One of the things that best promotes simple living and a sustainable lifestyle is getting outside and enjoying the natural world. Being denizens of the Intermountain West, we here at Living Simply are big fans of the mountains, and therefore of mountain climbing.
In the world of mountain climbing, there is what is called the seven summits of the world. These are the highest peaks in each continent. The seven highest summits according to legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner are as follows.
Asia – Mt. Everest
8,848 meters or 29,029 feet
No peak can be more famous than Mt. Everest. It is the tallest among all the summits in the world. Located in the Himalayas in Nepal, many have attempted to reach the top of Mt. Everest since the late 1800s. Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, was first to set foot on top of the Mt. Everest.
South America – Aconcagua
6,962 meters or 22,841 feet
The next highest summit is found in South America. Named Aconcagua, it lies inside Argentina’s border just beside Chile.
North America – Mount McKinley
6,194 meters or 20,320 feet
Denali (“The Great One”) is the other name for Mount McKinley located in Alaska. Climbers are faced with not only extreme cold when climbing Denali but with a demanding rise; some 5,500 meters or 18,000 feet.
Africa – Mt. Kilimanjaro
5,895 meters or 19,341 feet
Located in Tanzania, Africa, Kilimanjaro or Mountain of Light is actually a dormant volcano. Considered the world’s highest freestanding mountain, Kilimanjaro is famous for its ice cap.
Europe – Mt. Elbrus
5,642 meters or 18,510 feet
Mt. Elbrus belongs to the Caucasus mountain range and is situated in Russia. This dormant volcano’s summit looks like a pinecone. Generally, one can climb Elbrus with only basic mountaineering skills. However, the high altitude coupled with unpredictable weather may turn a simple climb into a real challenging trip up the peak.
Antarctica – Vinson Massif
4,892 meters or 16,050 feet
At the bottom of the world you will find the Vinson Massif, named after US Congressman Carl G. Vinson. It is part of Antarctica’s Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica along the Sentinel Range. The United States Navy first spotted Vinson Massif in 1958.
Australia-New Guinea – Carstensz Pyramid
4,884 meters or 16,024 feet
Messner saw it fit to include Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia in his list instead of Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. The latter was named by Richard Bass as the highest peak in Oceania which is where Australia is located. Carstensz Pyramid is situated in Papua, an Indonesian province located in New Guinea, which is within the continental shelf of Australia. Compared to Mount Kosciuszko, Carstensz Pyramid is a much challenging climb.
If you are thinking of getting into mountain climbing, have a goal. Make conquering all seven summits your number one objective and see the world from vantage points that only a few brave souls have reached.
Climbing the world’s seven highest summits is every mountaineer’s dream.
Nothing beats hearing first-hand stories when you do people search. Learn from their experiences and perseverance.