I thought I was adventurous until I learned about the Seven Summits. Did you know that some folks dream of climbing to the top of the highest mountains in the world—Seven Summits? No thanks! I tried to find out how many have actually accomplished this incredible feat and the number depends on which mountains you are talking about as there is some dispute as to whether Carstensz or Kosciuszko should be #7.
Regardless, it seems to be no more than 100 people who have done this, although some accounts place it closer to 300. So you can tell this is an elite club.
Remarkably, many of the folks who have completed the Seven Summits are inexperienced climbers. They paid large sums of money (see below) to the best climbing guides to make it happen. Some say that guides did all the heavy lifting, meaning they all but carried their clients up the mountain. Still, you would have to be in top physical condition to even consider tackling the Seven Summits.
29029ft/ 8848meters Nepal/Tibet(Takes 6 weeks to complete plus time to reach base camp. There are two routes: South Col Route in Nepal and North Ride in Tibet). Avg: $65,000.
22840 6962 Argentina, South America (Takes 8-10 days to complete. Wind and altitude are the biggest challenges). Avg: $4,000.
Denali (Mount McKinley)
20320 6195 Alaska, North America (Takes several weeks to complete. It is the toughest climb, second only to Everest. It is notorious for bad weather. Climbing is only possible mid-June to mid-July). Avg: $5,000.
19339 5963 Tanzania, Africa (Takes 6-10 days to complete). Avg: $3,000.
18481 5633 Russia, Europe (Takes a few days to complete due to acclimatization. Not considered to be too challenging except for altitude and weather). Avg: $4,000.
16067 4897 Ellsworth Range, Antarctica (Takes 2-3 weeks to complete including travel time to base camp). Avg: $32,000.
16023 4884 Indonesia’s (t/m) is Oceania’s highest mountain. (Takes several weeks to complete. Interestingly, it is considered more challenging than Everest. It is a five day trek just to reach base camp. It is very remote and requires much skill with ropes). Average: $20,000.
7310 2228 Australia (Takes only one day to complete and is considered the easiest climb of Seven Summits). Avg: $3,000.
As previously mentioned, there is some dispute as to whether #7 should be Carstensz or Kosciuszko. What is not in dispute is that climbing all Seven Summits is considered to be one of the greatest outdoor adventure feats. Period. No one had even attempted it before 1985. The first woman didn’t succeed until 1992.
I have to wonder who has that kind of time and money. It takes months to check off all seven mountains (not counting training time) and if you add up the cost we’re talking roughly $130,000—and this doesn’t include international airfare, gear, and training. Climbing requires lots of gear, such as crampons, ice axe, hiking boots, ascenders, and outer wear. Airfare is costly given the locations of these mountains and training costs can run $10,000 minimum. So now the price tag is closer to $200,000. This doesn’t include failed attempts. Some have climbed Everest three times before reaching the top.
I’ve never known anyone who has even considered such an adventurous feat. Have you? What are your thoughts? Does this sound like a significant accomplishment or just downright crazy?