Seven Summits

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”
― T. S. Eliot

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
― Nelson Mandela


I have always held a fantasy to become a mountaineer some day. Likely, that notion contributed to my ambitions to become a geologist at a young age. Who doesn’t want to explore untouched terrain? Go places no one has ever been before? I know I do. and though there are many ways in which I could become a mountaineer, the Seven Summits has a particular allure to them. The Seven Summits are the highest mountain peaks on each of the seven continents. As always, there are a few variations of this list due to disagreement on the definition of the continents. My take has always been to opt for more, so I will present a ten mountain list below. I do not necessarily intend to summit all nine peaks, but why not aim for that goal anyway?

Historically, the Seven Summiters Club is achieved by climbing either the Reinhold Messner list (Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Puncak Jaya, Vinson) or the Richard Bass list (Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, Vinson). The discrepancy between the two being whether Indonesia should be counted with Australia. The next discrepancy is whether Mount Elbrus should be considered as part of Europe (if determined by the Greater Caucasus watershed) or part of Asia (if determined by the geological border of the Kuma-Manych Depression), the latter resulting in the addition of Mont Blanc to the summits list. The final addition is Mauna Kea in Hawaii if determining the summits based on the largest tectonic plates. Since Mauna Kea is already on my US High Points list, I thought I would add it in again. Those mountains include:

Mount Everest
Elevation: 8,848m (29,029ft)
Continent, Country: Asia, Nepal/China
Range: Mahalangur Himal sub-range, Himalaya Mountains

Elevation: 6,961m (22,838ft)
Continent, Country: South America, Argentina, Mendoza Province
Range: Andes Mountains

Denali (also titled Mt. McKinley)
Elevation: 6,194m (20,322ft)
Continent, Country: North America, United States, Alaska
Range: Alaska Range




Mount Kilimanjaro – Summited 8 February 2018
Elevation: 5,895m (19,341ft)
Continent, Country: Africa, Tanzania
Range: Eastern Rift Mountains




Mount Elbrus
Elevation: 5,642m (18,510ft)
Continent, Country: Europe, Russia
Range: Caucasus Mountains (near border with Georgia)

Mount Vinson (also Vinson Massif)
Elevation: 4,892m (16,050ft)
Continent, Country: Antarctica (West)
Range: Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains

Puncak Jaya (also titled Carstensz Pyramid)
Elevation: 4,884m (16,024ft)
Continent, Country: Australasia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Papua Province
Range: Sudirman Range

Mont Blanc
Elevation: 4,810m (15,781ft)
Continent, Country: Europe, France/Italy
Range: Graian Alps




Mauna Kea (combined with Mauna Loa) – Summited 7 September 2017
Elevation: 4,207m (13,803ft)
Continent, Country: North America, United States, Hawaii
Range: Hawaiian Islands



Mount Kosciuszko
Elevation: 2,228m (7,310ft)
Continent, Country: Australia, New South Wales
Range: Main Range, Great Dividing Range, Snowy Mountains, Australian Alps


“In the end, you won’t remember
the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn.
Climb that goddamn mountain.”
― Jack Kerouac