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Palmer man conquers Seven Summits

By Heather Hintze 6:48 AM January 21, 2014

Chris Longacre just returned from Antarctica where he summited Mount Vinson at 80-below.

ANCHORAGE - People always say to follow your dreams: Chris Longacre followed his to the top of the highest mountain on every continent.

“I remember when I was 17 and it was a very big dream and I was like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to pull that off,’” Longacre said. ”It was kind of make believe to me almost. Then I just chipped away at them one at a time. When it was six down and one to go I was ready to get them done. It was eating at me.”

At the age of 32 he can check the Seven Summits off his bucket list. It’s something only a few hundred people in the world have ever done.

He returned from Antarctica less than a week ago, where it was 80-below when he summited Mount Vinson.

“Antarctica was an awesome place, just surreal with all the openness and just untouched. It’s like Alaska on steroids, you know,” he said, laughing.

With his seventh summit under his belt, he had no problem spending a quiet day at home with his longtime girlfriend, Rachel Spicer, sharing stories of his journey over the past 10 years.

He climbed Denali in 1999 and 2004, Kilimanjaro in January 2010 followed by Aconcagua in February 2011 and Mount Elbrus in Russia is August 2012. He summited Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia in October 2013.

Of course one summit that tops his list of adventures is the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest.

“My summit day was the busiest day in history,” he said. “There were 147 people.”

Even with the crowd of people, Longacre managed to find a quiet ridge to himself to snap the obligatory summit photo.

His girlfriend’s been by his side along the way. They’ve been together 10 years and Spicer said she sill worries about him during every excursion.

“It’s still difficult, there’s no doubt about it,” Spicer said. “But you get a better sense that he’s done this before, he knows what he’s doing and I’m just going to pray and wait.”

She waits for a call from his satellite phone, something he’s been able to do on every summit.

“It’s pretty surreal to get that phone call and to just hear the joy coming through his voice,” she said. “They’ve been pretty cool to hear, they’ve all been pretty special moments.”

For Longacre, the apex isn’t everything. It’s about the lessons along the way.

“It isn’t just about summiting mountains,” he said. “It’s about the experience and the people and the logistics and putting it together and learning about yourself.”

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