What is the Explorers Grand Slam (aka the Adventurer’s Grand Slam)?

Adventure means different things to different people. And at different stages of our lives. And most importantly of all, to our belief of what we are capable of. Growing up on welfare, single-mother family, I couldn’t even comprehend wondering about what is the explorers grand slam (also sometimes known as the Adventurers Grand Slam). Simply taking a flight out of Ireland for me back then was an adventure. But something happens to you. At some point, you choose to break out that limited mindset. Something can happen that’ll change your frame of reference forever.

what is the explorers grand slam
What is the explorers grand slam?

Seeking Adventure

For me, I can’t decide which moment in life it was for me. Visiting every country sounds like the obvious one, but that left me in a dark place to be honest. I realised it wasn’t so difficult. Or dangerous. More a logistic, expensive ordeal. Anyone could do it, if they committed their life to it.

So I started seeking REAL adventure. Running ultra-marathons, cycling across countries, and climbing the seven summits. I even ran a marathon at the North Pole and rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, I came across the Explorers Grand Slam. Now that is real adventure. One that requires commitment, sacrifice, time, effort and suffering. Sign me up!

Rowing the Atlantic Ocean
Rowing the Atlantic Ocean, 100% unsupported.
running the north pole marathon
Crossing the finish line at the North Pole Marathon
Running the Marathon Des Sables
Marathon Des Sables packing list

But what actually IS the Explorer’s Grand Slam?

Ok, ok. You didn’t want my life story. I get it! I’m writing in a stream of motivated consciousness here, apologies, but let me get to the point. The explorer’s grand slam is an adventure goal to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and to summit each of the Seven Summits (the highest point on each of the 7 continents).

There are some variations within the explorers Grand slam, generally regarding how you get to the Poles. By helicopter, by skiing the last degree, or by skiing from the coast all the way to the Pole. That’s hardcore. And something I’d love to do as/when I have enough money. For now, let me just get to the Poles by any means necessary!

How many people have completed the explorer’s Grand Slam?

To date, 73 people in history have completed the explorer’s Grand Slam.

Who was the 1st person to complete the explorer’s grand slam?

David Hempleman Adams was the first person to ever complete the adventurer’s grand slam, back in 1998.

What is the True Explorer’s Grand Slam?

If that wasn’t enough, then the True Explorer’s Grand Slam is both poles and the Seven Summits plus all 14 of the world’s mountain peaks that extend over 8,000m (26,000ft) in height.

How many people have visited every country AND completed the explorer’s grand slam???

None. 1 came close. But I hope to be the first person to ever do this. Eeeeek.

My progress:

I’ve reached the North Pole, and climbed 5 of the 7 summits. That leaves me with climbing Mount Everest next year, and then Antarctica’s highest mountain, Vinson, and the South Pole. Depending on finances and success/failure on Everest in April, I could potentially finish this Winter 2023/24.

climbing Denali
Me at the summit after climbing Denali earlier this year. That was FREEZING!

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