Seven Summits: Top Of The World

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The “Seven Summits” include the tallest mountains on each of Earth’s seven continents: Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Mount Vinson, and the Carstensz Pyramid. Reaching the top is considered an important mountaineering achievement. Climbing the Seven Summits, the highest peaks of each of the world’s continents, is among the supreme accomplishments of their sports; it is harder to get them to agree on exactly which peaks make up the Seven Summits.  Here, then, are the world’s Seven—or maybe make that Eight—Summits.

1. Africa: Kilimanjaro

  • Elevation: 5,895 m
  • Location: Kilimanjaro Region, north east Tanzania
  • Eruption: Between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago
  • Mountain Range: Eastern Rift Mountains
  • Continents: Africa

Kilimanjaro is very popular with experienced hikers and novice adventurers as it is considered the easiest of the Seven Summits. Climbing the mountain does not require any technical skills or equipment, such as a rope, harness, crampons or an ice ax. Therefore, this is a hiking or “walking” summit, not a mountaineering or climbing summit. Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s tallest peak, but also the world’s tallest free standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Point, is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Mount Kilimanjaro lies just 205 miles from the equator, in the country of Tanzania. 

Best Time To Go: The main seasons are traditionally December to March and June to October with temperatures in Moshi averaging 22 degrees C and summit temperatures around – 7 degrees C. The rains are in April, May and November but nowadays climate change has changed this pattern so sometimes the rains come earlier or later. During the rains we run our Rongai climbs as the northern side of the mountain is more sheltered.


2. Europe: Mount Elbrus

  • Elevation: 5,642 m
  • Eruption: 50 AD ± 50 years
  • Mountain Range: Caucasus
  • Continents: Europe

With an elevation of 18,510 feet (5,642 meters), it is part of the Caucasus Range that straddles Asia and Europe, although most geographers place it in Europe. This makes it the highest mountain in Europe. “Mingi-Tau” is the name given Elbrus by the Balkars, the Turkic people of the Caucasus region. This translates to “resembling a thousand mountains,” as a homage to the mountain’s size. Nighttime temperatures average 18 F (minus 8 C). Temperatures above the snowline can fall as low as minus 22 F (minus 30 C) during the day during the winter. Winter is coldest in the western part. It lasts from October to April above 6,562 feet (2,000 m). Elbrus has a unique cable car system, which was built on the south side of the mountain from 1959 to 1976. The cable car reaches 12,500 feet (3,658 m).  From there, most climbers take the Standard Route up the south side to the summit.

Best Time To Go: The climate is most conducive to climbing in July and August, when the weather is at its most stable.


3. North America: Denali

  • Elevation: 6,190 m
  • Eruption: 7 June 1913
  • Mountain Range: Alaska Range

Denali, once called Mount McKinley, is the tallest mountain in North America. Located in south-central Alaska, the mountain’s peak is 6,190 meters above sea level. It is part of the Alaska Range and the centerpiece of Denali National Park, which covers six million acres (24,281 square km) of land. Denali’s height was recalculated to 20,310 feet in September 2015, based on GPS survey data; And that number was an update of a 2013 estimate of 20,237 feet (6,168 m), which was calculated using a remote sensing technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). When Denali was remeasured in 2015, some believed that the mountain was shrinking due to the fact that it was quite a bit shorter than when measured in 1953. Actually, the mountain is growing by about .04 inches (1 millimeter) per year, according to NASA.

Best Time To Go: May and September is best month to go.  The mountain’s extreme cold, which can be minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius) with wind chill down to minus 118 F (minus 83 C), can freeze a human in an instant.


4. South America: Mount Aconcagua

  • Elevation: 6,962 m
  • Location:Mandoga, Argentina
  • Mountain Range:Andes

At 6,961 meters, not only is it the tallest mountain in South America, it is the highest peak in all of the Americas, as well as the southern and western hemispheres. Aconcagua is located in Argentina, in the province of Mendoza, and lies 112 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mendoza, and 15 km from the border with Chile. The vegetation and wildlife on Aconcagua is concentrated below 13,123 feet (4,000 m), according to the Encyclopedia of World Geography. There are a number of low bushes, such as yellow firewood, yareta and goat horn, and there are open pastures made up of grasses such as huecú and ichu. The mountain is dotted with glaciers, with the largest one being the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior, which is 6.2 miles (10 km) long and near the Confluencia camp on the south face at about 11,811 feet (3,600 m). During the summer, the temperature at night above 16,400 feet (5,000 m) is about minus 4 F (minus 20 C), and the typical temperature at the summit is minus 22 F (minus 30 C).


5. Asia: Mount Everest

  • Elevation: 8,849 m
  • Location: Nepal, China
  • Mountain Range: southeast ridge

Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 meters above sea level and the 5th tallest mountain measured from the center of the Earth. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas.  It is located between Nepal and Tibet, an autonomous region of China. In the nineteenth century, the mountain was named after George Everest, a former Surveyor General of India. The Tibetan name is Chomolungma, which means “Mother Goddess of the World.” The Nepali name is Sagarmatha, which has various meanings. The first ever recorded people to climb Everest were Edmund Hillary and his Tibetan guide Tenzing Norgay. limbing Mount Everest has become a popular expedition for mountain climbers. However, it is a dangerous undertaking. Climbing Everest requires a lot of experience mountaineering elsewhere, as well as a certificate of good health, equipment, and a trained Nepalese guide. The snow and ice on the mountain create deadly hazards like avalanches, and there is only a limited climbing season due to bad weather conditions.


6. Antarctica: Vinson Massif

  • Elevation:  4,892 m
  • First Ascent: 1966
  • Mountain Range: Sentinal

At 6,961 meters, not only is it the tallest mountain in South America, it is the highest peak in all of the Americas, as well as the southern and western hemispheres. Aconcagua is located in Argentina, in the province of Mendoza, and lies 112 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital, Mendoza, and 15 km from the border with Chile.  Iso­lat­ed and stark­ly beau­ti­ful, the icy con­ti­nent of Antarc­ti­ca is beyond descrip­tion and offers an adven­ture of a life­time for team members. Temperatures in the Ellsworth Mountains average around -30 °C (-20 °F). The best months for expeditions are December through February.
The massif has been discovered in 1957 and the top reached for the first time in 1966. 

Best Time To Go: Climbs are typically made during December and January, the Antarctic summer, when the sun is out 24 hours a day and temperatures hover around -20°C (-29°F).


7. Australia/Oceania: Jaya Peak (Mount Carstensz)

  • Elevation: 4,884 m
  • First Ascent: 1962
  • Mountain Range: Sudirman

The 16,024-foot mountain is also called Puncak Jaya, Puncak Jaya Kesuma, and Jaya Kesuma. Indonesians typically vary between the names Carstensz Pyramid and Puncak Jaya. The officially recognized height of the Carstensz Pyramid is 16,024 feet (4,884 meters). Carstensz Pyramid is named for John Carstensz, a Dutch seaman and explorer who, along with his crew, were the first Europeans to see the mountain. While there are no glaciers on Carstensz Pyramid’s peak, there are several on its slopes, including the Carstensz Glacier, the Meren Glacier and Northwall Firn. Daytime temperatures can vary from 53 F (12 C) to 98 F (37 C) and can go as low as 18 F (-8 C) at night. The mountain has seven faces, and climbers can take a number of routes to summit Carstensz Pyramid. Harrer or Normal Route is the usual route up the mountain. Its ascent and descent usually takes 12 to 15 hours, so climbers have to start out early.

Best Time To Go: April to November

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