 7 continents
July 22, 2022 was a historic day on K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. Thanks to some favorable conditions this climbing season, record-smashing numbers of climbers managed to summit the mountain.
Among them was Jennifer Drummond, a Parkite hoping to become the first woman to climb the Seven Second Summits, which is made up of the second-tallest mountain on every continent.
“I cried at the top – you’re just so grateful that you got up there safely,” Drummond said. “You just feel so connected to Earth and nature and just everything. And then it sets in that you still have to get down the mountain because actually most of the deaths that happen at K2 happen on the descent, not on the ascent.”
Drummond made it back to Park City safely, and the climb moves her one step closer to accomplishing her goal. She was hoping to reach the top of K2 last year, but an avalanche that resulted in a death forced her to turn around. Mount Everest may be higher, but K2 is considered to be more difficult. Drummond cited not only the high avalanche risk, but rockfalls from loose rock on the way down as well.
“K2 is just nerve-wracking the entire time until you’re completely off the mountain, but it’s a pretty amazing feeling to know that you have that one done,” she said. “You did it. All the times you could have said no, all the times you could have turned around, all the times you wanted to turn around and you didn’t. Just feels so good to get through it.”
Drummond’s inspiration to climb the second-highest mountain on every continent stems from a scary car accident in 2018. She was told that, out of about 50 attempts to rebuild the accident, none resulted in her surviving. And then after celebrating her 40th birthday in 2020, Drummond asked herself what she could do in her 40s that she couldn’t in her 70s. She was already an avid climber, and a friend told her to climb Ama Dablam in Nepal, so she did.
“I put that kind of as my record,” Drummond said. “Well, my son had no clue what Ama Dablam was, so to him, he’s, like, ‘Whatever, if you’re going to climb a mountain, climb Everest.’ So I said, ‘Alright, let’s climb Everest.’”
She ended up climbing Mount Everest in 2021 as part of her training for K2, but her Seven Second Summits mission didn’t start until after a conversation with her coach about possible world records. Her coach suggested the idea of climbing the Seven Second Summits since they’re considered harder as a whole and no woman had ever done it before.
Drummond has just two continents left on her checklist. She has summited Ojos del Salado (South America), Mount Kenya (Africa), Dykh-Tau (Europe) and Mount Tyree (Antarctica) in addition to K2 (Asia).
Her climb this year on Mount Logan in Canada, the second-highest mountain in North America, was cut short, so she’ll have to return next year to check that one off her list. Additionally, there are two options for Australia. The Bass List has Mount Townsend as the second-highest mountain at just over 7,000 feet, while the Messner list uses Puncak Mandala in Indonesia at over 15,600 feet. Drummond said she plans on trying to climb both.
Drummond’s climbs have taken her all over the world, and it’s opened her eyes to new mountains, countries and people.
“I’d say the climbs are amazing, but it’s meeting the people and the different countries and the different ways of life and the different views on things that’s been kind of a surprise enjoyment of all the different experiences,” she said. “Because you just meet outdoorsy people, you meet people that care about the climate, you meet people that are interested in the same things you are, just in a different part of the world.”
While the prospect of being the first woman to climb the Seven Second Summits motivates her, Drummond’s big inspiration is her kids. She believes it’s important to show her seven children what it’s like to have big goals and do everything possible to fulfill them.
“It’s OK to have goals, it’s OK to make them hard, it’s OK to achieve them,” Drummond said. “Because in doing so, we’re giving other people permission to do the same thing.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.