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The Seven Summits on an Elevation World Map. The picture actually shows nine possible summits according to the different definitions of continental borders

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Summiting all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge, first postulated as such in the 1980s by Richard Bass (Bass et al. 1986).

Contents

Seven Summits definitions

Owing to different interpretations of continental borders (geographical, geological, geopolitical) several definitions for the highest summits per continent and the number of continents are possible. The Seven Summits number of seven continents is based on the continent model used in Western Europe, the United States and Australia.

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Oceania

The highest mountain in the Australian mainland is Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m). However, the highest mountain in the Australian continent which includes Australia and New Guinea is Puncak Jaya (4,884 m[1]), in the Indonesian province of Papua on the island of New Guinea which lies on the Australian continental shelf. Puncak Jaya is also known as Carstensz Pyramid.

Some sources claim Mount Wilhelm, 4,509 metres, as the highest mountain peak in Oceania, on account of Indonesia being part of Asia (Southeast Asia).[2] The peak belongs to the Bismarck Range of Papua New Guinea. A Seven Summits list including Mount Wilhelm has never been widely supported or formally recognised.

Europe

In Europe, the generally accepted highest summit is Mount Elbrus (5,642 m) in the Caucasus. However, because the Caucasus form the border between Asia and Europe its inclusion in Europe is disputed. The highest mountain indisputably within Europe is Mont Blanc (4,810 m) on the border of France and Italy.[3]

The Bass and Messner lists

The first Seven Summits list as postulated by Bass (The Bass or Kosciusko list) chose the highest mountain of mainland Australia, Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m), to represent the Australian continent's highest summit. Reinhold Messner postulated another list (the Messner or Carstensz list) replacing Mount Kosciuszko with New Guinea's Puncak Jaya, or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m). Neither the Bass nor the Messner list includes Mont Blanc. From a mountaineering point of view the Messner list is the more challenging one. Climbing Carstensz Pyramid has the character of an expedition, whereas the ascent of Kosciuszko is an easy hike. Indeed, Pat Morrow used this argument to defend his choice to adhere to the Messner list. 'Being a climber first and a collector second, I felt strongly that Carstensz Pyramid, the highest mountain in Australasia ... was a true mountaineer’s objective.'

"Seven" Summits (sorted by continent)
"Bass" "Messner" Summit Elevation m Elevation ft Continent Range Country First Successful Ascent
X X Kilimanjaro (Volcano Kibo: Uhuru Peak) 5,892 19,340 Africa Kilimanjaro Tanzania 1889
X X Vinson Massif 4,892 16,050 Antarctica Ellsworth Mountains N/A* 1966
X Kosciuszko 2,228 7,310 Australia Great Dividing Range Australia 1840
X Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) 4,884 16,024 Australia Maoke Mountains Indonesia 1962
X X Everest (Sagarmatha or Chomolungma) 8,848 29,029 Asia Himalaya Nepal, China 1953
X X Elbrus (Minghi-Tau) 5,642 18,510 Europe Caucasus Russia 1829
X X Mount McKinley (Denali) 6,194 20,320 North America Alaska Range United States 1913
X X Aconcagua 6,962 22,841 South America Andes Argentina 1897

Territory claimed by Chile. However, most nations do not recognize Antarctic territorial claims.

Mountaineering challenge

The mountaineering challenge to climb the Seven Summits is traditionally based on either the Bass or the Messner list. (It is assumed that most of the mountaineers who have completed the Seven Summits would have climbed Mont Blanc as well.)

History

Richard Bass, a businessman and amateur mountaineer, set himself the goal of climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, including mainland Australia. He hired David Breashears to guide him up Everest, the most difficult of his Seven, and completed his Everest summit on April 30, 1985. He then co-authored the book Seven Summits, which covered the undertaking (Bass et al. 1986).

Reinhold Messner revised Bass's list by using the broader definition of Oceania and including Carstensz Pyramid rather than Australia's Mount Kosciuszko. Pat Morrow first met Messner's challenge, finishing with climbing Carstensz Pyramid on May 7, 1986, shortly followed by Messner himself climbing Vinson on December 3, 1986. Morrow has also been the first to complete all eight summits from both lists.

As of March 2007, more than 198 climbers have climbed all seven of the peaks from either the Bass or the Messner list; about 30% of those have climbed all of the eight peaks required to complete both lists.

The first person to complete Seven Summits without the use of artificial oxygen on Mount Everest is Reinhold Messner[4]. Miroslav Caban is probably the only other climber (besides Messner) as of October 2005 to finish the project without artificial oxygen on Everest (finished in 2005 with Carstensz)[5]. Between 2002 and 2007, Austrian climber Christian Stangl completed the Seven Summits (Messner list), climbing alone and without oxygen, and reported a record total ascent time from respective base camp to summit of 58 hours and 45 minutes.[6][7]

In 1990, Rob Hall and Gary Ball became the first to complete the Seven Summits in seven months. Using the Bass list, they started with Mount Everest on May 10, 1990, and finished with Vinson on December 12, 1990, hours before the seven-month deadline.

The world record for completion of the Messner and Bass list is 136 days[8], by Danish climber Henrik Kristiansen(43) in 2008. Kristiansen completed the summits in the following order: Vinson on Jan 21st, Aconcagua on Feb 6, Kosciuszko on Feb 13, Kilimanjaro on Mar 1, Carstenz Pyramid on Mar 14, Elbrus on May 8, Everest on May 25, spending just 22 days on the mountain (normally, expeditions take up to 2 months acclimatizing, laying ropes etc...) and finally Denali on June 5, beating Irish Ian McKeevers' previous record by 20 days.[9][10]

On MAY 22,2003 Zed "Zeddy" Al Refai became the FIRST ARAB ( Kuwait ) to Summit Everest and Complete the 7 summits www.foreverest.com

On May 15, 2006, Maxime Chaya became the first Lebanese Maxime Chaya's Seven Summits Website</ref>

In October 2006 Kit Deslauriers became the first person to have skied down all seven peaks (Kosciuszko list).[11] Three months later, in January 2007, Swedes Olof Sundström and Martin Letzter completed their Seven Summits skiing project by skiing down Carstensz Pyramid, thus becoming the first and only people to have skied both lists.[12]

On 18 January 2010, 17 year-old Johnny Collinson of Snowbird, Utah officially became the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits (Messner list) when he and his climbing partner, Willie Benegas, completed their successful attempt of the Vinson Massif[13]. Prior to Collinson's successful bid, the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits Challenge (Bass list) was then 18 year-old Samantha Larson of Long Beach, California.

Criticism of the Seven Summits challenge

Many mountain climbers, beyond these one hundred and ninety eight, aspire to complete the seven ascents of one or both of these lists, but the expense, the demands placed on fitness, the physical hardship and the dangers involved are often greater than imagined.[citation needed] Popularization of the Seven Summits has not been without its detractors, who argue that it tempts the ambitious but inexperienced into paying large sums to professional guides who promise the "seven", and that the guides are therefore pressured to press on toward summits even to the detriment of their clients' safety.[citation needed]

Alpinism author Jon Krakauer (1997) wrote in Into Thin Air that it would be a bigger challenge to climb the second-highest peak of each continent, known as the Seven Second Summits. This is especially true for Asia, as K2 (8,611 m) demands greater technical climbing skills than Everest (8,848 m), while altitude-related factors such as the thinness of the atmosphere, high winds and low temperatures remain much the same. Some of those completing the seven ascents are aware of the magnitude of the challenge. In 2000, in a foreword to Steve Bell et al., Seven Summits, Morrow opined with humility '[t]he only reason Reinhold [Messner] wasn’t the first person to complete the seven was that he was too busy gambolling up the 14 tallest mountains in the world.'

References

Notes

  1. ^ A higher elevation of 5,030 m still appears on some maps and sites, but is accepted by neither Indonesia nor the mountaineering community, nor is it supported by modern surveys. High resolution IFSAR data supplied by Intermap shows no cell higher than 4,863 m. See also Australian Universities' Expedition (section 2, page 4).
  2. ^ Statistical Yearbook of Croatia, 2007
  3. ^ "The Seven Summits". 8000ers.com. http://www.8000ers.com/cms/7-summits-mainmenu-199.html. 
  4. ^ "History of Seven Summits". carstenszpapua.com. http://www.carstenszpapua.com/7summits-history.html. 
  5. ^ "Czech climber tops seven summits". The Prague Post. http://www.praguepost.com/articles/2005/10/19/czech-climber-tops-seven-summits.php. 
  6. ^ 58 Stunden, 45 Minuten, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10 December 2007. (German)
  7. ^ Fastest Everest climber eats 3, 6000m peaks in 16 hours, MountEverest.net, 9 November 2006
  8. ^ "Facts & figures of all 7 summiteers". 7summits.com. http://7summits.com/7summits_statistics.php. 
  9. ^ Henrik Kristiansen completes the 7 (8) summits challenge - new world speed record set
  10. ^ "Canadian man climbs highest mountains on seven continents in 187 days". CBC. 2006-11-28. http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/061128/K112821AU.html. 
  11. ^ "Kit Deslauriers Ski Mountaineering Highlights". http://kitdski.com/skiMountaineering.php. 
  12. ^ "www.se7ensummits.com". http://www.se7ensummits.com. 
  13. ^ "17-year-old Utahn conquers 7 summits". SLTrib. 2010-01-27. http://www.sltrib.com/features/ci_14274638?source=rv. 

See also

External links

  • [2]: Impartial and unbiased advice about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.


The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Summiting all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge, first postulated as such in the 1980s by Richard Bass (Bass et al. 1986).

Contents

Seven Summits definitions

Owing to different interpretations of continental borders (geographical, geological, geopolitical) several definitions for the highest summits per continent and the number of continents are possible. The Seven Summits number of seven continents is based on the continent model used in Western Europe, the United States and Australia.

Oceania

The highest mountain in the Australian mainland is Mount Kosciuszko, 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level. However, the highest mountain in the Australian continent which includes Australia and New Guinea is Puncak Jaya, 4,884 m (16,024 ft) above sea level,[1] in the Indonesian province of Papua on the island of New Guinea which lies on the Australian continental shelf. Puncak Jaya is also known as Carstensz Pyramid.

Some sources claim Mount Wilhelm, 4,509 m (14,793 ft), as the highest mountain peak in Oceania, on account of Indonesia being part of Asia and Southeast Asia.[2] (See List of Southeast Asian mountains, includes Puncak Jaya and other mountains in Papua, Indonesia) However, such a definition is political, not geophysical. The peak belongs to the Bismarck Range of Papua New Guinea. The Seven Summits list sometimes includes Mount Wilhelm.

Europe

Europe, the generally accepted highest summit is Mount Elbrus (5,642 m/18,510 ft) in the Caucasus. However, because the Caucasus form the border between Asia and Europe its inclusion in Europe is disputed[citation needed]. The highest mountain indisputably within Europe is Mont Blanc (4,810 m/15,781 ft) on the border of France and Italy.[3]

The Bass and Messner lists

The first Seven Summits list as postulated by Bass (The Bass or Kosciusko list) chose the highest mountain of mainland Australia, Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 m/7,310 ft), to represent the Australian continent's highest summit. Reinhold Messner postulated another list (the Messner or Carstensz list) replacing Mount Kosciuszko with New Guinea's Puncak Jaya, or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m/16,024 ft). Neither the Bass nor the Messner list includes Mont Blanc. From a mountaineering point of view the Messner list is the more challenging one. Climbing Carstensz Pyramid has the character of an expedition, whereas the ascent of Kosciuszko is an easy hike. Indeed, Pat Morrow used this argument to defend his choice to adhere to the Messner list. 'Being a climber first and a collector second, I felt strongly that Carstensz Pyramid, the highest mountain in Australasia ... was a true mountaineer’s objective.'

"Seven" Summits (sorted by continent)
"Bass" "Messner" Summit Elevation m Elevation ft Continent Range Country First Successful Ascent
X X Kilimanjaro (Volcano Kibo: Uhuru Peak) 5,892 19,340 Africa Kilimanjaro Tanzania 1889
X X Vinson Massif 4,892 16,050 Antarctica Ellsworth Mountains N/A* 1966
X Kosciuszko 2,228 7,310 Australia Great Dividing Range Australia 1840
X Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) 4,884 16,024 Oceania Maoke Mountains Indonesia 1962
X X Everest (Sagarmatha or Chomolungma) 8,848 29,035 Asia Himalaya Nepal, China 1953
X X Elbrus (Minghi-Tau) 5,642 18,510 Europe Caucasus Russia 1874
X X Mount McKinley (Denali) 6,194 20,320 North America Alaska Range United States 1913
X X Aconcagua 6,962 22,841 South America Andes Argentina 1897

Territory claimed by Chile. However, most nations do not recognize Antarctic territorial claims.

Mountaineering challenge

The mountaineering challenge to climb the Seven Summits is traditionally based on either the Bass or the Messner list. (It is assumed that most of the mountaineers who have completed the Seven Summits would have climbed Mont Blanc as well.)

History

Richard Bass, a businessman and amateur mountaineer, set himself the goal of climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, including mainland Australia. He hired David Breashears to guide him up Everest, the most difficult of his Seven, and completed his Everest summit on April 30, 1985. He then co-authored the book Seven Summits, which covered the undertaking (Bass et al. 1986).

Reinhold Messner revised Bass's list by using the broader definition of Oceania and including Carstensz Pyramid rather than Australia's Mount Kosciuszko. Pat Morrow first met Messner's challenge, finishing with climbing Carstensz Pyramid on May 7, 1986, shortly followed by Messner himself climbing Vinson on December 3, 1986. Morrow has also been the first to complete all eight summits from both lists.

As of January 2010, approximately 275 climbers have climbed all seven of the peaks from either the Bass or the Messner list; about 30% of those have climbed all of the eight peaks required to complete both lists.

In May 2002, Susan Ershler and her husband, Phil, became the first married couple to climb the “Seven Summits” together.[4] The first person to complete Seven Summits without the use of artificial oxygen on Mount Everest is Reinhold Messner[5]. Miroslav Caban is probably the only other climber (besides Messner) as of October 2005 to finish the project without artificial oxygen on Everest (finished in 2005 with Carstensz)[6]. Between 2002 and 2007, Austrian climber Christian Stangl completed the Seven Summits (Messner list), climbing alone and without oxygen, and reported a record total ascent time from respective base camp to summit of 58 hours and 45 minutes.[7][8]

In 1990, Rob Hall and Gary Ball became the first to complete the Seven Summits in seven months. Using the Bass list, they started with Mount Everest on May 10, 1990, and finished with Vinson on December 12, 1990, hours before the seven-month deadline.

The world record for completion of the Messner and Bass list was 136 days[9], by Danish climber Henrik Kristiansen(43) in 2008. Kristiansen completed the summits in the following order: Vinson on Jan 21st, Aconcagua on Feb 6, Kosciuszko on Feb 13, Kilimanjaro on Mar 1, Carstenz Pyramid on Mar 14, Elbrus on May 8, Everest on May 25, spending just 22 days on the mountain (normally, expeditions take up to 2 months acclimatizing, laying ropes etc...) and finally Denali on June 5, beating Irish Ian McKeevers' previous record by 20 days.[10][11] Vern Tejas set the new record for the same, in 134 days. Tejas began with summiting Vinson on Jan 18 2010 and completing with Denali on May 31. This was Vern's 9th time to complete the "Bass" Seven Summits.

In October 2006 Kit Deslauriers became the first person to have skied down (parts of) all seven peaks (Kosciuszko list).[12] Three months later, in January 2007, Swedes Olof Sundström and Martin Letzter completed their Seven Summits skiing project by skiing down (parts of) Carstensz Pyramid, thus becoming the first and only people to have skied both lists.[13]

On 18 January 2010, 17 year-old Johnny Collinson of Snowbird, Utah officially became the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits (Messner list) when he and his climbing partner, Willie Benegas, completed their successful attempt of the Vinson Massif[14]. Prior to Collinson's successful bid, the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits Challenge (Bass list) was then 18 year-old Samantha Larson of Long Beach, California.

On 23 May 2010, AC Sherpa summited Mt. Everest as his last and final conquest of the Seven Summits (Bass list). In doing this, he set a new record by climbing the seven summits within 42 climbing days. Additionally, when climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (via Marangu) he summited in just 16 hours and 37 minutes, easily beating the previous record of 18 hours.

Criticism

Many mountain climbers, beyond these one hundred and ninety eight, aspire to complete the seven ascents of one or both of these lists, but the expense, the demands placed on fitness, the physical hardship and the dangers involved are often greater than imagined.[citation needed] Popularization of the Seven Summits has not been without its detractors, who argue that it tempts the ambitious but inexperienced into paying large sums to professional guides who promise the "seven", and that the guides are therefore pressured to press on toward summits even to the detriment of their clients' safety.[citation needed]

Alpinism author Jon Krakauer (1997) wrote in Into Thin Air that it would be a bigger challenge to climb the second-highest peak of each continent, known as the Seven Second Summits. This is especially true for Asia, as K2 (8,611 m) demands greater technical climbing skills than Everest (8,848 m), while altitude-related factors such as the thinness of the atmosphere, high winds and low temperatures remain much the same. Some of those completing the seven ascents are aware of the magnitude of the challenge. In 2000, in a foreword to Steve Bell et al., Seven Summits, Morrow opined with humility '[t]he only reason Reinhold [Messner] wasn’t the first person to complete the seven was that he was too busy gambolling up the 14 tallest mountains in the world.'

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ A higher elevation of 5,030 m (16,503 ft) still appears on some maps and sites, but is accepted by neither Indonesia nor the mountaineering community, nor is it supported by modern surveys. High resolution IFSAR data supplied by Intermap shows no cell higher than 4,863 m (15,955 ft). See also Australian Universities' Expedition (section 2, page 4).
  2. ^ Statistical Yearbook of Croatia, 2007
  3. ^ "The Seven Summits". 8000ers.com. http://www.8000ers.com/cms/7-summits-mainmenu-199.html. 
  4. ^ "Ershlers First Couple to Climb the Seven Summits". International Mountain Guides. http://www.mountainguides.com/pop_ershlers_everest.shtml. 
  5. ^ "History of Seven Summits". carstenszpapua.com. http://www.carstenszpapua.com/7summits-history.html. 
  6. ^ "Czech climber tops seven summits". The Prague Post. http://www.praguepost.com/articles/2005/10/19/czech-climber-tops-seven-summits.php. 
  7. ^ 58 Stunden, 45 Minuten, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 10 December 2007. (German)
  8. ^ Fastest Everest climber eats 3, 6000m peaks in 16 hours, MountEverest.net, 9 November 2006
  9. ^ "Facts & figures of all 7 summiteers". 7summits.com. http://7summits.com/7summits_statistics.php. 
  10. ^ Henrik Kristiansen completes the 7 (8) summits challenge - new world speed record set
  11. ^ "Canadian man climbs highest mountains on seven continents in 187 days". CBC. 2006-11-28. http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/061128/K112821AU.html. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Kit Deslauriers Ski Mountaineering Highlights". http://kitdski.com/skiMountaineering.php. 
  13. ^ "www.se7ensummits.com". http://www.se7ensummits.com. 
  14. ^ "17-year-old Utahn conquers 7 summits". SLTrib. 2010-01-27. http://www.sltrib.com/features/ci_14274638?source=rv. 

External links

  • [2]: Impartial and unbiased advice about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.


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