Once he was medically retired from the military, Ben needed a new purpose and a new challenge. He took a mountaineering course and attempted Mt. Baker. His first 2 climbs, Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, were unsuccessful, meaning, he didn't summit. But he didn't let that stop him. His next attempt was one of the Seven Summits: Mt. Elbrus in Russia. He made it to the summit on August 1, 2014 which began his quest to complete the Seven Summits. On Sunday, June 13 at 5:33pm local time Benjamin stood at the top of Mt. Denali in Alaska, setting a world record, making him the first Purple Heart Recipient to ever climb the coveted Seven Summits.
In the coming years he would love to achieve the Explorer's Grand Slam: 7 Summits, North and South Poles
The 7 Summits
The Seven Summits are the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. There are two different versions of the list based on the locations and heights of each peaks. Some of the differences are based on the proximities to continent borders. The Messner and Bass versions are the most common. They are the same except for the conflicting Australian peaks. The Messner version includes Puncak Jaya, which is the tallest mountain on the Australian continent which includes Papua New Guinea. The Bass version replaces Puncak Jaya with Mt. Kosciuszko, the tallest peak on mainland Australia.
In his quest to conquer both versions of the 7 Summits and more, Benjamin has successfully reached the following summits:
Mt. Elbrus, Russia (Europe's Highest) 18,510 ft.
*August 1st, 2014
Mt. Kiliminjaro, Tanzania (Africa's Highest) 19,341 ft.
*March 1st, 2017 (2nd Attempt)
Mt. Everest, Nepal (Asia's Highest) 29,029 ft.
*May 22nd, 2017 (2nd Attempt)
*3rd Purple Heart Recipient to achieve this summit!
Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina (South America's Highest) 22, 841 ft.
*January 12th, 2018
Mauna Kea, Hawaii (North America) 13,803 ft
*June 12th, 2018
*Arguably the tallest mountain on earth...from oceanic base to summit 33,000+ ft.
Carstensz Pyramid, Papua New Guinea (Australasia) 16,024 ft.
*August 16, 2018
Mt. Vinson, Antarctica 16,050 ft.
*January 4th, 2019
Mt. Rainier, Washington (North America) 14,411 ft.
*July 26th, 2019
Mt. Denali, Alaska 20,310 ft.
Mt. Aspiring, New Zealand 9,951 ft.
Mt. Cook, New Zealand 12,218 ft.
Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia 7,310 ft.
Chimborazo, Ecuador 20,564 ft.
Cotopaxi, Ecuador 19,347 ft.