College is a time for young adults to grow and achieve new heights of accomplishment. With such youth and vigor, we all strive to reach the highest peaks in life.
For Joby Ogwyn, though, this is no metaphor.
Ogwyn, the youngest human ever to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents, will lecture on Monday, October 21 at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall. The 26-year-old Ogwyn will discuss his travails through Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro and other peaks in a 90-minute presentation that includes music and a slide show.
“I have a different format from some of the other climbers who give lectures,” Ogwyn said. “Sometimes just talking about where you have been and going through a slide show can get boring. Mountains all look the same. I try to make each mountain its own story. That’s why I set all of my adventures to music, a different artist for each mountain. Every mountain has a different feel. That’s what I’m trying to capture.”
Ogwyn, who was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and now lives in Montecito, says that he is not so much daring as he is adventurous and willing to try new things in unexplored locations.
“I never did anything too dangerous when I was little, but I did get an early start on traveling,” Ogwyn said. “When I was 16 years old, I drove with some friends down to Guatemala. We made our own arrangements once we got down there. We just spent our time hiking, climbing volcanoes and mostly exploring. That gave me a good introduction to being out there in the world, doing something for the pure adventure of it. Once I got out of high school, I spent my summers making these adventures happen.”
Ogwyn says that one of the most rewarding aspects of climbing all seven of the tallest peaks is realizing how different they are from each other.
“You can see the striking differences in the slideshow,” Ogwyn said. “When you see the pictures from Antarctica (Vinson Massif), you’ll think you’re seeing pictures from another planet. But when I was climbing Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, that was like Indiana Jones or something. The whole time we were accompanied by 60 to 70 tribesmen from New Guinea. They were experienced escorts who knew the mountain. It was such a different experience from climbing Everest or Mount Elbrus in Russia. I think you’ll get that sense in my presentation.”
Ogwyn began his serious climbing when he scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro when he was 18. That experience convinced him that he could ascend all seven of the tallest peaks. He planned his school breaks around traveling the earth. When he got to the top of Vinson Massif in 2000, he had not only become the youngest ever to reach the summit of all seven peaks, but he had also accomplished all seven on his first try.
The freelancing Ogwyn moved to Santa Barbara because it was just right for him; he couldn’t handle living in a big city like Los Angeles or San Francisco. And when Joby Ogwyn sees that something is right for him, he makes it happen for himself.
Tickets for UCSB students can be purchased for $8 at the UCSB Arts & Lectures office.