It’s not unusual for teenagers, impressed
by a majestic view of distant mountains, to express a
sudden desire to become a mountaineer and scale those
very peaks. It is unusual however for them to actually
do it. Such is the case with Spokanite Chris Kopczynski.
Kopczynski was beset with “mountain fever” in the early
60's while with his family in the Canadian Rockies. The mountain fog suddenly
cleared revealing a spread of previously hidden peaks. The view was enough to
send 16-year-old Kopczynski back to Spokane with a determination to climb. And
climb he did.
Steven’s Peak was a modest “first summit” which was eventually
followed by an impressive string of climbs including, Makalu, Everest, Peak
Lenin, McKinley, Aconcagua, the Eiger, Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Chephron,
Rainier (51 times), and Chimney Rock (more than 35 times).
Kopczynski carved the names Everest and Eiger into his ice axe. It was a
symbol of a goal he would fulfill by summiting Eiger’s North Face in 1974 and
Everest on October 21st, 1981. After ascending the world’s tallest
mountain Kopczynski went on to complete the 7 summits (the tallest peaks on
all seven continents) with a summit of Kilimanjaro in Africa in 1991.