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Al Hancock’s “Big 14” Challenge

Climber aims to be 1ST Canadian to Summit All of the World’s Highest Peaks

Over the past decade, Al Hancock has been quietly making Canadian history; now he wants to take his journey to a new level, backed by sponsors who align with the values of adventure, exploration, passion, commitment, respect and safety.

A former journeyman millwright and oil sands maintenance supervisor, Al completed The Seven Summits in 2008 and has been part of more than 20 expedition-style climbs.

In the spring of 2014, Al made Canadian history by ascending the peak of Mount Makalu. Hancock followed that up in June with a successful climb of the extremely challenging K2, the world’s second highest peak. On both occasions he served as expedition leader. To date, he’s successfully scaled six of the world’s 14 tallest mountains, all of them over 8,000 metres, including Everest twice.


A Canadian First

His plan, over the next three years, is to become the first Canadian, and only the second North American, to summit all fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. The next leg of Al’s journey begins next March when he’ll travel to Nepal to tackle Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, tenth and fourth on the list respectively.

So why does he do it? “The mountains choose me,” he says. “I am like a piece of metal drawn to a magnet. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always had a sense of adventure. Making the choice to test myself to the limit, to push toward what seems to be an impossible goal is what life is all about. I want to live life to the fullest in this present moment.”

Al says there is a strong link between what he does on the mountains and the challenges that many young people face today. “Life is a series of ups and downs; good days and bad days. It’s a balance of knowing when to hold on and when to let go.”

According to Hancock, everything we experience is based on the choices we make. “We need to make smart choices, trust ourselves, face our fears, take chances, and not be afraid to fail. We need to have the courage to fall down, and have the strength to get back up.”

Al sees everyday as a new opportunity. He says we need to ask ourselves what we can do differently today that we didn't do yesterday. “We need to recognize that everyone needs support and it’s ok to reach out for help. It’s important to believe in yourself; believe in your dreams.

“I like what one of the first to scale Mount Everest George Mallory had to say about the mountaineering process, and I’m paraphrasing here: ‘The struggle of life itself is upward and forever upward. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the goal of life.’”

For more information on sponsorship opportunities contact Al Hancock -

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