THE SEVEN SUM­MITS

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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.

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