The Seven Summits is accomplished by climbing the highest mountain on every continent.  John Rost was able to reach the summit of all seven in 2003 and 2004 in his first attempt.  Check the photo gallery for detailed photos of expedition life on the Seven Summits.

The Highest Mountains On Each Continent are:

Continent

Mountain

Height

Australia

Kosciuszko

2228m / 7,309′

Antarctica

Vinson

4897m / 16,066′

Europe

Elbrus

5642m / 18,510′

Africa

Kilimanjaro

5895m / 19,340′

North
America

McKinley
(Denali)

6194m / 20,321′

South
America

Aconcagua

6962m / 22,841′

Asia

Everest

8850m / 29,035′

Kosciuszko

Kosciuszko is situated in the Snowy Mountains of south eastern Australia in New South Wales close to the border with Victoria. At 2228 m it is the highest mountain in Australia. It’s first recorded climb was by explorer Paul Strzelecki in 1840 who named the mountain after the famous Polish patriot Tadeusz
Kosciuszko.

Heavily glaciated during the last ice age Kosciuszko is a rounded rise on the main range of the Snowy Mountains. The mountain is most frequently climbed by following a five km long metal covered walk way from the top of the chair lift at the Thredbo ski resort.

Vinson

Vinson Massif is situated in the Ellsworth Mountains in western Antarctica 1200 kms from the South Pole. At 4897 m it is the highest mountain in Antarctica. It’s first climb was by a large government sponsored American expedition in 1966.

Due is to it’s remoteness Vinson is approached initially by cargo plane from South America to a base at Patriot Hills in Antarctica. A shorter flight by ski plane then takes climbers to the base of the mountain. The standard climbing route is a relatively non technical track traversing the Branscomb glacier and a small head wall.

Extreme weather is common with temperatures dropping as low as –40c during the summer climbing season.

Elbrus

Elbrus is situated in the Caucasus mountain range near the border of Russia and Georgia. At 5642 m it is the highest mountain in Europe. The first recorded climb to its higher western summit was by guide Akhia Sottaiev and several British and Swiss climbers in 1874.

Elbrus is a moderately sloped twin peaked dormant volcano. The higher slopes are covered by permanent snow and ice providing year round runs for the local ski resort.

The main ascent route is a moderate snow and ice walk starting at the “Barrels” at the top of the mountain’s cable car and chair lift system. It then follows a traversing path through the Pastukhova rocks to the twin peak’s saddle and then on up to the western summit.

Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is situated on the open savannah plains of East Africa near the border of Tanzania and Kenya. At 5895 m it is the highest mountain in Africa. Its first recorded ascent was by German Hans Meyer in 1889.

Kilimanjaro is a large extinct volcano formed two million years ago and it’s main summit rises 4900 m above the surrounding plain.

There are several ascent routes up the mountain which are mainly just walking trails. They progress through several climate and vegetation zones which include savannah, rainforest, moor land and alpine desert. The summit of the main peak Kibo is a high point on a massive volcanic crater rim.

McKinley

McKinley also known by its native American name Denali is situated in the Alaska range within 160 km of the Arctic circle in central Alaska. At 6194 m it is the highest mountain in North America. It was first climbed by Hudson Stuck and his team of four in 1913.

It is surrounded by massive glaciers and has been described as the world’s coldest mountain with temperatures dropping below –40c during the summer climbing season. Constant bad weather makes it one of the more challenging climbs of the seven summits.

There are several ascent routes up the mountain and they vary in technical difficulty. The most commonly taken path is the West Buttress route pioneered by Brad Washburn in 1951. It involves a long push up the Kahiltna glacier from the ski plane landing site to the West Buttress and consequent traverse up to Denali pass and on to the summit ridge.

Aconcagua

Aconcagua the highest mountain outside Asia is situated in the central Andes near the border of Argentina and Chile. At 6962 m it is the highest mountain in South America. It’s first recorded climb was by Swiss mountain guide Mathias Zurbriggen in 1897.

Described as the “ Stone Sentinel” it dominates the high desert of the Andes. High winds, blowing dust and frequent storms are typical of the mountain during its summer climbing season.

The most common ascent routes are non technical climbs up loose scree slopes from the Vacas and Horcones valleys.

The Vacas/Relinchos valley route involves a 40km walk in to the base camp at Plaza Argentina. The path then follows a traverse up the steep scree slopes past the foot of the Polish glacier joining the standard route high on the north western side of the mountain. From there another traverse and an ascent of the “Canaletta” leads to the summit.

Everest

Everest the highest mountain in the world is situated in the Himalayan mountain range on the border of Nepal and Tibet. At 8850 m it is the highest mountain in Asia. It was first climbed by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who were members of John Hunt’s 1953 British expedition.

It is the toughest of the seven summits to climb due to its extreme altitude and the consequent lack of oxygen on the upper mountain. Most climbers use supplementary oxygen to help them get to the top. Exposure to the hurricane force winds of the jet stream means the climbing period is restricted to the spring and autumn seasons.

There are two main routes up the mountain, the south east ridge/south col path from Nepal and the north/north east ridge path from Tibet. The route from Nepal used by Hillary and Norgay for the first ascent involves an initial approach up the long Khumbu valley to a base camp at the foot of the Khumbu ice fall. The ice fall is a tumble of seracs and ice blocks flowing from the western cwm, an ice filled valley situated between Everest and its neighbours Lhotse and Nuptse. Climbers after negotiating the ice fall and western cwn climb the Lhotse face and then traverse across to their highest camp at the south col. From there the route takes them up the triangular face to the south east ridge and then onto the summit.