Pine Watt is in the midst of hiking the tallest volcano on every continent, starting with the 18,491-foot Pico de Orizaba in Mexico. Passion Passport caught up with him as he put the final touches on his plan.
What is the Stay Restless project?
The goal is to summit the highest volcano on each continent to raise awareness about the clean water epidemic around the world.
Why the name?
I chose the name Stay Restless because I believe it describes a group of people like me. They are restless. Restless to explore. Restless to create. Restless to challenge themselves. Restless to help to help others. I believe that there are a lot of people out there like me, Restless. They are pushing themselves to create and explore.
Why the tallest volcanoes?
I chose volcanoes because they are incredibly challenging, as most of them are in remote areas of the world, yet at the same time they are within my reach as a non-technical climber. If I am able to complete this challenge I would be just the 11th person to summit the highest volcanoes of the world. Not going to lie, that really appeals to me.
Where are the highest volcanoes on each continent?
These are scattered around the world on some of the most remote and breathtaking areas.
- Pico de Orizaba, Mexico, North America (18,491ft): Surprisingly North America’s third-highest mountain is close to the equator.
- Ojos del Salado, Chile/Argentina Border, South America (22,615ft): Currently the world’s tallest volcano. it is also rumored to have the world’s highest lake on its slopes.
- Mt. Sidley, Antarctica (14,058ft): The most daunting volcano on the list. As if sub-zero temperatures aren’t enough, the first confirmed ascent of Mt. Sidley was in 1990, just 25 years ago.
- Mt. Elbrus, Russia, Europe (18,510ft): This volcano just sneaks into the defined region of Europe, although the argument still rages.
- Undisclosed Location, China (?): Details are few and far between, but I am currently researching a potential new highest volcano in Asia. I know, I am as shocked as you.
- Mt. Giluwe, Papua New Guinea, Oceania (14,331ft): A nice change of pace from trekking up glaciers, the snows have long melted and dense jungle has taken over. There is no confirmed path to the summit, so I must be prepared for bushwhacking my own way to the top.
- Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa (19,341 ft): Summited 2012 – My ascent of Kili was the catalyst for this entire endeavor. It sparked a deep love and passion for the volcanoes of the world.
Wow. How do you plan for a trip like this?
Without getting to deep into specifics, there are three areas that require planning. Your mental strength, your physical endurance, and your kit. Obviously, any high altitude climbing requires an extreme level of fitness. For those who are interested I have written a blog laying out the exercises I use to prepare for such a trip. The added bonus of training for such an undertaking is that it increases your mental toughness, your will to push deeper.
Mentally, I prepare with a three-prong plan. First, my physical preparation greatly contributes to my mental toughness. If I believe I am in the proper shape to summit then I have the mental toughness to summit. Secondly, I have a detailed plan of every climb. I focus on the route and number of days I spend acclimatizing as they are vital to a successful climb.
Third, I plan and pack all my gear. Planning all your layers and gear is essential and can’t be skipped. I always plan for the worst and hope for the best. My kit is a vital part of the preparations and I pack and plan my kit carefully. I always makes sure to field test equipment before I take it out on a serious climb. From a new backpack to a new protein bar, I test them all.
How do you raise awareness about the clean water crisis?
I design small adventure goods, such as notebooks and donate 10-percent of all profits to charity: water. The ultimate goal is to donate $7,000 by the time I complete all seven mountains. I draw inspiration for the goods I design from each culture that I encounter while climbing the volcanoes. For example, I am currently designing a “Mexican capsule” of goods based on traditional Mexican and Aztec designs.
After completing this interview, Pine set out on his first attempt to summit Pico de Orizaba. He emailed Passion Passport to let us know he didn’t quite make it, but the trip was a success nonetheless. “I failed to summit, however it was because of potentially life threatening weather. Winds were gusting 70 mph. Although I failed at summitting, I think failing is actually really living. Living to try again. Failure can teach you more than succeeding, if you are willing to let it,” he wrote. Follow @pinewatt on Instagram or check out Pine’s website for the latest pictures and updates.