Kilimanjaro ascent

Destinations The Seven Summits of the World

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The Seven Summits - The Tallest Mountains on Each Continent

The allure of the Seven Summits captivates trekkers and climbers from around the world as they hunger to push their bodies to the limit both mentally and physically. Many embark on this journey to the top of the highest peaks on each continent to test their skills, challenge themselves and embrace the spirit of adventure.

Each summit presents its own unique set of difficulties, from extreme weather conditions to technical climbing skills. Whether you’re attempting one of the monumental Seven Summits for personal fulfilment or a charitable cause, conquering just one of the tallest mountains on each continent is a challenge and quite the claim to fame. It requires meticulous planning, rigorous training and a passion for nature.

Besides the tremendous sense of achievement you will undoubtedly feel after reaching the summit, completing one of the 7 Summits allows climbers to explore diverse landscapes, experience different cultures and witness breathtaking views from the top of the world. Read on to find out more about the elusive Seven Summits of the world and ask yourself ‘are you up to the challenge’?

What Are the Seven Summits?

The ‘Seven Summits’ are the tallest mountains on each continent and are a bucket list item for many avid trekkers from around the world. The so called 7 Summits are comprised of Everest (Asia), Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Vinson (Antarctica) and Mount Puncak Jaya (Oceania).

Each of the 7 Summits presents a different set of difficulties, some proving a challenge to even the most experienced climbers and mountaineers. The only mountain categorised as one of the world’s Seven Summits that requires no technical mountaineering skills or equipment is Kilimanjaro which is why it is a popular starting point for those who have little experience trekking at altitude.

The Seven Summits of the world are a global mountaineering quest that transcends geographical boundaries and pushes the limits of human endurance. The challenge beckons adventure enthusiasts to summit the tallest mountains on each continent but even conquering just one of these epic peaks is a respected accomplishment and rightly so!

The 7 Summits Challenge

  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • Mount Elbrus, Russia
  • Aconcagua, Argentina
  • Vinson Massif, Antarctica
  • Puncak Jaya, Indonesia
  • Denali, Alaska
  • Mount Everest, Nepal

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Kilimanjaro ascent
Continent: Africa

Elevation: 5,895m / 19,340ft

Best times to climb: June to October and December to March

There are 7 established Kilimanjaro routes and depending on which route you choose, it takes between 5-9 days to reach Kilimanjaro summit and descend to the finishing point. The longer you spend on the mountain, the more time your body has to adjust to the change in altitude, allowing you a better chance of summit success. Kandoo Adventures operate trips to Kilimanjaro on 5 of the 7 established routes. You’ll want to spend some time contemplating how long you want to spend on the mountain and the best route to climb Kilimanjaro route for you.

Factors such as how well you cope at high attitude, fitness level and mental stamina will also impact how long it takes to climb Kilimanjaro. There’s no need to go fast when climbing Kilimanjaro as our guides will set a pace that is completely manageable, and our itineraries have been carefully planned to allow plenty of time to cover the required distance each day. While you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic to climb Kilimanjaro, preparing your body beforehand and having a good level of fitness will make the time you spend on the mountain all the more enjoyable.

For more information, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Kilimanjaro.

Mount Elbrus, Russia

Continent: Europe

Elevation: 5,642m / 18,510ft

Best times to climb: July to August

Mount Elbrus is an inactive volcano in the Caucasus Mountains in southwest Russia. Elbrus is one of the Seven Summits of the world and the tallest mountain in the continent of Europe. It has two distinct summits: the western summit, which is the highest point at 5,642m (18,510ft) and the slightly lower eastern summit at 5,621m (18,442ft). The climb itself takes trekkers through rugged terrain, making it a thrilling and rewarding experience.

There are two main approaches to climb Elbrus – the South side (5-6 days) and North side (6-7 days) routes. Although Mount Elbrus is considered one of the easier of the Seven Summits, it still requires careful planning and preparation. The cold weather and altitude can make this climb pretty challenging and dangerous. Anyone looking to take on Elbrus is required to understand basic technical skills like rope travel, crampons and the use of ice axes on some steep snow slopes.

Aconcagua, Argentina

Aconcagua Summit
Continent: South America

Elevation: 6,961m / 22, 838ft

Best times to climb: December to January

Located in the north of Argentina, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalaya, forming part of the Andes. A popular choice for climbers who have previously summitted Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua is considered a ‘trekking peak’ and requires no prior expertise however, it is a significant step up and tackling this mountain should not be taken lightly. In terms of how difficult it is to climb Aconcagua, one of the 7 Summits and tallest mountains on each continent, you need to be in great physical condition as the trek can take up to 15 days or more trekking at extreme altitude.

The best time to climb Aconcagua is in the high season between December and January as this period provides the optimal and most stable weather conditions for trekking. Alternatively, mid-season from early December to mid-February offers conditions that are almost as good as high season, but the routes are much less crowded. With a short climbing season, Aconcagua only supports a small number of climbing operators. Kandoo Adventures are proud to be partnered with the best local operator that support visitors on their journey to the summit of this epic peak.

For more information, check out our Aconcagua Climbing Guide.

Vinson Massif, Antarctica

Continent: Antarctica

Elevation: 4,892m / 16,050ft

Best times to climb: December to February

Discovered in 1935 by American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, the Vinson Massif is the highest mountain in Antarctica and one of the world’s 7 summits. The mountain is named after Carl Vinson, a US congressman who championed exploration of Antarctica. It is known for its extreme cold temperatures and challenging conditions, making it a true test of endurance for climbers.

Reaching the summit of the Vinson Massif requires some technical skills and experience in navigating through icy terrain, as the route takes climbers through glaciers, and steep snow-covered slopes. Despite its challenges, the views from the summit are breathtaking with expansive views of a pristine landscape virtually untouched by humans as far as the eye can see.

Puncak Jaya, Indonesia

Continent: Oceania

Elevation: 4,884m / 16,024ft

Best times to climb: year round

Puncak Jaya, also known as Mount Carstensz or Jaya Peak, is the highest mountain in Oceania, making it one of the world’s 7 summits. Located in Indonesia, in the province of Papua, Puncak Jaya is one of the few tropical or equatorial mountains in the world with glaciers. To make the climb to the summit of Puncak Jaya, you’ll need to get a permit that’s been granted by the centralised government from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and the climb must be completed with a guide.

Despite having the lowest elevation of the world’s highest summits on each continent, Puncak Jaya is considered one of the most technically difficult of the Seven Summits. Not only is this elusive mountain situated in sheer isolation but it is a steep climb that requires the skilled use of rappelling and jumar techniques. Climbing Puncak Jaya successfully will highly depend on the weather conditions and being so close to the equator, these conditions typically change really fast.

Denali, Alaska

Continent: North America

Elevation: 6,190m / 20,310ft

Best times to climb: May to June

Located in Alaska in North America, Denali is often considered the most difficult of the Seven Summits for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, unlike many 8,000m climbs, Denali does not permit porters to carry gear for paying customers so climbers are required to carry their own backpacks and set up camps. Other difficulties include the high altitude, technicality of the mountain and extreme weather conditions the mountain experiences.

While Denali presents a challenge for even the most experienced climbers, its tremendous size and beauty generate a magnetism that continually draws climbers from around the world hoping to reach its summit each year. To successfully make the climb to Denali summit, one of the highest peaks on each continent, climbers need to undergo rigorous training and you should expect a mental test as well as a physical one.

Mount Everest, Nepal

Viewpoint at Namache Bazaar - Everest Base Camp Trek
Continent: Asia

Elevation: 8,849m / 29,035ft

Best times to climb: March to May

One of the most famous of the Seven Summits and tallest mountains on each continent, Everest is the ultimate mountaineering adventure. Climbing Everest requires a huge amount of dedication, and it is considered to be very difficult, even for experienced mountaineers. Due to its extreme altitude, unpredictable weather and treacherous terrain, only 6,664 people have ever reached the summit of Mount Everest as of December 2023. Nepal climbing regulations state that if you want to attempt the hike to the summit of Everest you must be an experienced mountaineer, have a certificate of physical fitness and have already climbed a Nepali peak of at least 6,500m.

At Kandoo Adventures, one of the most popular destinations we run trips to is Everest Base Camp. Attracting around 40,000 visitors every year, the trek to Mount Everest Base Camp is easily one of the most famous trekking trails in the world but it is by no means an easy task. The high point is an impressive 5,364m (17,598ft) and trekking to Everest Base Camp requires plenty of training and an excellent level of overall fitness as you will be hiking up to 8 hours a day for 7-8 days in a row. Our Guide to Everest Base Camp covers everything you need to know about this unforgettable trek.

If you think you’re up for the adventure of climbing one of the famous Seven Summits of the world, we’d highly recommend starting with Kilimanjaro. With over 15 years of experience, the team at Kandoo Adventures have helped more than 12,000 people reach the summit of Kilimanjaro and have a 95% success rate on every rout that we operate. Although considered the ‘easiest’ of the 7 summits, climbing Kilimanjaro is a remarkable achievement and a challenge that should not be taken lightly!