First Tasmanian to summit Mount Everest speaks at Australia Day event

First Tasmanian to summit Mount Everest speaks at Australia Day event


John Zeckendorf regaled the Northern Midlands community with his summit stories.


It might be the world’s highest mountain, but Mount Everest isn’t the hardest climb John Zeckendorf has completed in his seven summits quest.

The Tasmanian mountaineer is the first person from the Apple Isle to summit the world’s highest mountain last year.

He spoke at the Northern Midlands Council’s Australia Day as the official ambassador of the event.

Zeckendorf hoped to inspire people to challenge themselves to try new things.

“I show people how to take a big goal like climbing Mount Everest and break it down.”

Climbing Mount Everest completed his seven summits mission, which meant reaching the peaks of the highest mountain on each continent.

Denali in Alaska posed the biggest mountaineering challenge for him so far, he said.

He carried and dragged a sled weighing 65 kilograms for nearly every day for three weeks, building a new campsite each night after long days, Zeckendorf said.

Help from the Sherpa people made a big difference on Mount Everest, who set up the team’s camp at the end of each day.

He has learnt a lot since first undertaking a mountaineering course in New Zealand eight years ago.

While his technical skills had improved, Zeckendorf said learning life lessons was the main difference from his earlier mountaineering days.

“I’ve been on mountains, where I’ve struggled to move. I just had to focus on the next step,” he said.

“Hard work beats talent every time … but a lot of kids want a quick win.”

Tuftley, his son’s childhood travel toy tiger, joined him on six of the seven summits.

Bringing Tuftley started as a joke, but the small toy tiger has since become a part of his team.

“Climbing Everest was good, but it wasn’t the reason I climb.”

He has set his sights on trying more technical mountaineering challenges in the coming years.

Zeckendorf welcomed nine new Australian citizens at the celebrations in Valentine Park and congratulated the hard work of community members who received awards. 

Gregory Knight received the Northern Midlands Council Citizen of the Year award for his hard work within a variety of community groups, while Curtis McGee was awarded Young Citizen of the Year.

Northern Midlands Council Community Event of the Year was awarded to CMCA Solos Network Rally, Campbell Town.

Two volunteers, Cressy Local District Committee member Fae Cox and Campbell Town ANZAC Group chairman Peter Evans, were recognised at the Australia Day ceremony.

The story First Tasmanian to summit Mount Everest speaks at Australia Day event first appeared on The Examiner.


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