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Derek Mahon: Summiting Mount Kosciuszko, Australia

On Wednesday 10th of January 2024, our sponsored Mountaineer and endurance athlete Derek Mahon did it again!

An honorary The Panel member, Derek Mahon isn’t a man who lets much get in his way, especially when it comes to completing the 7 Summit Challenge.

What is the 7 Summit Challenge?

The 7 Summits Challenge is a quest for those enjoying extreme endurance climbing and involves the seven highest mountains on each of the continents around the world.

  • Mount Everest (Asia)
  • Aconcagua (South America)
  • Denali (North America)
  • Kilimanjaro (Africa)
  • Elbrus (Europe)
  • Mount Vinson (Antarctica)
  • Carstensz Pyramid or Mount Kosciuszko (Oceania)

Who is Derek Mahon?

For anyone new to us here at The Panel, Derek Mahon is our long-time sponsored mountaineer and endurance athlete, and we have followed him across the world over many years.

He is a Financial Planning Specialist and motivational speaker.

Derek has also joined us on many hikes, walks, and fundraisers.

Derek’s 7 Summit Journey

It started with an idea back in 2011 and since then he has completed 6 Summits (including Mount Kosciuszko).

  1. Mount Elbrus, Europe (2012)
  2. Mount Everest, Asia (2014)
  3. Kilimanjaro, Africa (2017)
  4. Aconcagua, South America (1st attempt in 2018 had to be abandoned due to altitude sickness, 2nd attempt and successful summit in 2019)
  5. Denali, North America (canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid, but successfully summited in 2022)
  6. Mount Kosciuszko, Oceania (2024)

He also climbed Mount Blanc in 2013, but it doesn’t qualify for “7 Summits”.

Mount Kosciuszko: January 2024

After his latest journey and summit, our Marketing Manager Mal sat down with Derek to ask him about his latest adventure.

Q: How come you climbed Mount Kosciuszko and not the Carstensz Pyramid?

A: The Carstensz Pyramid is the highest mountain in Oceania which stands at 4,884 meters and is in Papa New Guinea. While the climb itself is dangerous, as all mountains are, the location and journey to the mountain itself have other dangers. Travelling to Papa New Guinea is not currently recommended by the tourist board and thus I decided to take the alternative option of Mount Kosciuszko for health and safety reasons.

Mount Kosciuszko is situated at an equal distance from Sydney and Melbourne at 600kms and driving takes nearly 7 hours.

Q: Did you climb on your own or with a group?

A: I had planned the climb with two Australian climbing buddies, whom I had climbed with whilst on Aconcagua in South America in 2018.

The plan was that I would arrive in Melbourne on January 9th and that we would leave there at 4 am, climb, summit, celebrate and stay over locally on the 10th, and return to Melbourne on the 11th, a tight schedule but times were a little against me this time and a quick successful climb was paramount.

The mountain itself is classed as the easiest of the 7 summits. Mount Kosciuszko summit stands at 2,228 m/7,310 ft. The mountain is within the National Park which offers multiple outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, camping, etc.

Q: Tell us about the climb and summit. How did it compare to previous summits?

A: The climb took 4 hours and to be honest was pretty underwhelming given I had trained as hard as I had trained for all of my previous climbs.

The weather was just perfect with light winds and temperatures circa 30 degrees as we started and at summit 15/18 degrees. The warmest summit I’ve ever had!

Having returned safely we decided to return to Melbourne and agreed to share the driving between ourselves.

The drive home was the hardest part of the day as the two guys fell asleep till 50 km from Melbourne, but dinner and a few celebratory drinks made up for it all!

Q: Upon reflection Derek.

A: I’ve now completed the 6th of the 7 Summits and concentrations on the final climb are now firmly focused on Mount Vinson in Antarctica.

The plan is to book the expedition by April/May time and travel in December or early January 2025.

Q: Do you know if there are many Irish having completed the 7 Summit Challenge?

A: I believe only 17 Irish climbers have completed all 7 Summits, and an added detail is that only 57 Irish climbers have successfully summited Everest.

Q: Outside of the 7 Summits Challenge are there any other climbs on your bucket list?

A: Yes, but whether or not they will ever materialise I don’t know. They would be Cho Oyo (26,906 feet) and Ama Dablam (22,349 feet), both in the Himalayas.

Q: If someone was interested in hearing more about your expeditions, what should they do? 

A: I’m always happy to share my experience with people and have held many motivational presentations in the past. If anyone is interested in hearing more or/and would like me to visit their offices to share with their staff, please contact me at

Dream, believe, achieve my friends!


Derek, on behalf of us all, congratulations on your 6th summit, we a proud and delighted for you! “Onwards and upwards” seems the most fitting thing to say to a high climbing professional like yourself.