“Only during the final push, the final upward effort, that is, the body ‘consumes’ 40,000 calories in 24 hours or so. You climb where planes fly. Such a climb is a struggle with your own existence, since your brain sends a message to go back, when you face the trials of the mountain there, it is then that, the love for the “above” must prevail over these messages of the body “. With these words, Antonis Sykaris describes the overwork of a climber, the only Greek who participated in the international winter mission 2020/21 in K2 of 8,611 meters, a climb that shocked the world community.
For the only Greek to have climbed 5 of the 14 peaks above 8000 meters, the new year brings a new route on the way to the great goal, to become the first Greek to walk on the 14 highest peaks in the world (more than 8000 meters), completing the so-called Grand Slam of mountaineering, and the first person in the world to climb all of these peaks at over 55 years of age.
The super climber also intends to become the first person in the world to climb the “82 peaks x 4,000+ meters” in the Alps. All the while, even when he is in Greece, he always seeks as much time as he can, to be “… in the mountains, in his” playground “, where he always feels happy” like a little child, “as he commented speaking on the APE-MPE radio” Agency 104.9 FM “.
“Life as an Adventure” and 2022 with six “eight” peaks
“This life, the life I have lived for 32 years, is quite an adventure, such that I do not want to stop living and many such moments happen in 2022”, adds the top climber, who begins his preparation in a alpine environment with a mission in the Alps, in northern Italy, during the first 10 days of January. Then, on January 11, Elbrus, one of the Seven Summits, plans action in the Caucasus Mountains and Europe’s highest peak – one of the Seven Summits – a “winter climb that no Greeks have ever made. never done “with his rope companions are Thomas Davarinos, mountaineer from the Agrafa Mountaineering Association and Paris Korgietis from Ioannina.
Antonis Sykaris will then be in Norway in mid-February, while on April 5 he will begin the “very long journey to continue conquering the peaks above 8000 meters, the effort to conquer the other nine of the 14”. The start of this effort will be with the Dhaulagiri of 8167 meters and the Makalu of 8485 meters in Nepal. The 3rd mission will follow in Pakistan, the Broad Peak of 8,051 meters and the 4th K2 mission of 8,611 meters, while in 2022 it is planned to finish with the 5th mission in Cho oyu of 8,188 meters and the 6th in Shishapangma with 8027 meters, this time in China. The goal is for this year’s effort to be completed in the fall, with the seasoned climber believing he will return to Greece in late October 2022.
“Through this great journey, I hope to have a lot of success, while the best, the best will be to reach the six heights, something of course very difficult, even if in any case I will try for the best. After all, hope, love for it… “My playground, the mountain, will continue anyway!” He comments.
Indeed, as he began his preparation shortly before the start of the new climbs, Antonis Sykaris politely refuses some delicious dishes from Thessaloniki and explains that it is impossible to relax nutritionally with the exaggerations of the festive tables because his special program does not make them. “allows” not. But why such rigor? “Holiday candy and a lot of food in general can add visceral fat, which is unacceptable because absolute endurance is very important, as one understands at these altitudes,” he explains.
Mountaineering and mountain all year round
His concern for the mountains, his dedication, are now constant. Two daily workouts, running, cycling, rock climbing and ice, indoor strengthening and crossfit, diet. Mountaineering is now a full-time job without being a “job”, since I don’t earn any money from it. It’s my life now… ”, answers Antonis Sykaris, asked about his preparation program in Greece before the full escalation 2022.
In 32 years of his mountaineering life, he successfully climbed 169 summits abroad and carried out 65 mountaineering missions in 18 countries around the world (Albania, Argentina, France, Georgia, Switzerland, Tibet, Iran, Italy , Canada, Kenya, China, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Tanzania), as he climbed the Alps, as well as the Andes, Himalayas, Karakorum, Canadian Rockies and Pamir. He has climbed 63 peaks above 4000m in the Alps, while he has also been the leader of many important mountaineering expeditions from 1996 until today, the last for the Annapurna summit of 8,091 meters , Nepal, in 2021.
The most difficult times the Greek climber has experienced so far in his career were recorded in 2021 and at K2, a mission that has become a one-on-one all over the world. “The loss of rope companions is always shocking. What I experienced when we were there last winter was 22 climbers from many parts of the world and all five lost their lives, as if it was was a shocking event in itself. “These were people I knew from previous climbs, I lived on this mountain, people who got lost near me, in front of me and these are experiences that stigmatize you…” , confesses Antonis Sykaris.
Climber and! Grandfather !
The Greek athlete has been a member of the Greek Mountaineers Association SEO and the Hellenic Mountaineering and Climbing Federation EOOA since 1991, the 29th athlete selected by world leader Marmot Mountain Europe, member of the 100 Mentors team and , when he supports in Greek, he is often a speaker in companies, universities, events such as TEDx with the role of inspiring and motivating speaker, but he always has Greece on his chest.
With 607 mountaineering and climbing routes in Greece and abroad, successful ascents of 63 peaks over 4000 meters and 50 peaks over 3000 meters and 29 peaks over 2000 meters, born in May 1962, father of Violeta and Giannis and grandfather of little Iris, Antonis Sykaris, repeatedly points out that no one is as shocking as the one in which he opens the Greek flag reaching a peak: “I want to look everywhere who I am, the climber from Greece! I am proud of it and want to let it be known that a Greek wants to become the first person in the world to climb the 14 “eight” peaks and the 82 peaks over 4000 meters at the age of over 55 years. I want, from the objectives to be achieved, to make it known that this is what a Greek did “, concludes the mountaineering athlete.