The Seven Summits has become part of the adventure lexicon, shorthand for the highest mountain on each continent.
The most commonly accepted list is:
Mount Everest, Asia, 8,849m
Aconcagua, South America, 6,961m
Denali, North America, 6,194m
Kilimanjaro, Africa, 5,895m
Mount Elbrus, Europe, 5,642m
Mount Vinson, Antarctica, 4,892m
Puncak Jaya/Carstensz Pyramid, Oceania, 4,884m
Mountaineers have sought to climb the highest peak on each continent since at least 1956 when American William Hackett completed five of the seven. However, he climbed Mont Blanc rather than Mount Elbrus and Mount Kosciuszko rather than Puncak Jaya, as these were considered the highest peaks in Europe and Oceania respectively at the time.
The 45-minute documentary is narrated by Irish actor Liam Neeson and was filmed entirely in IMAX. It includes a description of the training required in order to climb the 29,029 feet to the summit of Mount Everest and the challenges faced during the ascent, such as avalanches, blizzards, and oxygen deprivation. The film centers on a team led by Ed Viesturs and Everest director David Breashears; among their number are Spanish climber Araceli Segarra, and Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of the pioneering Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.
Everest was in production at the mountain during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which another group of climbers became trapped by a blizzard near the summit. The film includes footage of these events, as the IMAX team assist Beck Weathers and other survivors.
First released in 1998, Everest became the highest grossing giant screen documentary of all time. It is being re-released in IMAX theatres in 2021. If you have the opportunity, go see it on the big screen. In the meantime, you can view it below »
The air smelled like hot dust and cool pine trees. For a time, the canyon was soundless, except for the click-clacking of our carabiners. Unthinkably far below lay the silvery ribbon of Kolob Creek, a tributary of the Virgin River, which carved the mighty main canyon of Zion.
We paused, halfway or so along our route, to take in one of the hanging gardens, where an overhang of “weeping rock” creates a microclimate—a bright green, mossy efflorescence tucked into the side of the canyon. The occasional tree gave me pause, too: some little specimen asserting itself from the side of the rock face, flourishing against all odds.
Our route ended in a 100-foot vertical ascent that, in a mild fit of masochism, I resolved to climb without stopping. Breathless and triumphant at the top, I then followed Wright out to a terrifying overhang of rock where he encouraged me to lean back and let go.
In December of 2020, China and Nepal made a joint announcement about a new measurement for Mount Everest: 8,849 meters. This is just the latest of several different surveys of Everest since the first measurement was taken in 1855. The reasons why the height has fluctuated have to do with surveying methodology, challenges in determining sea level, and the people who have historically been able to measure Everest.
While Everest is the peak’s English name, the Nepalese have long called it Sagarmatha, and Tibetans call it Chomolungma – “Mother Goddess of the World.”
While there’s some debate as to whether Georgia resides in Europe or Asia, we simply had to include this small settlement. A collection of tiny villages located at the foot of Shkhara mountain (5,193m), Ushguli sits at 2,100m above sea level and is therefore one of the highest inhabited settlements on the continent, but it’s also one of the most remote. »
Although Hoy is the second largest island in the Orkney archipelago, a small clutch of islands off the coast of Scotland, it’s still tiny by most standards. Despite covering just 55 square miles and housing around 400 people, this diminutive island draws intrepid travellers to its shores with the lure of adventure at the edge of the UK. »
Tucked away in the far north-eastern corner of Norway, the small town of Kirkenes lies at the very edge of mainland Europe. Just a few miles from Norway’s only land border with Russia, and 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the area is transformed into an icy wilderness during winter. And it’s this time of year that is best to visit, when travellers can observe two unique natural phenomenon. »
Standing all alone in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands are undoubtedly one of the most remote places in Europe. Made up of 18 major islands and countless smaller ones, the Faroes’ closest neighbours are Scotland and Iceland, both located over 200 miles from its shores. »
With his ascent of Unicorn (2557m) on February 21st, Don French has ticked off the last peak of the 100 Peaks Challenge, becoming the first person to complete the list and succeed in a challenge 30 years in the making.
The original list of 100 peaks was conceived by Ross Cullen, then president of the club, as part of the NZAC centennial celebrations in 1991. After consulting with prominent climbers of the day, the list was put forward as a challenge and way of encouraging climbers to get out and attempt some summits off the beaten track. The list was designed to address the aspirations of climbers at all levels and genres. Hence there were relatively easy peaks, very hard and steep peaks, and a number of very remote peaks included.
The excellent Mark Horrell looks at recent scientific research on success and death rates on the world’s highest mountain »
Once a year (except this year, obviously), there is an Everest feeding frenzy as traditional and social media sink their teeth into the latest Everest season, producing an avalanche of opinion about how overcrowded and easy Everest is to climb these days.
Barring a few lone voices, such as the excellent Alan Arnette whose annual Everest coverage has become the unrivalled source of contemporary Everest history and commentary, rarely does anyone delve into the data to try to connect opinion with reality.
Which is why I was very excited to see a paper entitled Mountaineers on Mount Everest: Effects of age, sex, experience, and crowding on rates of success and death published on the open-access scientific journal PLOS ONE last week. …
Here are some of the things we now understand better »
Summit success is becoming more likely
Women are more likely to summit and less likely to die
Alastair Humphreys and filmmaker Tem set off from the city to summit Suilven, a remote mountain in the Scottish Highlands, with the aid of Brompton’s Explore Edition, small folding bicycles, and inflatable canoes.