The highest peaks on each of the seven continents - collectively nicknamed "The Seven Summits" - began to gain attention as a climbing objective in the late 1980's after the publication of the book of the same name by Dick Bass and Frank Wells. By 1999, 60 climbers worldwide had completed the Seven Summits; the number is now in the hundreds. AAI is proud to offer expeditions to all seven of these famous mountains, together with the most comprehensive and effective training course available anywhere in the world to launch your climbing project ...
The Seven Summits
Climb the Highest Peaks on the Seven Continents
Ascents of the Seven Summits as a climbing goal gained attention in the late 1980's. Pat Morrow, a Canadian mountaineer, became the first to climb all seven in 1985, and that achievement was soon followed by success by mid-50-year-olds Dick Bass and Frank Wells. Their publication of a book in 1988 gained great media attention.
Previously, several climbers had sought and succeeded on five or six of the seven peaks, and in fact by 1978, Reinhold Messner (one of the most influencial mountaineers in history and an architect of the Seven Summits idea) succeded on six of the seven. Messner had actually climbed what he believed then to be the Seven Summits, because there was some debate about whether Australia should be considered a continent in itself, or whether the entire Australasian tectonic plate, which includes the island of New Guinea, should be considered the seventh continent. It is Carstenz Pyramid – also known as Puncak Jaya – a 16,023-foot rock tower in Papua New Guinea, that is now officially considered the seventh summit, soaring far higher than mainland Australia's highest peak, Kosciuszko (7,310 feet). Some still claim that there are Eight Summits (including Kosciuszko) or even the Nine Summits (including Mont Blanc, highest in Western Europe).
By 1999, 60 climbers worldwide had completed the Seven Summits. With the start of the 21st century, the numbers of climbers interested in attaining this goal rocketed up, and over the last 10 years the Seven Summits have received a lot of press and are now well known as a popular climbing objective.
The Seven Summits are:
Strategy and Logical Progression
Here is a logical order for climbing these mountains, based on their difficulty:
- Seven Summits Training Course, Phase 1
- Mt. Elbrus
- Seven Summits Training Course, Phase 2
- Mt. Vinson
- Seven Summits Training Course, Phase 3
- Carstenz Pyramid
Though a few people have tried to complete their ascents of all seven summits in a year or two, most take longer because each peak requires progressively more skill and experience. While some climbers do in fact start with Kilimanjaro and move through the list to Everest without doing much other climbing along the way, this is definitely not the safest method nor the approach most likely to bring success.
For example, there are quite a few skills needed to climb Denali - such as a solid level of snow and ice climbing ability and intimate knowledge of glacier travel procedures - and these skills aren't necessarily picked up on any of the easier Seven Summits. Climbers planning to tackle Denali will usually need our Seven Summits Training Course, Parts 1 and 2, or equivalent Denali Prep programs either in the Cascades or in Alaska.
Another example is Carstenz Pyramid, which requires the ability to climb up to 5.8 (following) at high altitude (16,000 feet). Climbers with no previous experience on multi-pitch rock will need our Seven Summits Training Course, Part 3, or an equivalent program to acquire the requisite skill base. Many climbers choose to extend this preparation by tackling a major alpine rock climb, such as Mt. Stuart, North Ridge, in the Cascades, or Mt. Whitney, East Buttress in the Sierra Nevada. Any number of outstanding climbs in the Alps, such as the Matterhorn or the Eiger, also make for outstanding preparation.
Give us a call at 360-671-1505 any time to discuss your personalized strategy for training for and attaining the Seven Summits. You can also drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climbing the Seven Summits - even with top guides - requires a wide array of mountaineering skills and knowledge. AAI's Seven Summits training course is based on a phased approach that prepares you for the upcoming climbs in your progression. In addition to giving you a
solid grasp of all the fundamental tools and techniques of the mountaineer, the course provides intensive preparation for cold, altitude, and expedition conditions.
- Location:North Cascades, WA
- Season:September - May
- Cost:Phase 1: $1725; Phase 2: $1925; Phase 3: $1725
Kilimanjaro is among the most diverse and rewarding of the world's great climbs. Join us for a journey to the roof of Africa and along the way gain insight into local cultures and enjoy superb wildlife viewing.
- Location:Tanzania, East Africa
- Season:June - February
- Length:10 Days
- Cost:starting at $5000
Crowning the great geographic and cultural divide between Europe and Asia, 18,510-foot Mt. Elbrus is one of the world's coveted "Seven Summits." The mountain is heavily glaciated, but its slopes are of moderate angle, making it a suitable climb for those with basic alpine skills and an interest in high altitude climbing. Added attractions on this expedition are the visit to Moscow and cultural experiences in the Caucasus.
- Location:Caucasus Range, Russia
- Season:July - August
- Length:12 or 14 days
Standing at a height of 22,842 feet (6962 meters), Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas and the second highest of the Seven Summits. AAI offers both non-technical and technical climbing routes to the summit that avoid the most heavily used camps, preserving some of the wilderness experience of this massive peak.
- Location:Argentine Andes
- Season:December - February
- Length:22 days
- Cost:$4700 (starting)
We've been climbing Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) since 1980 and have an outstanding record of safety and summit success. This guided expedition to climb the West Buttress, following an ingenious and beautiful route pioneered by Bradford Washburn in 1951, is one of the great mountaineering experiences accessible to amateurs.
- Location:Alaska Range
- Season:May - July
- Length:21 days
- Cost:2017 - $8,500, 2018 - TBA
The ascent of Mt. Vinson, also known as Vinson Massif, is not a technical one, and its altitude challenge, at 16,067 ft (4,892 m), is moderate. But because of the peak's location in Antarctica's Ellsworth Mountains, the coldest and most remote range in the world, it can be a very challenging and rewarding climb.
- Location:Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica
- Season:November - January
- Length:16 days
Our principal goal on this expedition is to ascend 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid – also known as Puncak Jaya – the highest peak in Indonesia and on the Australasian continental plate. Our secondary goal is to experience the rich cultural and natural environment of Papua New Guinea.
- Location:Papua New Guinea
- Season:November - March, August
- Length:15 days (fly in / walk out)
- Cost:$29,900 (helicopter supported)
The joint American Alpine Institute /AC Everest climb benefits from the combined experience of two of the world's leading pioneers in high-altitude guiding. The Institute brings the most extensive high altitude guiding record in the world to the guided expeditions with the highest success rate on Mt. Everest.
- Location:Khumbu Himalaya, Nepal
- Season:April - June
- Length:8-9 weeks