The "seven summits" are the highest peaks on each continent
of the world. They are:
- Kilimanjaro - Africa
- Located entirely in Tanzania near the border with Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro is an extinct volcano with three main peaks - Kiro, Shira, and Mawenzi. Its official height is 19,340 feet (5,895 meters).
- Elbrus - Europe
- Found in the Caucasus region of Russia, Elbrus has two main summits. The west summit, at 18,511 feet (5,642 meters), is slightly higher than the east summit, which is 18,442 feet (5,621 meters).
- Carstensz - Oceania
- The highest peak in the entire group of islands, the Carstensz Pyramid is found at Irian Jaya in Indonesia; its summit is at 16,023 feet (4,884 meters). This is a considerably harder climb than Mount Kosciusco, Australia's highest peak, which reaches only to 7,310 feet (2,228 meters).
- Everest - Asia
- The best-known of the seven summits - indeed, the best-known of all mountains, Everest is the highest peak in the world, at 29,035 feet (8,850 meters). Its height has been confirmed by GPS and other sophisticated equipment.
- Denali - North America
- Also called Mount McKinley after William McKinley, Denali's name means The High One and it is found in the Alaska Range. The mountain's official height is 20,320 feet (6,194 meters).
- Aconcagua - South America
- The second highest of the seven summits (though not the second-highest mountain in the world - that honor goes to K2), Aconcagua is located in Argentina and is part of the Andes Mountains. The peak rises to 22,841 feet (6,950 meters).
- Vinson Massif - Antarctica
- Not even discovered until four years after Hillary summitted Everest, the Vinson Massif reaches 16,067 feet (4,897 meters). It was named for Carl Vinson, a United States Congressman from Georgia who spurred his country's exploration into Antarctica. The peak was not reached until 1985, when a team from Adventure Network International completed three successful expeditions.
The seven summits were first conquered by American businessman Dick Bass
, who reached the final summit on April 30, 1985 at age fifty-five. Bass climbed Kosciusko instead of Carstensz; the Carstensz version of the seven summits was first completed by Canadian Pat Morrow
, who finished the task on August 5, 1986 and received the Order of Canada
for his achievement.
Into Thin Air
, by Jon Krakauer