The Seven Summits are composed of each of the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents. Different lists include slight variations, but generally the same core is maintained. The seven summits depend on the definition used for a continent – in particular the location of the border of that continent. This results in two points of variation: the first is Mont Blanc versus Mount Elbrus for the continent of Europe; and the second depends on whether one includes all of Oceania or only mainland Australia as the continent, which results in either Puncak Jaya (also known as “Carstensz Pyramid”) or Mount Kosciuszko, respectively. This also gives rise to another list called “Eight Summits” including both Puncak Jaya and Mount Kosciuszko and the rest of the six summits in the other continents.
This creates several possible versions of the seven summits:
Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Elbrus, Puncak Jaya – Carstensz Pyramid (the Messner version)
Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Elbrus, Kosciuszko (the Bass version)
Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Mont Blanc, Kosciuszko (the 1950s explorer Hackett version)
Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Mont Blanc, Puncak Jaya
Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Mont Blanc, Mount Wilhelm (Wilhelm version)
The concept Richard Bass and his climbing partner Frank Wells were pursuing was to be the first to stand atop the highest mountain on each continent. They pursued this goal as they defined it, climbing Aconcagua for South America, McKinley (now Denali) for North America, Kilimanjaro for Africa, Elbrus for Europe, Vinson for Antarctica, Kosciuszko for Australia, and finally Everest for Asia.
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