Erden became the first person in history to complete an entirely solo and entirely human-powered circumnavigation of the earth on 21 July 2012 in Bodega Bay, California, United States. The journey had started from Bodega Bay a little more than five years earlier on 10 July 2007.  The modes of transport included a rowboat to cross the oceans, a sea kayak for shorelines, a bicycle on the roads and hiking on trails, along with canoes for a few river crossings. The route he followed was 66,299 km (41,196 mi) long, crossed the equator twice and all lines of longitude, and passed over twelve pairs of antipodal points, meeting all the requirements for a true circumnavigation of the globe.

The human-powered circumnavigation plan had been expanded to include summitting the tallest mountains on six continents as a tribute to his friend and fellow adventurer Göran Kropp. Eruç named the expedition the Six Summits Project, which is sometimes referred to as the Six Summits Expedition.[14] So far he has summitted three of the peaks including Mount McKinley (also known as Denali) in North America on 29 May 2003 more than four years before he began his solo circumnavigation, then Mount Kosciuszko in Australia and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa during the circumnavigation. Eruç still plans to climb the remaining three mountains on future journeys: Mount Everest in AsiaMount Elbrus in Europe and Aconcaguain South America.