Destination: Olympus Mons

First Offered : 1994 – Status : Unclaimed


The Goal

Become the first mountaineering team to successfully accomplish an assault on the summit of Mount Olympus.

The attempt on the summit of Mount Olympus must begin from the Tharsis plains surrounding the base of the volcano. No technological support, other than that required for life support and basic mountaineering, can be used. The team must reach the summit, which is here defined as the highest point on the caldera of Mount Olympus. Any route to the caldera, even given the low angle of ascent of much of the surface, is acceptable.

The Mountain

Olympus Mons, an extinct volcano, is the largest mountain in the Solar System, towering some 25 km above the Tharsis region in the northern hemisphere of Mars. This region is home to a number of large Martian volcanoes.

The volcano is similar to the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian islands. However, it does not have large rift zones like its terrestrial counterparts. The lack of plate tectonics, oceans, vegetation, and high atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet have also meant that the volcanoes have not been remolded as much as mountains on Earth.

Scaling Olympus Mons will pose a major challenge for future mountaineers. The mountain’s diameter covers 550 kilometers at its base, and at 25 kilometers, it is nearly three times higher than Mount Everest. It is topped by a caldera composed of multiple collapsed craters that is about 80 kilometers across. The caldera is composed of lava flows.

Claiming the Award

This award was established in 1994. The team will collect the Foundation’s award, which includes a trophy containing a symbolic rock sample from the summit of Mauna Kea, the largest shield volcano on Earth and a plaque with the date of establishment of the award and a space for the names of the expedition team and the date of claim.