Mark Pattison
(Mark Pattison/Instagram)

Mark Pattison Is An Ex-Football Player Turned Mountaineer

Mark Pattison used to be an NFL wideout for the Raiders, Rams, and Saints. Now, he is attempting to be a part of an even more exclusive group than professional football; the ‘seven summits’ club. In the last month, Pattison has lived above 17,000 feet in a tent sleeping in sub-zero temperatures and trekking through ice and snow. This isn’t something that the retired NFL player decided to do overnight, either. He’s been preparing to try and summit the highest peak on every continent for the last nine years now.

Within the next few days, Pattison hopes to make the summits of two peaks in Asia: one being Mount Everest, which is the highest peak on earth, and the second being Mount Lhotse, which is the fourth-highest on the planet. If he does complete the Everest summit then he will be one of approximately 500 to reach the seven summits and one of roughly 6,000 people to summit Everest alone, according to NPR. In Pattison’s mind, there’s no way he won’t be able to summit Everest and Lhotse. Here’s what he told USA TODAY:

“My brain, the way I’m wired, I’m very much the optimist. And so I don’t see a scenario where I don’t see myself on top of both Everest and Lhotse.”

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Apparently the NFL Translates To Mountaineering

Surprisingly enough, Pattison won’t be the first former NFL player to reach the ‘seven summits’ if he manages to do so. Craig Hanneman, a former defensive lineman, was able to complete the feat back in 2019. Maybe something about the order and preparation of being an NFL player translates well to climbing mountains. You have to be extremely mentally tough, and very physically fit in order to tolerate everything that gets thrown your way in the harshest conditions.

“It throws everything at you — from avalanches to crevasses to ice walls that you have to climb, to altitude,” Pattison said, “You’ve just got to be on your game, and you’ve got to know what you’re doing, in order to have a successful outcome.”

Whether it’s the desire to succeed, adrenaline rush, or the sheer excitement of climbing mountains, Mark Pattison truly enjoys the path he has laid out for himself. He started summiting back in 2013 when he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Eastern Africa. From there, he continued on to Mount Elbrus (Europe), Mount Kosciuszko (Australia), and Aconcagua (South America). Next, Mount Denali in North America took him to attempts due to dangerously cold weather, which is ironic because the next mountain he summitted was Vinson Massif in Antarctica. Antarctica is synonymous with being the coldest continent on the planet.

This guy is an absolute machine. Playing in the NFL is one thing, but summiting the seven highest peaks in each continent around the world is a whole different game. It’s a dangerous game, a game that’s exponentially more life-threatening than any situation a player could encounter during any given week. But it’s a game that Mark Pattison has shown immeasurable devotion and commitment to, and the whole world will be watching.

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