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Young Climber Matt Moniz Summits Two 8000m Peaks in Eight Days

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Young climber Matt Moniz Summits Two 8000m Peaks

In Eight Days

Rapid Ascent of Makalu Allows Successful Cho Oyo-Makalu Summit Bid

Boulder, CO (June 9, 2014) – Matt Moniz, a 16 year-old accomplished climber and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year from Colorado, celebrates the true spirit of high-altitude, alpine style mountaineering with his back-to-back 8,000-meter summits of Cho Oyo and Makalu on May 17th and May 25th, respectively. Matt’s summit team (which included famed mountain guide Willie Benegas, Pemba Tshering Sherpa and Nima Kanchha Sherpa) credits their success to weeks of high-altitude acclimatization, their nimble alpine style and good weather.

Matt and life-long climbing partner, his father Mike Moniz, returned to the Himalaya this season to accomplish one goal: To climb an 8,000-meter peak as a father-son team before Matt heads off to college. The two had crafted a three-summit plan called the Triple 8 Expedition. The original goal was to consecutively climb Cho Oyu, Everest, and Lhotse, finishing off the trifecta with a first-ever ski descent of the Lhoste Couloir. Yet after the fatal April avalanche on Mt. Everest, the duo recognized that Everest was not a likely possibility. Respecting the Sherpas’ wishes to close the mountain, they made a quick change of plans that resulted in back-to-back 8,000-meter summits of Cho Oyo and Makalu.

The Cho Oyu-Makalu backstory:

After weeks of acclimatization on Cho Oyu, the Moniz duo, Benegas and Jim Walkley, a fellow climber from Denver and Mike’s 2012 Everest summit, took advantage of a break in the storms and successfully completed their push for the 26,906’ summit Cho Oyo on May 17th. Nearly a month after the Everest avalanche on Mt. Everest, the mountain and the climbing community were still in reeling from the tragedy, so the team quickly looked for other climbing opportunities in the region. Thanks to a good weather window, they set their sights on Makalu, considered one of the world’s most difficult mountains.

The summit team, including Matt Moniz, Benegas, Pemba Tshering and Nima Kanchha Sherpa, hopped a helicopter shuttle to Makalu Advance Base Camp allowing the team to take advantage of their acclimatized condition. In true alpine style, Matt and Willie summited Makalu in just three days, the fastest known time from base camp to base camp. The duo completed both summits within eight days and Matt became the 14th American to summit 27,825’ Makalu.

Italian alpinist Simone Moro frames Moniz’s dual summit feat best in saying:

“Cho Oyu and Makalu are two high, beautiful 8000ers…the 6th and 5th highest mountains on the planet. Climbing them in one week could be the life dream of any cutting-edge, high profile mountaineer. And well, when a young man of 16 does it, it gives you the idea of how time and the younger generations continue to change and improve the sport. And to do it with an experienced guide and friend (like Benegas), it demonstrates how smart he is. Congratulations Matt…this probably is just the beginning.”

This season’s expedition marks Matt’s third Himalayan climbing experience – his first was a trek to Everest Base Camp and a summit of Kala Patar at 18,501ft when he was nine, and once again at age fourteen in 2012. Cho Oyu and Makalu are Matt’s first 8000m summits.

To learn more about Matt’s dual summit bid, please visit the Climb7 blog.


More about Matt Moniz:

Matt became known, while still in middle school, for using climbing to raise awareness and funds for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), a debilitating lung disease, which causes chronic shortness of breath. Matt’s oldest friend suffers from the disease, which Matt would explain to his fans, feels like trying to breathe at high altitudes. In 2009, Matt and his father Mike Moniz summited 14 of Colorado’s Fourteeners (peaks over 14,000 feet) in eight days to raise funds for the disease. He continued his awareness building campaign the following year by setting a new speed record for reaching the high points of all fifty U.S. States in just 43 days, 3 hours and 51 minutes.

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Media Contact:

Inside Out PR

Erin Brosterhous