Collinson said he did it to show other
kids that there is more to life than the X-box and the Gameboy.
"They need to get outside and be doing active things
and even set goals of their own, maybe not Everest but setting
their own goals as high as they can,” Collinson said.
Known to the climbing world as the
Summits, the group of mountains include Alaska's Denali,
Elbrus in Russia, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Indonesia's Carstensz
Pyramid, and Mount Everest.
According to his Website,
Collinson's father is a member of the Ski Patrol at the Snowbird
Ski Resort in Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, and taught Johnny how
to ski at age two. Two years later the young Collinson climbed
Washington State's Mount Rainier. Collinson, who was home-schooled by
his mother and is a champion freestyle skier, began his quest
for the Seven Summits a year ago when he climbed Argentina’s
Aconcagua (22,841 feet). Five months later (in May 2009),
he stood on top of Mt. Everest (29,028 feet).
"He used to dream about standing on top
of Everest ever since he was three," says his dad, an avalanche
safety expert. "He'd picture himself standing up there in
his windbreaker and tennis shoes."
Along the way the 17-year-old discovered
the peaks were not nearly as important as the cultures he
encountered and the people who helped him get to the top.
Photo: Jim Collinson, top, leads daughter,
Angel, 5, and Johnny, 4, up Mount Hood in Oregon. Johnny is
attempting to reach the highest points on each of the seven
summits. Collinson family photo (enlarge
Johnny and his summits
January 18 , 2010 » Vinso Massif (16,067 feet),
Antarctica August 20, 2009 » Carstenz Pyramid
(16,023 feet), Oceania July 21, 2009 » Kilimanjaro
(19,340 feet), Africa
July 8, 2009 » Elbrus (18,510 feet)), Eurasia
June 26, 2009 » Denali (20,320 feet), North America
May 19, 2009 » Mount Everest (29,030 feet), Asia
January 16, 2009 » Aconcagua (22,841 feet), South America
Collinson, who lives at Snowbird in Little
Cottonwood Canyon, became the youngest climber to summit the
top of each continent last week after stepping on the top
of Antarctica's 16,067-foot Vinson Massif.
"Physically, none of them were that demanding,"
said the teenager. "I learned so much about the cultures of
the different places I went. It was a great education and
was really eye opening to see all those places in the world
and to take a look at how people use their environment and
look at how we treat our environment."
Regarded as one of mountaineering's most
extreme challenges, only about 200 climbers can say they've
bagged the Seven Summits. "This was difficult for him," says
his father. "But he wanted it bad. It was the culmination
of years of work and dreaming."
"He was being a typical teenager
before the idea to try and make the Seven Summits came along.
You know, not wanting to go on family vacations and not really
focused on anything," said Jim Collinson. "He sure has changed.
He became a man in the last year."
Collinson made the five middle summits,
including Everest, with Damian Benegas and the first and last
with his Damian's twin brother Willie. The brothers, recognized
as among the world's best mountaineers, run Patagonian Brothers
Collinson said he is glad to be
home and plans to relax this winter by doing his favorite
hobby, extreme skiing in the Utah mountains.
"I am a little disappointed about
having finished the goal, but I can really move forward with
what I have learned this past year and integrate it into my
future and into my life."