THE SEVEN SUMMITS
The true definition of the Seven Summits is debated by climbers, but the challenge, based on the list by US businessman Dick Bass, whose book Seven Summits caused a revolution in mountaineering, is:
1 MT KOSCIUSZKO (Australia, 2228m) More of an afternoon stroll than a mountaineering expedition, with a chairlift from Thredbo taking climbers most of the way to the top.
2 MT VINSON (Antarctica, 4892m) Just 1200km from the South Pole, Vinson was only discovered in 1958 and was first climbed in 1966. While not the most difficult climb, extreme cold and high winds make it extremely dangerous.
3 MT ELBRUS (Europe, 5642m) In the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, the dormant volcano is one of the world’s most prominent peaks – that is, it rises sharply from the surrounding plains. In 1997, a Russian mountaineer drove a Land Rover to the peak.
4 MT KILIMANJARO (Africa, 5895m) Despite being situated near the equator, Kilimanjaro boasts snow and ice year-round. It is a popular trekking route with over 10,000 people reaching the summit each year.
5 DENALI (North America, 6190m) Also known as Mt McKinley, this Alaskan giant is prone to freak storms and avalanches. It has claimed the lives of over 100 mountaineers.
6 ACONCAGUA (South America, 6961m) The Andes behemoth, located in Argentina near the Chile border, is known as the “highest non-technical mountain in the world”. But the extreme altitude and loose stones underfoot make it one of the least popular climbs.
7 EVEREST (Asia, 8848m) The world’s tallest mountain has been scaled by about 4000 people since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first submitted in 1953. But it is a killer. Even with bottled oxygen, it is at the limit of what is physically possible.