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7th Summit...Carstensz Or Kosciusko?

Tue Feb 11, 2003 9:26 am


Another interesting geography question which has been nagging for sometime, so I will pose it here...

The "7 Summits" is a term for the highest mountain on every continent...I will list them here:

North America: Denali, 20,320 feet
South America: Aconcagua, 22,834 feet
Africa: Kilimanjaro, 19,340 feet
Antarctica: Vinson Massif, 16,067 feet
Asia: Mount Everest, 29,035 feet
Europe: Elbrus, 18,510 feet

The question mark is because the issue of what should be the 7th summit is a hotly debated subject amongst both geographers and mountaineers. The highest mountain in Australia is Kosciusko at 7,310 ft. Politically speaking, this is the highest mountain in Australia. However, geologically speaking, some can make a claim for Carstensz Pyramid, 16,021 ft., located in Irian Jaya, which is the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea. Geologically speaking this island is related to Australia, however, in a political sense, Indonesia is a part of Asia. As well, some consider that island to be part of "Oceania" and as the various Pacific islands that comprise Oceania arent really represented, Carstensz serves as the representative summit for it, even though, again, its not in Oceania, its in Asia...

The first person to climb either variant of the Seven Summits was an American named Dick Bass, who climbed the last one in April of 1985, but he took the easy way and climbed Kosciusko (which is nothing more than a simple walkup) mid-1986 a Canadian named Pat Morrow became the first to climb the 7 summits with the Carstensz route (which requires months of red tape and days/weeks of travel to get there as its very isolated)...this is the history behind the dispute...

So...Carstensz or Kosciusko as the "7th summit?" You make the call..

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