I have always been fascinated by mountain climbing. I think I've gotten this passion from my brother who used to take me hiking with him from a young age. The dream of every mountain climber is to always reach the highest peak. This is the idea that sparked my interest to write about the biggest mountain peak of each continent. There have been many people who have managed to achieve this amazing objective namely to reach all of the seven summits. In 2012 the number has reached 118 people. There are still some controversies especially regarding which is the highest peak of the Australian continent. This spawns from the fact that even though the highest peak in mainland Australia is Kosciuszko, the biggest peak in all of Oceania is actually found in Indonesia and it's called Carstensz Pyramid. Many people who set out to climb all the highest peaks of each continent usually climb all eight peaks just to make sure. Another point of view on the subject, belonging to Jon Krakauer, is that it would be much harder to reach the second largest peak of each continent. This is a direct result of the fact that K-2, the second largest peak in both Asia and the world, is much harder to reach than Everest itself. But now let's get back to the seven summits and find out something about them:
1. Everest. Mount Everest is situated in the Himalayan Mountain range on the border of Nepal and China and is the highest peak on earth measuring 8848 meters. Its name was given at the suggestion Andrew Waugh, who was at the time the British Surveyor General of India. Everest was the name of the man who preceded Waugh in this post. An interesting fun fact is that on his first measurements, Waugh calculated that Mount Everest is exactly 29000 feet tall. He was astonished to find that it was such a perfect number, and considering that no one would believe this coincidence, he added two more feet. So now Mount Everest is officially 29002 feet tall.
2. Elbrus. Although many people consider that Mont Blanc is the highest point in Europe, the biggest mountain peak of the continent is actually situated in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia, and is called Elbrus. Mont Blanc is indeed the highest peak in Western Europe, but if you are to define the border between Asia and Europe rigorously you will find that Elbrus is on the European side. It is a dormant volcano that measures 5642 meters. Scientists consider that the last time this volcano erupted was between 0 and 100 AD.
3. Aconcagua. Aconcagua is the biggest mountain peak in the Americas. It is situated in South America, in Argentina. It is part of the Andes mountain range and it measures 6960. The summit is situated only 15 km from the border with Chile. Aconcagua is the highest point in both the southern and Western hemisphere. It is considered to be a non-technical summit, and thus relatively easy to climb. The youngest person to reach the summit was 10 years old while the oldest was 87.
4. McKinley. Mount McKinley is the highest point in North America and is situated in Alaska. It measures 6194 meters and it holds the record for being the highest mountain if measured from base to peak. It is one of the most difficult mountains to climb, one of the reasons being that it is extremely cold. Temperatures can reach -60 degrees Celsius and wind chills have been recorded close to -85 degrees Celsius.
5. Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro is the biggest mountain peak of Africa. It is situated in Tanzania and it measures 5895 meters. It is extremely impressive due to the fact that it is not part of any mountain range and thus it is actually the highest free standing mountain in the world.
6. Vinson Massif. The Vinson Massif is the highest mountain range in Antarctica. In 2001 an expedition was formed to take GPS measurements in order to establish the height of the tallest summit of this mountain. Mount Vinson, the highest point was thus established to be at 4,892 meters.
7. Kosciuszko. As I have mentioned at the beginning of the article, there is some debate about which is the biggest mountain peak of the continent of Australia. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest peak on the mainland and it measures 2228 meters. It is part of the Snowy Mountains range.
So, if you are passionate about mountain climbing you might try to tackle some of the biggest mountain peaks in each continent. For me I think Australia and maybe Africa seem to be pretty safe choices for now. Later, who knows?