7 Summits Comparisons


I climbed 7 of the 8 "7" Summits in 11 months in 2011. So why 8? Read the answer here. This page provides a quick comparison that may be helpful for climbers with experience on one and considering another. Also see my comparison of some of the worlds most popular mountains also an excellent interview of my 7 Summits climb
Kosciuszko
(7,310')
Carstensz Pyramid
(16,023')
Vinson
(16,067)
Elbrus
(18,513')
Kilimanjaro
(19,340')
Denali
(20,320)
Aconcagua
(22,902')
Everest
(29,035')
Time in nearest large city
Cannabera
Port Moresby
Punta Arenas
Mineralniy Vody
Moshi
Anchorage
Mendoza
Katmandu
Route commented on and date climbed
Kosciuszko Track from Thredbo
October 2011
North Face
October 2011
West Face, Branscomb Glacier
December 2010
North side,
West Summit Mikelchiran Glacier
August 2011
Machame
September 2011
West Buttress
July 2011
Polish Traverse
January 2011
Southeast Ridge
April 2011
Headline
The "original" 7th Summit by Dick Bass but too easy for Morrow/Messner thus Carstensz. Most technical of the 7 and just getting there is the challenge. The most remote of the 7 Summits - pristine and perfect with endless ice Climbing from the north is more a cultural experience than climbing. Harder than southside. The roof of Africa with a sense of urgency for the receding glaciers Some of the best views and worst weather of the 7 Often underestimated by the 70% who don't summit the highest peak outside the Himalaya The top of the world and deserving of every accolade over the century
Approach to base Camp (BC)
drive to trailhead, ski lift to 5,000' Jungle trek for 5 days or helicopter plane from Union Glacier long, rough 5 hour drive on 4WD roads 2 hours drive to trailhead plane from Talkeetna to Kahiltna Glacier Easy, 3 day trek to BC Easy, 7 day trek to BC in Khumbu
Overall Difficulty
Easy - A walk-up on dirt trails but can be a challenge in cold wintry weather with trail finding in whiteouts. Technical with rock climbing, altitude can be issue for some. Moderate - no "climbing" required other than headwall, heavy loads up and down high up requires excellent fitness Moderate - no "climbing" required. Carrying personal loads to High Camp requires good fitness Easy - mostly on well worn trails but altitude can be difficult Moderate - no "climbing" required other than headwall, heavy loads up and down high up requires excellent fitness Moderate - no "climbing" involved, altitude can bother some who go too fast. Very hard - altitude above 25000' wears on you, 8 weeks away.
Technical Difficulty (ice or rock climbing, need for axes, harnesses, slings, protection, etc)
None. nothing special required Moderate - rock climbing, rappelling and a Tyrolean Traverse makes it interesting Easy. Harness, crampons, roped up for crevasse and fall safety. Pull sleds with gear. Easy. Harness, crampons, roped up for crevasse and fall safety None. nothing special required. Maybe microspikes if summit is snow covered. Simple. Harness, crampons, roped up for crevasse and fall safety. Pull sleds with gear. Headwall can challenge some. Easy, crampons in one short section (Canaleta) on summit push moderate due to altitude in yellow band, Hillary Step. Harness, axe, crampons, roped up for crevasse and fall safety
Altitude Considerations
not an issue for most people Must acclimatize properly and watch for AMS. Must acclimatize properly and watch for AMS. Must acclimatize properly and watch for AMS. High altitude gain so must acclimatize gradually with no rush by guides and watch for AMS. Must acclimatize gradually with rest days at 14K and 17K Watch for AMS. Serious above C3. Must acclimatize gradually and not rush. Watch for AMS, HAPE and HACE Extreme. Serious, especially above C2. Use supplemental Oxygen. Must acclimatized properly and watch for AMS, HAPE, HACE
Weather (all mountains can be cold, windy and constantly change!!)
+70F day, can be windy and cold in winter with whiteouts Hot, humid and rain in the jungle, cold on the summit push +60F day, -30F night. Can be extremely wet +70F day, 0F night on summit. we had light winds +60F day, 0F night. Can be very wet +40F day, -10F night. we had no snow and light winds. Can be brutally cold!! +50F day, 0F night but winds are the issue and can be beyond cold on summit night. +90F day, -30F night above 23K. Occasional very high winds, moderate to heavy snowfall
base Camp altitude
4,528' 14,000' at Lakes Camp 7,300' on Bascomb Glacier 8,200' on Emanuil's Glade 5905' at Machame gate  7,200' at Kahiltna Glacier 13,880 Campo Argentina 17,500' on Khumbu Glacier
Camp 1 and average climb time from previous Camp
N/A   9,100' - 4 hours 12,000' - 4 hours 10,000' at Machame Hut - 6 hours 7,800' - 3 hours 16,075 - 3 hours 19,500' - 4 hours via Icefall after acclimation
Camp 2 and average climb time from previous Camp
N/A N/A 13,200' - 6 hours N/A 12,200' at Shira Hut - 5 hours 11,200' - 4 hours 17,500' (Camp 1.5) - 4 hours 21,000' - 3 hours
Camp 3 and average climb time from previous Camp
N/A N/A N/A N/A 13,000' at Barranco Hut - 6 hours. Karanga Valley 13,000' - 4 hours 14,200' - 3 hours 19,500' - 3 hours 23,500' - 5 hours
Camp 4 and average climb time from previous Camp
N/A N/A N/A N/A 15,000' at Barufu Hut - 4 hours 17,200' - 6 hours N/A 26,300' - 4 hours
Summit and average round trip climb time
7,310' - 1 hours summit round trip. 8.6 miles 16,023' - 12 hours round trip 16,067' - 12 hours summit round trip 18,513' - 12 hours summit round trip 19,340' - 9 hours summit round trip 20,320'- 9 hours summit round trip 22,842 - 10 hours summit round trip 29,035 - 18 hours summit round trip
Special gear required or suggested
WInd jacket, good hiking shoes Full technical harness, carabineers, jumar full protection for extreme cold and winds protection for high winds and cold sturdy high top hiking boots plus excellent rain pants and jacket excellent fitting pack for heavy loads excellent wind protection Full down suit or jacket/pants
Special training required or suggested
Good fitness but not over the top Excellent aerobic conditioning (running, cycling). Excellent aerobic conditioning (running, cycling). Strong stomach & back muscles for loads. Good aerobic conditioning (running, cycling). Strong stomach & back muscles for loads. Aerobic training especially for those who have never climbed above 14,000' Excellent aerobic conditioning (running, cycling). Strong stomach & back muscles for loads. Excellent aerobic conditioning (running, cycling). Outstanding aerobic conditioning (running, cycling). Strong stomach & back muscles for loads. Strong thigh and calf muscles for long days. Mental toughness
Low point of the mountain or climb
can be crowded in summer with over 100,000 people climbing it each year. The uncertainty of the logistics and the bribes required for the locals very long waits for plane to and from Union Glacier High Camp is very dirty with widespread waste cloudy, misty days that block views. Very dusty otherwise trudging up to Basin Camp at 14K with full loads and sleds. Few nice views ... yet dirt, dust and wind the entire climb! Physical and mental pressure towards end of climb. Long time away. Icefall can be risky but awesome
Unique aspect of the mountain or climb
The summit view is fantastic overlooking the Snowy Mountain Range The rock climbing is excellent. Plus the interaction with the tribes is eye opening. Antarctica is one of the most amazing places on earth with pristine and prefect views of endless ice. It is Russia! More of a cultural experience than climbing but summit day was excellent with outstanding views Seeing the disappearing snows and glaciers from the summit. Also African culture incredible views of Alaska. Flight onto Kahiltna Glacier. True snow Camping with snow walls, trapped in tent for days! High altitude with snow and easy logistics. Argentinean culture is special A true, long, expedition, fixed ropes, Lhotse Face, South Col, Summit night. A lifetime experience
Estimated Annual Climbers, % success 10,000 annual @ 80%+ summits 500 annual @ 90%+ summits 300 annual @ 95%+ summits Best guess 5000+ from south with 50% success, 1000 north @ 40% 25,000 annual @ 66%+ summits 1,200 annual @ 50% summits 5000 annual @ 30% summits 600 annual @ 80% summits
Kosciuszko
(7,310')
Carstensz Pyramid
(16,023')
Vinson
(16,067)
Elbrus
(18,513')
Kilimanjaro
(19,340')
Denali
(20,320')
Aconcagua
(22,902')
Everest
(29,035')