The Seven Summits – Highest Mountain on Each Continent

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each continent.

Climbing the Seven Summits, the highest peaks of each of the world’s continents, is among the most respected accomplishments of any sport. The peaks that comprise the seven summits depends on who you ask. The list varies depending on the different ways of considering territorial divisions.

The two most popular lists were differ in their regard of the highest peak of Oceania. One has Mount Kosciuszko as the tallest summit in Australia, while the other has Carstensz Pyramid.

As of 2023, about 370 people have climbed the Sevent Summits (either list).

The Seven Summits

  • Mount Everest (29,035 feet / 8,850 m) in Asia.
  • Aconcagua (22,829 feet / 6,962 m) in South America.
  • Denali (20,320 feet / 6,190 m) in North America.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet / 5,895 m) in Africa.
  • Mount Elbrus (18,510 feet / 5,642 m) in Europe.
  • Mount Carstensz (16,023 feet / 4,884 m) or alternatively Mount Kosciuszko (7,310 feet / 2,228 m) in Oceania.
  • Mount Vinson (16,067 feet / 4,892 m) in Antarctica.

Asia: Mount Everest

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in Asia and the world. It lies in the Great Himalayas of southern Asia on the border between Nepal and the Tibet. Reaching an elevation of 29,035 feet (8,850 meters), it was first recognized as the highest point on the Earth’s surface by the governmental Survey of India in 1852. Major expeditions up Everest began in the 1920s, but it was not until 1953 that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached its summit.

South America: Mount Aconcagua

Mount Aconcagua is the highest point in both South America and the Western Hemisphere. It is located on the Chilean border in west-central Argentina. Mount Aconcagua has two summits—north and south—connected by a ridge. The southern summit has been measured at 22,736 feet (6,930 meters). The higher northern summit, standing at 22,831 feet (6,959 meters), was first reached in 1897 by Swiss climber Matthias Zurbriggen.

North America: Denali

Denali (also known as Mount McKinley) is the highest peak in North America. It is located in the Alaska Range in south-central Alaska. The mountain is 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) tall. In 1910 two prospectors were the first climbers to conquer the North Peak. Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens led a party to the South Peak, the true summit, on June 7, 1913. Nowadays, hundreds of climbers attempt to reach the summit each year.

Africa: Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa. It is located in northeastern Tanzania, near the Kenyan border. The mountain is made of three volcanoes. The youngest and highest cone, Kibo, rises to 19,340 feet (5,895 meters). When analyzing its topography, Mount Kilimanjaro is the fourth most prominent mountain in the world.

The first person to reach the summit was German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, established in 1973 to protect the mountain, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Europe: Mount Elbrus

The highest peak of the Caucasus and the highest point in Europe is Mount Elbrus in southwestern Russia. Formed more than 2.5 million years ago, this extinct volcano has twin cones that extend to elevations of 18,510 feet (5,642 meters) and 18,356 feet (5,595 meters). The taller cone was first ascended in 1874 by a British expedition led by Swiss guide Peter Knubel. 

Antarctica: Vinson Massif

Discovered in 1935 by American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, the Vinson Massif is the highest mountain in Antarctica. Located in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains in the western part of the continent, the peak overlooks the Ronne Ice Shelf. It rises to an elevation of 16,050 feet (4,892 meters) above sea level. Vinson is named for Carl Vinson, a U.S. congressman who championed exploration of Antarctica. Its summit was first reached in 1966 by an American expedition that was supported by the American Alpine Club and the National Science Foundation.

Australia/Oceania: Mount Carstensz

Mount Carstensz, also known as Jaya Peak, is the highest mountain in Oceania. It is located in the Sudirman Range of the west-central highlands on the island of New Guinea. Rising to an elevation of 16,024 feet (4,884 metres), it is the world’s highest island peak. The summit was first reached in 1962 by an expedition led by Austrian explorer and writer Heinrich Harrer, author of Seven Years in Tibet (1953).

Australia: Mount Kosciuszko

Mount Kosciuszko is the highest peak in Australia. It is located in the Snowy Mountains of the Australian Alps in southeastern New South Wales. The peak is 7,310 feet (2,228 meters) tall. Polish explorer and geologist Paul Strzelecki was the first European to climb Mount Kosciuszko in 1840. He named the mountain after a Polish patriot and hero of the American Revolution Tadeusz Kościuszko.