The Seven Summits is the Ultimate Global Mountaineering Challenge, consisting of climbing the tallest mountain on each continent.
It does not follow that these are the seven hardest mountains to climb on the planet, or indeed the seven tallest peaks, but it does ensure a worldwide adventure, which spans many differing environments and conditions and requires a wide array of mountaineering skills.
The original seven summits in question are:
• Tallest mountain in Asia (and the world) – Everest (8,848 m/ 29,029 ft).
• Tallest mountain in South America – Aconcagua (6,961 m/ 22,838 ft).
• Tallest mountain in North America – Denali (6,190 m/ 20,310 ft).
• Tallest mountain in Antarctica – Mount Vinson (4,892 m/ 16,050 ft).
• Tallest mountain in Europe – Mount Elbrus (5,643 m/ 18,514 ft).
• Tallest mountain in Africa – Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/ 19,341 ft).
• Tallest mountain in Australia – Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m/ 7,310 ft).
This global challenge was first completed by Richard “Dick” Bass, businessman, mountaineer and owner of Snowbird Ski Resort. But since its first completion the list has been contested and alternative versions exist.
Reinhold Messner, perhaps the greatest of all mountaineers, swaps Mount Kosciuszko for Puncak Jaya or Carstenz Pyramid as it is also known) which stands as the highest Mountain in Oceania (4,884 m/ 16,024 ft).
Some people favour climbing both Kosciuszko and Puncak Jaya (Cartstenz Pyramid) just to be on the safe side.
This Messner version does seem to be a fairer reflection of the highest on each continent but there are other controversies and variations which we describe in our more in-depth look at the Seven Summits, including the Explorer’s Grand Slam.
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