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Seven Summits

The Seven Summits are the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Mountain Gurus will help you climb the 7 Summits as we offer quality mountain climbing expeditions worldwide. We will guide you every step of the way, teaching you the proper mountaineering skills you’ll need to succeed. Proper physical training and equipment are required to climb the seven summits.

everest-climb
Mount Everest • 29,035’/ 8850m
Asia • Nepal • Himalaya

As the highest mountain on earth, Mount Everest was first summited in 1953
by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmond Hillary. As one of the fourteen eight thousand
meter peaks in the great Himalayan range, Everest is known by the Nepalese as
Sagamartha or the Tibetans/Sherpa as Chomolungma. In 1924 a British expedition
from the Northside resulted in the greatest mystery on Everest to this day,
George Mallory and Andrew Irvine made a final summit attempt but never returned.
Notable ascents include the 1963 First American ascent by Jim Whittaker and first
ascent of the West Ridge by Americans Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld. In 1978
Reinhold Messner made the first ascent without supplemental oxygen.

Cerro Aconcagua • 22,892’/ 6962m
South America • Argentina • Andes

Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres,
as well as the highest peak outside of the continent of Asia. Because of these
claims to fame and its relatively accessible climbing routes, Aconcagua is one
of the mostfrequently climbed mountain of the Seven Summits and its popular base
camp Plaza de Mulas is the second largest in the world, after Everest Base Camp.
It was first climbed by a European expedition in 1897, and in 2013, the youngest
summiteer reached the top at the fresh age of nine.

Mount McKinley • 20,320’/ 6194m
North America • United States • Alaska Range

Known as Mt. McKinley, Denali is not only the tallest mountain in North America;
it boasts the greatest base-to-peak rise of any other mountain in the world. Its
placement in the far northern hemisphere creates a unique climate of cold
temperatures and sudden storms that make Denali one of the most challenging
mountains to climb in the world. Denali means “The Great One” to its native people,
but it was renamed in 1896 to Mt. McKinley after President McKinley. It was first
summited in 1913 by Hudson Stuck. The name Denali was officially restored in 2015.

Mount Kilimanjaro • 19,340’/ 5895m
Africa • Tanzania

Mt. Kilimanjaro as the tallest free-standing mountain on Earth. This means that
since Kilimanjaro is not part of a mountain range, it stands alone in awe-inspiring
glory as the Roof of Africa. Its summit was first reached in 1889 by Hans Meyer and
Ludwig Purtschellar. It took the pair six weeks to reach Uhuru Point, whereas
modern-day climbers ascend in six or fewer days. Kilimanjaro is composed of three
distinct volcanic cones; Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 16,893 ft; and Shira,
the shortest at 13,140 ft. While Kibo is dormant and could erupt again.

Mount Elbrus • 18,510’/ 5642m
Europe • Russia • Caucasus Range

Mt. Elbrus is a volcano that rests right on the border of Europe and Asia,
towering over its neighbors in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains. The most popular
route on Elbrus carries climbers up to 12,500 ft. on a convenient chairlift
system and features year-round huts even farther up the mountain. However,
these luxuries didn’t exist when the lower east summit was first summited
in 1829 by a Russian party, nor in 1874 when an English expedition first
ascended to the true top.

Vinson Massif • 16,050’/ 4892m
Antarctica • Sentinel Range

Sprawling over an 8-mile wide and 13-mile long massif, Mt. Vinson stands as the
highest peak in Antarctica just 750 miles from the South Pole. Of the Seven Summits,
Vinson Massif was the last to be discovered, the last to be named, and the last
to be climbed of the world’s highest peaks. Its summer climbing season offers a
unique experience as alpinists wake, climb, and sleep, all throughout 24 hours of
daylight. In 1966 an expedition with climbers from the American Alpine Club and
the National Science Foundation followed Nicholas Clinch to Vinson’s first summit.

Carstensz Pyramid • 16,024’/ 4884m
Australia • Indonesia • Sudirman Range

Carstensz Pyramid is the tallest in a series of peaks on Mt. Carstensz in Indonesia,
and the tallest peak on the continent of Australia including the entire area of Oceania.
Also known as Puncak Jaya. In 1936 a Dutch Expedition climbed the neighboring two
summits, including Ngga Pulu, which would have actually been the tallest point of the
mountain at that time before massive glacier melts reshaped the Carstens Range. It
wouldn’t be until 1962 that the true high point, the Carstensz Pyramid, would be
summited by the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer.

Mount Kosciuszko • 7,310’/ 2228m
Australia • Great Dividing Range

At just 7,310 ft. Mt. Kosciuszko stands as the highpoint of mainland Australia,
dominating the skyline of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves. Of the
many aboriginal names of the mountain, all mean “Table Top Mountain.” Its first
recorded European ascent was in 1840, but it was most likely summited by aboriginal
peoples long before then. The ascent has been somewhat controversial; Dick Bass’s
list puts Mount Kosciuszko as the tallest in Australia, but climber Patrick Morrow
has put forward that the tallest mountain in Oceania.

Seven Summits • FAQ

What are the Seven Summits? The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Summiting all of them is regarded as a premier mountaineering challenge, first postulated as such and achieved on April 30, 1985 by Richard Bass. Richard (Dick) 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 then co-authored the book Seven Summits, which covered the undertaking, and included the following peaks: Mt. Everest, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Vinson, Mt. Denali, Mt. Elbrus, and Mt. Kosciusko.

Why the discrepancy between lists of the Seven Summits? The first official Seven Summits list created by Bass included the tallest peak of mainland Australia, Mt. Kosciuszko, which is only 7,310 ft. Reinhold Messner revised Bass’s list by using the broader definition of Oceania and including Carstensz Pyramid (or Puncak Jaya) rather than Australia’s Mt. Kosciuszko. Messner’s list of the Seven Summits include: Mt. Everest, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Vinson, Mt. Denali, Mt. Elbrus, and Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya). Neither list include Mont Blanc, which some consider to be the tallest mountain on the continent of Russia since it is in central Europe, rather than Mt. Elbrus in Russia. As of January 2013, approximately 350 climbers 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.

Why should I climb the Seven Summits? Although there are many worthy mountains to climb, the Seven Summits provide a unique challenge and achievable goal for those who are willing to dedicate themselves to learning the necessary skills required to experience the highest mountains on Earth. The Seven Summits represent a bucket list for goal oriented individuals to achieve their dreams. In addition you’ll encounter many different corners of our world, various ethnic groups, cultures, religions, unique landscapes and environments. It’s so much more than just the challenge of summits. It’s a journey to discover your inner and outer strength and the people and places that make up our amazing planet. All while achieving one of the most incredible goals you could possibly dream. We believe in standing atop Mount Everest is one of the most remarkable human powered achievements.

How should I get started? That question depends on your climbing experience. If you never climbed before you should start off small and gain the needed physical and mountaineering skills required to be successful. It’s also a good idea to get a bit of altitude experience before venturing to higher peaks. You should come out and join Mountain Gurus in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Although other ranges in the United States offer mountain climbing, but few ranges outside the Cascade Mountains offer the same glaciated features required to climb the peaks of the Seven Summits. The North Cascades, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are wonderful places to gain the needed experience to achieve this goal. We suggest a three-day summit climb or six-day expedition mountaineering course. It’s also a good way to get familiar with the gear and ensure you enjoy climbing. An alternative way to begin the Seven Summits is by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro the highest point in Africa. In fact, Kilimanjaro isn’t considered a mountaineering climb. It’s a high altitude multiple day hike and the least technical climb of the Seven Summits. Nearly anyone with the proper physical conditioning can climb to the summit. It’s also a great mountain to bring friends or love ones who don’t plan to join you on the other six peaks.

Can I only climb a few of the seven? Absolutely, In fact most climbers don’t complete the full seven. But you can still experience the same rewards climbing even one or two of the Seven Summits. Since climbing the Seven Summits is a personal journey of discovery, climbing Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and/or Aconcagua are enormous accomplishments in and of themselves. You can also trek to Everest Base Camp and climb Kala Pater to experience the beauty and spender of Mount Everest and the friendly Sherpa people without stepping afoot. Granted it’s not the same as standing on the summit of the Earth’s highest peak but for most mortals it’s a worthy goal in and of itself. Mountain Gurus also offers climbs through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 2 on Mount Everest or trekking peaks similar to Island Peak where one can experience the Himalaya.

Kilimanjaro and beyond? For those with previous climbing experience or you’ve now completed Mount Kilimanjaro, you can jump to Mount Elbrus or even possibly Aconcagua or Mount McKinley. But it’s best to speak with us directly to ensure you’re prepared for the challenges ahead. It’s also a good idea to climb other interim peaks like the Ecuador Volcanoes, Peaks in Peru or the Mexican Volcanoes before tackling higher altitudes or the more technical Seven Summits. There are many fulfilling summits outside the bucket list of seven which have similar climbing rewards and will help you gain the needed experience. Let us know how we can help you achieve your goals. We will plan a logical and safe schedule to help you reach the top of the Earth’s highest peaks. Come explore with us! “Challenge yourself while exploring your world. Truly one of life’s greatest experiences.” Dennis Broadwell, Owner and MG founder