Greg and Vanessa Blasic are no ordinary father-daughter duo.
After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, in 2005, the pair from Rancho Santa Fe, California, made a pact to scale the highest mountains on each continent, a feat fewer than 400 people have accomplished. And after 12 years of intense training and climbing, Greg, 56, and Vanessa, 27, finally accomplished their goal when they conquered Mount Everest last month.
“We help each other. I could help her when she had small problems with her stomach or nausea and she helped me with climbing skills because hers are better than mine,” Greg told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Greg and Vanessa now belong to an elite group of climbers in the “7 summits club” who have conquered some of the world’s tallest peaks, which include 19,341-foot Kilimanjaro in Africa, 18,510-foot Mount Elbrus in Russia, 7,310-foot Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, 22,841-foot Aconcagua in South America, 20,308-foot Denali in Alaska, 16,050-foot Mount Vinson in Antarctica and, of course, the tallest existing mountain standing at 29,029 feet – Asia’s Mount Everest.
“It taught me that I can get through anything ” Vanessa told the outlet.
Vanessa went on her first major climb with her father and two brothers – Nick, 32, and Greg Jr., 29 – in 2002. They took on 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States, located in the Sierra Nevada.
And it was only the beginning.
Three years later Vanessa, Greg and Nick traveled to Tanzania to take on Mount Kilimanjaro.
“When we finished it, everybody was asking us what we were going to climb next and we just thought, let’s keep going,” Vanessa told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The threesome eventually enrolled in a Washington mountaineering school in 2006.
Greg, Vanessa and Nick traveled around the world for the next few years – making it their mission to become members of the 7 summits club.
“A positive attitude and environment leads to success on the mountain and in life. I found that when there is negativity, it can significantly affect performance and the outcome of your endeavors that being able to recover from setbacks quickly will lead to success,” Greg told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
But their quest wasn’t easy – Mount Everest was on the list.
Greg, who says tackling Everest was “rewarding,” got frostbite while climbing the massive mountain in May.
The father-daughter pair (Nick was unable to go with them due to work and family obligations) began their Everest journey on May 20 at 8 p.m. with a guide and two Nepalese sherpas, according to the told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Burning about 8,000 calories a day, Greg and Vanessa climbed day and night – sometimes in temperatures at 20 below zero.
“I can’t describe how it felt, but to be at that elevation, seeing everything, it was rewarding,” Greg told the publication.
• Need a little inspiration? Click here to subscribe to the Daily Smile Newsletter for uplifting, feel-good stories that brighten up your inbox.
Greg was so excited about the climb that he didn’t realize five of his fingers and his right food were completely frozen.
A medical helicopter picked Greg and Vanessa up at a camp 21,500 feet up the mountain to treat his frostbite.
Greg, who is in recovery (doctor’s still aren’t sure if he’ll need amputation), says he and Vanessa can’t wait to get back to climbing.
“I was amazed at what we’d done, not just on Everest, but everything we accomplished since Kilimanjaro. It was an amazing feeling,” Vanessa said.