There are two conflicting lists of what are considered the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, known as the Seven Summits. Climber Dick Bass has compiled his Bass List shown below which includes Mount Kosciuszko as Australia’s highest mountain peak. The second list, called the Messner List, compiled by Reinhold Messner, substitutes Mount Kosciuszko with the Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania, specifically in New Guinea, off the shores of Australia, in what some call Australasia. The rationale is that Mount Kosciuszko is not a challenge for climbers. The list of the Seven Summits follows.
Mount Everest in the Himalayas in Asia, at 29,035 feet high, is the highest mountain in the world. The first ascent to Mount Everest was made by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. It was named after George Everest, the British surveyor-general of India who was the first person to record the height and location of Mt. Everest.
The second highest mountain in the world is the Aconcagua situated in Argentina, South America near the Argentinean/Chilean border, in the Andes Mountain range. Aconcagua is recorded at 22,841 feet. The extreme cold, stormy winds and altitude make this mountain a serious undertaking.
Mount McKinley in Denali National Park in Alaska is the highest mountain in North America, at 20,320 feet. It is often used by climbers as a training ground for climbing Mt. Everest. An effort has been under way to change the name of Mount McKinley back to its original name, Denali.
Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet is the next highest mountain and is located in Tanzania, Africa. Kilimanjaro is thought to be a Swahili name. It is considered to be the most walkable mountain in the world. Its snow-covered peaks are often depicted in magazines and films. Mt. Kilimanjaro is scaled by climbers who choose only one summit to conquer.
Mount Elbrus, in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia is the highest peak in Europe at 18,510 feet, and is the fifth highest of the Seven Summits. Though Elbrus is the highest summit in Europe, it is one of the technically easiest of the higher peaks on the continent. Mont Blanc, on the border of France and Italy and within the actual confines of Europe, at 15,781 feet is not listed on either the Bass or the Messner List.
Vinson Massif, at 16,050 feet is the highest point on the continent of Antarctica. It was named after Congressman Carl Vinson who supported funding for Antarctic research. It was discovered in 1957 when it was sighted by a U.S. Navy aircraft. Vinson Massif is a massive mountain, stretching 13 miles long and 8 miles wide.
Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the mainland of Australia, rising to 7,310 feet above sea level. It is located in the Snowy Mountains of what is called Kosciuszko National Park. It is considered a relatively easy mountain to climb. The Messner List substitutes the Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania as Australia’s highest mountain, although it is not on the Australian mainland. Carstensz Pyramid rises 16,024 feet above sea level.
Approximately 300 climbers have scaled the Seven Summits, while 100 of these have included the eight peak from the Messner List, the challenging Carstensz Pyramid.