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From the Ranks: Ex-sailor climbs world's tallest peaks for a cause

Sep. 23, 2010 - 02:14PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 23, 2010 - 02:14PM  |  
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Former Navy rescue swimmer Brian Dickinson is on a quest to climb to the highest peak on each of the world's seven continents, raising money for AIDS research along the way.

He summited Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,340 feet in February and Russia's Mount Elbrus in Europe at 18,510 feet in July. He's planning to climb the world's highest peak, Mount Everest in Asia, next year.

He was within 1,000 feet of summiting Mount McKinley, North America's highest peak at 20,320 feet, in May 2009 when he had to abandon the summit because of 64-mile-per-hour winds and temperatures hitting 30 degrees below zero.

In 2007, he set his sights on climbing the world's highest points, and his wife, JoAnna, convinced him to do it for a worthy cause. He takes donations for AIDS research through his website,

Dickinson works as a systems engineer for Cisco Systems and runs an outreach program called Extreme Adventures, teaching confidence and leadership through rappelling, hiking and biking.

Dickinson's next attempt in March will take him to Everest, the world's highest at 29,035 feet. Located in both Nepal and Tibet, the deadly mountain has claimed 30 lives in the past five years.

If he conquers Everest, Dickinson still has to climb:

Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Summit: 22,830 feet.

Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Summit: 16,067 feet.

Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia: 16,023 feet and the highest peak in Australia and Oceania, though Mount Kosciuszko at 7,310 is regarded as mainland Australia's highest peak.

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