Seven Summits Project

7 Summits – 7 highest peaks of 7 continents?

The goal of the 7 Summits project, is as you probably know, to surmount all seven highest summits of all seven continents. Surmounting all peaks in the 7 summits projects is a great challenge for many of the world?s climbers.

Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Denali – McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson Massif, Carstenz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya, Jaya Kesuma) and Mt. Kosciuszko.

The problem is that there are eight peaks listed above and there are only six continents.

The endless dispute – Does Carstensz Pyramid belong to Seven Summits?

Mismatch #1 in the Seven Summits project

Using the 7 summits taxonomy is a bit controversial because there are only 6 geographic continents on the Earth (Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Eurasia, South America and North America). Europe is, according to the geographical taxonomy only a peninsula of the Eurasia continental platform, and is not a geographical continent as such. However, it is taken as a continent from the political perspective. Should not there be then six peaks in the Seven Summits project?

Mismatch #2 in the Seven Summits project

From geographical viewpoint it could be concluded that Elbrus is only an unimportant peak of the Eurasia continental platform, or – arguably – the highest peak of the political continent Europe. On the contrary, most Europeans recognize Mont Blanc (4884 m) as the only highest peak of Europe, which lies in the Alps on the border of France and Italy. Should not there be then nine peaks in the Seven Summits project?

Why Carstensz Pyramid indisputably belongs to 7 Summits

Currently, the concept of 7 summits does not distinguish political nor geographical regions and therefore we can hypothesize that 7 summits is not complete without the Carstensz pyramid. We also support the opinion of Reinhold Messner that Kosciuszko does not belong to 7 summits for that it is no challenge for climbers, it is actually a mere short trek with zero difficulty.

There are several opinions on the question of including Carstensz pyramid (Puncak Jaya) to the project. Most opinions rely on geographical borders and the definition of continent. One of them essentially says that New Guinea is not part of the continent and is thus a separate island. In that case Mount Kosciuszko would be the highest peak. Other opinion is that New Guinea is a part of the Australasia continental mass and thus New Guinea is a part of Australia. The highest peak could be the Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya).

In historically and geologically recent era was New Guinea connected with Australia by a narrow ridge in a way that allowed to cross it dry-shod. This is the reason why kangaroos and casuars live on New Guinea and why its original inhabitants belong to the Australian type in anthropologically unanimous way – both by their look and skin color. They have, indeed, almost nothing in common with Asiatic race. Even in ethnographical museums exhibitions bear a common name „Australia and Oceania“.

Seven Summits – so is it with Carstensz Pyramid or without it?

In any case, it was a great idea of Dick Bass to invent Seven Summits, and there are many people going his track. This can be documented e.g. by the fact that about 300 hundred climbers finished Seven Summits and some 100 of them including the Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) as of 5 FEB 2008.

In spite of all the disputes whether to follow the idea of the founder of the project and the fact that there are two lists (Messner's and Bass?), the Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) has become an inseparable part of 7Summits. Most experienced climbers when asked will confirm this opinion. 7Summits is not complete without the Carstensz Pyramid and there is nothing one can do about it.

If you want to learn more about 7 Summits, go to our next section on 7 Summits., which focuses mostly on the history of the project.