The Seven Summits

I get asked a lot about the seven summits and whether I will attempt to climb them all. The seven summits are the highest peaks on all seven continents and completing them all has been accomplished by just a select few hundred people. The seven summits are: Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa); Mt. Everest (Asia); Mt. Elbrus (Europe); Mt. Denali (North America); Mt. Aconcagua (South America); Mt. Vinson (Antarctica); Mt. Kosciuszko (Australia)-however Carstensz Pyramid located in Indonesia is sometimes used instead of Kosciuszko because some people consider Australia to be a part of Oceana and the Indonesian Archipelago would fit that as well-plus Carstensz Pyramid is higher. Any way you slice it, this is a very, very difficult and expensive task to accomplish.

Climbing and successfully summiting a seven summit peak is quite a feat and possibly the most empowering thing I have ever done. It requires strength, patience, endurance, time, determination, the ability to put up with extreme cold and pain, and money. All of these factors goes into a summit attempt and none can really be understated.

Some of the seven summits are easier to accomplish than others and some take more time than others. Some are technical in nature and require advanced training and some are located in some of the most extreme environments on Earth. Two of the summits, Everest and Vinson require large amounts of cash and time. If you want to summit Mt. Everest-the highest peak on Earth you will need to commit at least 3 months for training, acclimitization and the actual climb. In addition the costs are incredibly high with minimum trips being at least $30,000 but in actuality they will cost a lot more because of the ancillary costs involved including gear, training, transport, accomodation, food, etc. Mt. Vinson requires at least $30,000 for a basic trip not including the same several factors as well plus some outfits make you put down as much as $200,000 down as a security deposit in case you need to be flown off the continent back to South America for medical treatment, etc. Basically, it can be pretty expensive.

Ever since I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, I have been debating doing more of the summits. That feeling when we accomplished the summit is undescribable and is something I think about every single day and would love to experience again. Certain summits are more appealing to me than others but all are attainable if you are willing to put in the time, money and all the other factors. Most people who attempt summit feats obtain corporate sponsorship to minimize the costs to the individual and sometime join teams in addition to just regular mountain guides.

It’s funny because when my friend Jake and I made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro, we said that it was our Everest and we were done but as a year has passed since we did it, I find myself yearning to do more and have that feeling again. It kind of gets in your blood.

Traveling is my favorite thing to do but not just traveling just to travel but traveling to accomplish something. Whatever your reasons or goals for your own travel just remember that feeling of empowerment when you’ve accomplished something great. We all have our own goals and thresholds and whether your goal is to visit Paris or if its to climb Everest-get out there and do it because once you’ve accomplished that goal, you’ll feel uplifted and then you’ll want more.

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  1. How much did it cost to do Kilimanjaro?

  2. It depends on the tour outfit and the type of gear you use for your climb but will be anywhere from $2000-$5000 in total, then you factor in flights to Africa, etc. We used Donovan at Bootsnall to plan our trip.

  3. …and with this Everest reality show on Discovery Channel now, I think more and more about another climb

  4. As I am sure you are aware, Denali and Everest are light years from Kili in
    terms of danger and technical difficulty.

    While not technical, Aconcagua is still another
    4000 ft Asl with more unpredictable weather.

    You should do Mt Rainer, Mt. Hood, etc. before trying
    Denali, and another 8000m peak before Everest.

    Also, you need to be in the best shape of your life to do these.
    Alan Arnette has a great website describing these climbs, along with his own summit attempts.

    I wish you luck!

    Even Aconcagua is another 4000 ft

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