Ex-Saints WR Mark Pattison prepares for ‘Seven Summits’ on Everest


Former NFL wide receiver Mark Pattison prepares to climb Mount Everest on May 14, 2021, which marks the last mountain needed to complete the “Seven Summits.” (Instagram / Mark Pattison)

Mark Pattison did his last check on Friday before setting off on the last trek of his mountain trip.

If all goes well, the former NFL wide receiver will reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, and neighboring Lhotse. This feat would place him in an elite club of hikers who have reached the “Seven Summits” meaning they have climbed the highest peak of the seven continents of the world.

“My confidence has grown tremendously, trying to tick the boxes of the unknown, of what to expect,” Pattison told USA Today’s Tom Schad on Monday from a small village in Nepal.

“My brain, the way I’m wired, I’m very optimistic. And so I don’t see a scenario where I don’t see myself on top of Everest and Lhotse.”

What are the 7 summits?

According to NPR, only around 500 people have made it to the Seven Highs, and Pattison is believed to be the second former NFL player to achieve that feat, according to USA Today. Former defensive lineman Craig Hanneman did it in 2019.

The seven mountains on the list are:

  • Australia | Mount Kosciuszko – 7,310 feet.

  • Antarctica | Mont Vinson – 16,050 feet

  • Russia, Europe | Mount Elbrus – 18,510 ft

  • Tanzania, Africa | Mount Kilimanjaro – 19,341 feet

  • Alaska, North America | Mount McKinley (Denali) – 20,310 feet

  • Argentina, South America | Mount Aconcagua – 22,841 feet

  • Napal / Tibet, Asia | Mount Everest – 29,032 ft

There is no correct order for climbing the Seven Mountains, and no time limit. You just have to get to the top of every mountain in your lifetime.

Pattison, per USA Today, first did Mount Kilimanjaro in 2013. He then traveled to Europe, Australia and South America. Denali was next, although it took him two tries due to the weather conditions, before heading to Antarctica in 2019.

Everest ‘throws everything at you’

Pattison spent three seasons in the league from 1986 to 1988 and spent time with the Los Angeles Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, and New Orleans Saints. The former University of Washington star has recorded 12 career receptions and 152 yards in 18 games.

The 59-year-old is now an executive for Maven and Sports Illustrated.

Now on the cusp of her goal, Pattison faces the most difficult journey of the seven climbs from afar.

According to the New York Times, two climbers died Wednesday on the mountain’s “death zone”, which sits above 26,000 feet. They marked the first deaths of the climbing season. According to the report, 11 people died trying to make the trek in 2019.

“It throws everything at you – from avalanches to crevasses to walls of ice you have to climb to altitude,” Pattison said, via USA Today. “You just have to be on your game, and you have to know what you are doing, in order to have a successful outcome.”

Knowing how dangerous the climb is, Pattison and his team take it slowly and have been consistently there for weeks. Although it is exhausting, he knows that patience is the best way to go.

“I come back to those cheesy college football and professional football clichés,” Pattison said, via USA Today. “One step at a time. One game at a time. Don’t look [too far] forward.”

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