Accomplished climber, Matt Moniz, has successfully summited Cho Oyu and Makalu, two 8,000-meter peaks, back-to-back, at the age of 16. This National Geographic Adventurer of the Year from Colorado summited with the team which included famed mountain guide Willie Benegas, Pemba Tshering Sherpa, Nima Kanchha Sherpa, and of course his life-long climbing partner, his father, Mike Moniz on May 17 and May 25, 2014.
The goal for Matt and Mike Moniz was to climb an 8,000-meter peak as a father-son team before Matt heads to college. Initially the two had crafted a three-summit plan called the Triple 8 Expedition. This goal was to consecutively climb Cho Oyu, Mount Everest, and Lhotse, finishing off the trifecta with a first-ever ski descent of the Lhotse Couloir. With the fatal April avalanche on Mount Everest that claimed many lives, the two recognized that Everest was not going to be a possibility, and in respect to 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 Oyu and Makalu.
The summit team spent weeks acclimatizing on Cho Oyu and took advantage of a break in storms when they successfully completed their push for the 26,906-foot summit on May 17, 2014. After having to quickly look for other climbing opportunities due to the tragedy on Everest, the team set their sights on Makalu which is considered one of the world’s most difficult mountains.
After summiting Cho Oyu, the team hopped on a helicopter shuttle to Makalu Advance Base Camp allowing the team to take advantage of their acclimatized condition. Matt and Willie Benegas 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-foot Makalu.
Simone Moro, Italian alpinist, stated, “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.”
With three Himalayan climbing experiences under his belt, summiting the 50 U.S. high points in just 43 days back when he was 12-years-old, making him the youngest to complete the challenge and becoming the record holder for speed, among several other endeavors, Matt Moniz is accomplishing incredible challenges in the world of high-altitude, alpine style mountaineering. And at such a young age, it is guaranteed that many are eager to see and hear about future expeditions for this determined alpinist.
Congratulations to Matt Moniz and the summit team!
Visit www.climb7.com for more information on Matt Moniz.