The Seven Summits
What are the Seven Summits? And where am I in my quest to reach this goal?
It was Frank Wells, CEO of Disney and Dick Bass (who I met prior to his passing), owner of Snowbird and a Texas Oilman who had the dream to create this "mystical" challenge. It was as straightforward as it was difficult to climb the highest mountains on each of the world's seven continents. No one had ever scaled all Seven Summits, and it would be a first, a feat that had eluded the world's best mountaineers.
Now, I am attempting to become the first NFL player to climb these same seven mountains. I have summited 4 of the 7 summits to date and will be attempting my 5th in May 2017 on Denali, which is the highest peak in North America.
Below are the mountains with short descriptions in the order I have summited, and what lies ahead for me.
Mt. Kilimanjaro | Elevation: 19,340 ft
The tallest mountain in Africa is Mt. Kilimanjaro, topping out at 19,340 ft (5,895m). Located in the country of Tanzania, this mountain is special because you travel through 5 different climatic zones beginning in the jungle and ending on a glacier atop an inactive volcano.
Completed: 2013, 2017
Mt. Elbus | Elevation: 18,510 ft
The tallest mountain in Europe is Mt. Elbrus, at 18,510 ft (5,642m). Located in the Caucasus Mountains on the border of Georgia and Russia, this mountain is essentially climbed in one big push from basecamp.
Completed: 2013, 2017
Mt. Kosciusko | Elevation: 7,310 ft
Mt. “Kozzie” is the tallest mountain in Australia, with an elevation of 7,310 ft (2,228m). Located in New South Wales, this is the easiest of the Seven Summits as it is a simple walk to the summit and back.
Aconcagua | Elevation: 22,841 ft
The highest mountain in South America is Aconcagua, standing tall at 22,841 ft (6,962m). Perched in the Andes Mountain Range between Chile and Argentina, this mountain tends to be underestimated for its difficulty and grueling ascent. Aconcagua is also the tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalaya Mountain Range.
Denali | Elevation: 20,320 ft
Also known as Mt. McKinley, Denali is the tallest mountain in North America, rising 20,320 ft (6,194m) above sea level. Some mountaineers believe Denali is more challenging than climbing Mt. Everest because it towers almost 18,000 ft about the surrounding tundra, giving it more vertical rise than Mt. Everest.
Mt Vinson | Elevation: 16,066 ft
Mount Vinson Massif: The highest mountain on the continent of Antarctica is Mt Vinson Massif, peaking at 16,066 ft (4,897m). It’s no surprise this mountain is known as the coldest of the Seven Summits due to its location and harsh, dry environment.
Mt Everest | Elevation: 29,035 ft
The tallest mountain in Asia, and the world, is Mt. Everest, standing at an astounding 29,035 ft (8,850m). Mt. Everest is over 60 million years old and was formed from the Indian tectonic plate pushing up and against the Asian plate. Lying on the border of China and Nepal, there are multiple routes to the summit.