Moniz has been bagging peaks since about the time he could walk. At 15, what interests him now is even greater tests of endurance: summiting a series of mountains over several days. His next dream trip would take him to arguably the ultimate proving ground for mountaineers, the Himalaya, to attempt a linkup of three 8,000-meter peaks. The objective would require skill, fitness, and, above all, luck.
“I like the endurance part of it, and it’s really fun to explore different regions,” Moniz says. “I want to put it on a different level. Plus I really like the Sherpa culture, and the mountains there are amazing.”
Moniz’s dream scenario: Summit Tibet’s 26,906-foot Cho Oyu, fly by helicopter to Namche Bazaar in Nepal, then run 18 miles to Everest Base Camp. Wait for a weather window to summit Everest, then descend the South Col Traverse to ascend 27,890-foot Lhotse, the fourth tallest peak on Earth.
“In a perfect world, it would be the icing on the cake to ski the Lhotse Couloir, and that would be the first ski descent of it,” Moniz says. And in a perfect world, why not?
By the time Matt Moniz, an alpinist, skier, and rock climber, was 12, he had bagged every state’s highest point and stood on top of four of the seven summits, the highest peaks of each continent. He also currently holds records for the youngest person to climb Aconcagua and Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe. But the next challenge may wind up being the hardest: he has to finish high school.
Matt Moniz's Gear Pick: Mountain Headwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
“I really love my down jacket,” Moniz says. “It’s superlight and it has water-resistant technology, which is rare for a down jacket, and it’s superwarm. I bring it with me to some of the highest, coldest peaks I’ve ever climbed, and sometimes I even wear it studying.” Another essential piece of gear: “I also always keep this necklace I got in Nepal. It’s kind of a good luck charm—I wear it to give me good weather. And my dad had it on top of Everest when we went there.”