The Seven Summits: A Mountaineer's Greatest Challenge
World Map with the Seven Summits and other prominent peaks marked
The “Seven Summits” refer to the 7 highest mountains in each of the 7 continents which serves as the ultimate mountaineering challenge for mountain climbers and originally postulated in the 1980s by American Richard Bass, a businessman, amateur mountaineer and owner of a ski resort in Utah, USA who was the first to climb them all. Sportsmen and mountaineers alike with the resources enough to finance travelling through these world renowned peaks will have the challenge of their lives climbing these mountains as a far enjoying and thrilling escapade than basking on white sand beaches to spend their holidays.
1. Aconcagua - The highest mountain in the Americas with an elevation of 6,962 m (22,841 ft) and located in the Andes mountain range in the province of Mendoza in Argentina. It is the highest peak in the Western and Southern Hemispheres and recognized as one of the Seven Summits.
2. Mt. McKinley (Denali in Alaska) - Situated in Alaska, USA Mt. McKinley has an elevation of 6,194 m (20,320 ft) above sea level and is the highest mountain peak in North America and the US. Compared to Mt. Everest, Mt. McKinley has a larger bulk and rise than the former although Mt. Everest’s summit is just 8,848 m (29,020 ft) higher. Extreme cold weather becomes the climber’s worst risk other than conquering this mountain’s summit as the lowest temperature recorded was found at approximately -100°F (-73.3°C).
3. Mt. Elbrus - Located in Russia near the border of Georgia at Caucasus mountain range in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, this mountain is an inactive volcano. Mt. Elbrus has an elevation of 5,642 m (18,510 ft).
4. Mt. Everest - Qomolangma Peak, Chajamlangma or Mount Chomolangma are other names associated with Mt. Everest. The latter was the name in use by the Tibetans for centuries. The world’s highest mountain above sea level at 8,848 m (29,029 ft), it is part of the Himalayan range in Asia and is situated on a border between Sagarmatha zone in Nepal, Tibet and China. Everest gained its official English name in 1865. Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India named it after Sir George Everest his predecessor in the post and former chief.
5. Mt. Kosciuszko – A mountain named by Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki, he honoured Polish-Lithuanian national hero and hero of American revolutionary war General Tadeusz Kosciuszko by adapting his family name to the mountain and also added by the fact that the features of the mountain resemble Kosciuszko Mound in Krakow. Located at the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park, Australia it has a height of 2,228 m (7,310 ft) above sea level and the highest mountain in Australia.
6. Vinson Massif – Located at about 1,200 km (750 mi) from the South Pole, Vinson Massif is the highest mountain in Antarctica. It has an elevation of 4,892 m (16,050 ft) with the highest point at Mount Vinson. The highest point was named after Carl Vinson, a US Congressman for the state of Georgia who was a key supporter in funding for Antarctic research and also honoured by earning his name on one of the US aircraft carriers.
7. Mt. Kilimanjaro – Situated in north-eastern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the world’s highest freestanding mountain at 5,893 m (19,334 ft) above sea level. It is an inactive stratovolcano with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Also the 4th highest peak out of the seven summits, Mt. Kilimanjaro is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Uhuru peak is the highest summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.