Imagine being 17 again. You probably spent the summer working at a fast-food joint. What you didn’t do is summit Mount Everest, ski Denali, or try a ski descent of Tibet’s Cho Oyu. Meet Johnny Collinson of Snowbird, Utah, who spent his summer doing just that, and more. As of October, he is one summit away from accomplishing his goal of climbing the highest peak on each continent in a single year.
In traveling to every continent except Antarctica, what was the most exotic experience you had?
Definitely in Papua New Guinea. The tribesmen had only seen a few white people before. They lived in leaf huts and wore elaborate tribal outfits through the jungle as they traveled with us to the Carstensz Pyramid.
How do your peers react to the experiences you’ve had over the past year?
I got back to school and all the kids couldn’t believe what I was doing. I get a little bit of a celebrity treatment sometimes, but it’s good to see that they’re inspired by it.
At base camps, did you get any crap from the older, more experienced climbers?
A little bit, but mostly they’re all psyched that I’m there and have an interest in the sport. They just make fun of my music a lot. I guess they don’t like Biggie Smalls.
And how about the ladies?
Yeah, the chicks dig it.
So what classes does a big-mountain competitor and accomplished mountaineer take his senior year?
I have ceramics class, photography, two English classes, and weight lifting. A pretty lax schedule.
Ceramics? Seriously, dude?
Yeah, it’ll be pretty cool.