By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Environmental attorney Tom Mullikin has again achieved an altitudinous milestone few humans will ever realize. In his quest to become the first man to both climb the world’s seven great summits and dive in the world’s five oceans, Mullikin has just returned from climbing South America’s Mt. Aconcagua, his fourth of the seven.
He reached the rim of the summit just days before the new year.
Mullikin has already climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak), Russia’s Mt. Elbrus (Europe’s highest peak), and Mt. Kosciuscko (Australia’s highest peak), and he has logged dives in all five oceans.
With Aconcagua – the highest summit in both the western and southern hemispheres – Mullikin has only (though “only” is a bit understating it) Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, Antarctica’s Vincent Massif, and the great Himalayan man-killer Mt. Everest (Earth’s highest mountain, located in Asia on the China-Tibet-Nepal border) remaining.
“We’ve been blessed with enormous success thus far,” says Mullikin, who has led environmental exploratory expeditions to numerous volcanoes around the world, the Namib Desert, the Amazon River Basin, the Great Barrier Reef, and Antarctica. “But we also know our greatest, most daunting challenges lie on front of us.”
Mullikin returned home only days before two American climbers lost their lives on Aconcagua. “Our prayers go out to the families of these brave men,” he says.
In the interim, Mullikin – a former U.S. Army officer and honorary “Green Beret” who also serves as deputy commander of the S.C. State Guard – is leading another expedition to Antarctica in 2014, his fourth to the icy continent.
“Antarctica is not for everybody,” says Mullikin. “We’re presently recruiting team-members with a thirst for knowledge and a sense of adventure. The expedition is limited to 14 participants so we urge interested candidates to get their applications in as soon as possible.”
When does he plan to tackle Everest? He’ll announce that this year.
W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor who writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He directs the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. He is the author of six books, and his articles appear in a variety of publications. Smith’s website is uswriter.com