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Pan Macmillan

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Vaughan de la Harpe Admits Climbing Mountains Got “Out of Hand”

Poles ApartVaughan de la Harpe, co-author of Poles Apart, explains the psychological impetus that drives him to achieve incredible feats of endurance and stamina.

De la Harpe and Sean Disney’s new novel is about their experiences completing what explorers call the “Grand Slam” – reaching the seven highest peaks in the world and the North and South Poles – and becoming the first South Africans to do so.

The imposing list of the Seven Summits is Aconcagua in South America, Everest in Asia, McKinley in North America, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Vinson in Antarctica and Kosciuszko in Australia.

In an interview with Bruce Dennill from The Citizen, De la Harpe attempts to answer the age-old question set to mountaineers: Why did you do it?

It’s my own psychological make-up.

I like to set an objective, meet it and then set the next one. I’m like that with everything, but climbing mountains just got out of hand. First it was one, then it was the Seven Summits, then the poles. But it’s about achieving and moving on – I don’t dwell on it.

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