The Seven Summits
The "Seven Summits" is the
name given to highest points of the seven continents of the world.
Five of the seven peaks on the main list above are unambiguous:
Everest, Aconcagua, McKinley, Kilimanjaro, and Vinson are all,
without question, continent high points. And, while consensus
today is very clearly behind Elbrus and Jaya as the other two
members of this exclusive club, there is some disagreement as
to what constitutes the high points of Europe and the Australia/Oceania
Elbrus, lying north of the main Caucasus crest, falls into Europe
by a few miles, using the classic Europe/Asia dividing line. However,
there are a number of valid objections to crowning Elbrus: The
Caucasus are not really thought of as very "European"
(not even "Eastern European"), instead being closer
to the Middle East, and it is not very far from Elbrus to Damavand
in Iran, a higher summit. The alternate candidate is Mont Blanc,
clearly in Europe and boasting higher prominence and isolation
values than Elbrus. Still, the consensus is that when it comes
to the seven summits, Mont Blanc is at best an honorable mention.
Puncack Jaya (Carstenz Pyramid) on the island of New Guinea is
clearly a dominant summit in the world hierarchy--it is the highest
point between the high peaks of Central Asia and the Andes, and
the highest peak on an island in the world. There are two main
issue with calling it one of the seven summits: First, it is hard
to call it a continental high point when it is not on a continental
landmass, and second, politically it is in Indonesia, part of
Asia. Lowly Mount Kosciusko is the high point of the generally
flat continent of Australia, and it is sometimes proposed as an
alternate for Jaya.
As a peakbagging pursuit, the seven summits was believed to be
first conceived of by Dick Bass and Frank Wells who have written
the book Seven Summits. Dick Bass completed all seven after climbing
Everest in 1985, but he did Kosciusko, not Jaya, for his Australia/Oceania
summit. Canadian climber Patrick Morrow was the first to complete
the now-traditional seven summits, in 1986.
Over 80 climbers have now done the Seven Summits, and these days
it has become a popular quest. The first Canadian man to climb
the Seven Summits was Pat Morrow in 1986 and first Canadian woman
was Urszula Tokarska in 2005.
||Argentina, South America
|Denali (Mount McKinley)
||Alaska, North America
||Ellsworth Range, Antarctica
||Indonesia's (t/m) is Oceania's