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Summit Flag

Flags have always been a part of human culture, since humans became cultured. From coats of arms to national flags to symbolic colors, people have wanted to show others who they are with a single, identifying image. That is the hope, at least.

Flags have also been part of mountaineering for many years, since man thought of placing a flag atop a summit. I have no idea who was the first. To me, this brings to mind the image of Louis Lachenal in 1950, bagging the first ascent of Annapurna in 1950. It also brings to mind Tenzing Norgay in 1953 atop Everest (whether it was a first ascent is up for debate.)

Louis Lachenal at the summit of Annapurna

Tenzing Norgay atop Everest.

Flags have been a part of mountaineering for awhile. But why do mountaineers always bring national flags to summits? Oddly, Norgay hoisted a Union Jack, not a Nepalese flag, atop Everest. Why? People may be proud of their nations, and hoisting a flag can clearly identify that, but does a national flag actually describe an individual? I think not. That is why I have created my own flag. So, when I raise my flag at a summit, or put a sticker of my flag on a mountain hut wall, it is unique. My flag does not identify a group of 300 million Americans, nor 20 million Australians. It identifies me.

Andrew’s Flag.

This is my flag. My friend Thomas designed it with me in his Advertising Art class. I printed two flags and 1,000 stickers. My goal is to climb every country highpoint. As I climb country highpoints, I will sew the patches of the countries into the white stripes. I have 12 so far: Czech Republic (Sněžka), Scotland (Ben Nevis), Singapore (Bukit Timah), Hungary (Kékes), Bulgaria (Musala), Netherlands (Vaalserberg), Belgium (Signal de Botrange), Luxembourg (Buurgplatz and Kneiff), Poland (Rysy), Romania (Moldoveanu), Wales (Snowdon), and England (Scafell Pike).

Look for this flag on a summit near you.

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