068: Vern Tejas A Life in the Mountains, 70 Summits

September 14, 2018

Vern Tejas has spent his life in the mountains. In this episode we discuss his achievements, evolution as a climber and his ability to make correct choices in complex settings.

First, his list of accomplishments is beyond extraordinary. Tejas is the first person to ever climb the 7 summits 10 times each; the 70 Summits. Vern summited Denali 55 times. Tejas’ 39 summits of Vinson, in Antartica, remains the record for most ever.

Second, Vern is a leader in solo winter ascents. This particular discipline might be the most stunning and dangerous. When the conditions are the harshest, and help is not present, Vern climbs.

Notably, Vern Tejas is the first person to solo summit Denali in the winter. To help save him in the event of falling into a crevasse, Vern, hauled an aluminum ladder behind in to act as a means of self-rescue.

Most noteworthy, Vern Tejas is speedy climber summiting as fast as possible.

  • Elbrus (Europe’s tallest mountain) in 3h20m
  • Aconcagua (South America) in 8h01m
  • Vinson (Antartica) in 10h20m
  • Kilimanjaro (Africa) in 10h45m
  • Denali in 14h50m

Also, this approach to climbing has allowed Vern to summit all 7 mountains in the shortest as a set, 134 days.

Even more, summiting fast is one thing, but Vern also likes to get off the mountain even faster. He’s known to climb with either a mountain bike, or a hang glider and ride or glide his way back to basecamp.

Finally, when Col. Norman Vaughan’s wanted to climb his namesake mountain in Antartica, he hired the master, Vern Tejas. The Colonel was deep into his 80’s when the attempt was made. Rest assured, Vern and Col. Vaughn made it to the summit of his mountain.

Vern has a collection of other adventures that include traversing over a variety of ranges, landmasses and obstacles. He’s a mountain, ski and kayak guide. In his community he’s as accomplished as any person ever. Vern’s accomplishments and expertise have led to a variety of awards and recognitions. Vern was named one of Alaska’s top 50 Athletes of the Century by Sports Illustrated and in 2012 was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. Order Vern’s latest book, Seventy Summits Life In the Mountains.

Want more inspirational climbers listen to our episode with Cokie Berenyi