Congratulations, Atte – you made it.
I made it – with all my fingers and toes, as well!
So when did you come up with this crazy plan?
I started last summer – I’d already done two of the mountains over the past ten years and decided it was time to take a year off work and have climbing mountains as my full-time focus.
You must feel like there’s an empty void now you’ve done them all.
The first mountain you climb you get a very special feeling looking down, and you want to experience it again. Now after having done the seven, it feels like a void. In one sense it’s a huge high, on another, it’s ‘what am I supposed to do now?’
So what are you going to do?
My wife is pregnant with our first child and that’s a very different expedition altogether. To be sensible here: I need to get a real job.
You must get this a lot, but why did you do it?
I’m quite an ambitious person and I like to set myself goals for different things. I like to test myself in everything – test the patience of my wife, test my endurance by climbing mountains, and test my ability and potential at work.
And which is the greatest challenge?
My wife is the most demanding, of course! And with parenthood on the horizon, I’ll probably look back and say climbing Everest was a piece of cake.
Back to mountains: which was the hardest?
Each mountain poses a different challenge, but Everest is the one. In the two months I was up there, 11 people died.
And the scariest moment?
Back on Everest – I was 8,600 metres up when my oxygen system broke. That’s where everything in one half of your body tells you to panic, and the other part says ‘calm down, you can do this.’
Sorry to ask, but how did you pay for all this?
I was lucky enough to have some good sponsors, but it was mainly my money – I spent at least Dhs1 million. But for me it was amazing that I got to see a lot of the world and it feels very, very special. When you do something like this, you learn a huge amount about yourself.
What did you learn?
At the start of the project it feels huge, but when you break it into little pieces, one piece at a time, it’s achievable. Without sounding arrogant, I think: ‘I’ve just climbed Everest, I’m sure I can figure this out.’
Any local advice for people interested in climbing?
There are some small mountains on the border with Oman, and there’s indoor climbing in several places in Dubai. The main thing is you don’t want to rush anything.
Read about Atte’s adventures at www.sevensummits.fi/category/blog.