What are the Seven Summits?

The Seven Summits are defined as the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents.

Mount Everest (Incomplete. turned back just under 27,700 ft. (8500 m) on May 15th, 2022.)

Standing in at 29,032 feet (8849 meters), Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on earth and the highest in Asia. It lies on the border between China (Tibet) and Nepal in the center of the Himalayan mountain range. Due to its size, it is buffeted by the jet stream with winds reaching speeds of over 100 mph, and this, combined with the avalanches, glaciers, ice-rivers, and altitude, make this the most difficult of all the Seven Summits to climb. It was first successfully climbed on 29 May 1953 by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Mount Elbrus (Completed August 1st, 2019)

Standing in at 18,512 feet (5642 meters), Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe. It lies in the Caucasus mountain range in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia. The first ascent of the summit took place in July 1874 by an English climber, Crauford Grove, and a Swiss guide, Peter Knubel. Mark made his ascent via the South Route, personally dedicating the summit to SOS Children’s Villages Russia.

Aconcagua (Completed March 3rd, 2019)

Standing in at 22,829 feet (6962 meters), Aconcagua is the highest mountain on the South American continent and the highest outside of the Himalayas. It sits within Argentina near the border with Chile. Even though there are many non-technical routes to its summit, Aconcagua’s sheer scale, and bad weather can account for many problems while climbing. The first recorded summit in modern history was in 1897, by Swiss climber Matthias Zurbriggen. Mark made his ascent via the Polish Glacier Traverse Route, personally dedicating the summit to Quinta Betel.

Mount Kilimanjaro (Completed October 28th, 2017)

Standing in at 19,340 feet (5895 meters), Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It lies in Tanzania on the eastern side of the continent, close to the equator. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro allows you to experience 5 major climatic zones, from hot and arid equatorial conditions at the base, to arctic conditions at the summit. It was first conquered in 1889 by German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller. Mark made his ascent via the Marangu Route, personally dedicating the summit to Stella Maris English Medium Primary.

Denali (cancelled in 2020, due to pandemic)

Standing in at 20,320 feet (6194 meters), Denali is the highest mountain in North America. It is situated in Alaska in the United States, in the Denali National Park. Denali has some of the worst weather in the world on a year-round basis and is also generally acknowledged to be one of the most difficult of the Seven Summits, of which it is also the most northerly, lying at 63° N. It was first climbed by the Americans Hudson Stock, Harry Karstens, Harper, and Robert Tatum on 7 June 1913.

Vinson Massif

Standing in at 16,067 feet (4897 meters), Vinson Massif is the highest mountain in Antarctica. It is also the most southerly of the Seven Summits, lying at 78° S, and the coldest, with temperatures falling to -90°F. It lies in the Ellsworth Mountain range near the Antarctic Peninsula and is in territory administered by Chile under the Antarctic Treaty. It is very hard to get to, as the only access is by ski plane from Punta Arenas in Chile, which is only able to fly occasionally due to the weather. It was first climbed in 1966 by an American team of Barry Corbet, John Evans, William Long, and Pete Schoening.

Carstensz Pyramid

Standing in at 16,023 feet (4884 meters), Carstensz Pyramid is the only technical “rock” climbing of all the Seven Summits. Carstensz Pyramid sits in Irian Jaya which comprises the western side of the island of New Guinea located in Indonesia. The bare, rocky, and near-vertical slopes of the Carstensz Pyramid rise above the lush jungle environment that can start off extremely hot and humid. One way to go is the Sugapa route which traverses rugged jungles, forests, and alpine terrain for almost 80 km. Patrick Morrow was the first person to finish the Seven Summits with the Carstensz variation.