The Seven Summits:
History of the Seven Summits Quest
1956 - William D. Hackett
First Person to reach 5 of the Seven Summits
William D. Hackett, a soldier from Oregon, USA, reached the top
of the Mont Blanc, France. With this, he became the first person
to reach the top of five continents. In that time, the Mont Blanc
was considered to be the highest mountain of the European continent.
Nowadays, most accept the Elbrus, Georgia to be the highest summit
in Europe. But this should not make his effort any less. The other
summits that he reached were:
1956: Mont Blanc
After reaching the Mont Blanc, he had
the ambition to climb the other summits. He made attempts to climb
K2 and Vinson and obtained a permit for the Everest. However due
to several circumstances (lack of funds, frostbite, etc) he never
made it more than 5.
Between 1956 and 1970 no real milestones
were achieved. Although Dolf Reist, a Swiss climber, reached the
summit of Mont Blanc in 1955 and the Everest in 1956 (only one
of six people to have climbed the Everest at that time). He thought
that he had a lot of time to climb the other summits and therefore
made no rush to climb the other 3 summits. He completed 5 summits
in 1971, six months after Namomi Uemura, a Japanese climber, who
we will cover next.
1970 - Naomi Uemura
First Person to reach 5 of the Seven Summits including Everest
Naomi Uemura started as a solo climber and reached on his own
the Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro and the Aconcagua. In 1970, he broke
his habit and climbed the Everest together with his fellow countryman
Teruo Matsuura. Together they claim the first Japanese’s
ascent of the Everest with their South Col Route climb. Only three
months after, Uemura picked up his solo climbing and achieved
the summit of the McKinley, as the first solo climber. With this
he was the first person to reach 5 of the Seven Summits including
the Everest, but was by no means finished.
|1966: Mont Blanc
As you would expect from a real solitary
adventurer, he planned to go on his own to Antarctica to climb
Vinson after making the first solo trip to the North Pole. In
preparation for that he did a solo winter ascent of the McKinley.
He achieved this, but in his return trip, he disappeared in one
of the mountain's storms.
1978 - Reinhold Messner
First Person to reach 6 of the Seven Summits
Reinhold Messner is the first person to reach 6 of the
Seven Summits, but only the fifth person to reach the Seven Summits.
He was one of the most influential mountaineers of his time and
was an essential architect of defining the Seven Summits. In 1978,
together with Austrian Peter Habeler, the Italian reached the
summit of the Everest without using bottled oxygen. Everybody
was stunned as this feat was never achieved before. Together with
the Carstensz Pyramid, which he climbed in 1971, he claimed to
be the first person who reached 6 of the Seven Summits. After
climbing Carstensz, he also hiked up the Kosciuszko in 1983, just
to be sure that he got the right summit. In the same year, Messner
declared that Mont Blanc was not the highest peak of Europe, but
Elbrus, which is 800 meters higher. His definition was quickly
adopted by others.
Over the years, he made several attempts
to get to Vinson, and when he did in 1986, the chalice had already
been taken by others.
1985 - Dick Bass
First Person to climb the Seven Summits incl. Kosciuszko
Dick Bass was not a passionate climber like Reinhold
Messner was nor a hardcore adventurer like Uemura, but he had
the determination and the resources to make climbing the Seven
Summits happen. Bas and another American named Frank Wells also
helped to define the Seven Summits: they added Kosciuszko to the
Seven Summits, because Kosciuszko was a peak on land mass and
not like Carstensz, a peak on an island. They also added Vinson
on Antarctica to the Seven Summits, to complete the list of the
seven continental summits.
In 1983, Bass and Wells climbed six
of the Seven Summits together with invited expert mountaineers.
Then, they made a couple of attempts to reach Everest's summit,
but for various reasons they failed to do so. After that last
attempt at Everest, Wells made no further attempts for the Seven
Summits. Dick Bass, however, joined a Norwegian expedition led
by shipping tycoon Arne Naess in 1985, and was then the first
person (and at that time also the oldest person who summited the
Everest at an age of 55) to climb the Seven Summits.
|1983: Aconcagua, McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson,
1986 - Pat Morrow
First Person to climb the Eight Summits incl. Carstensz and Kosciuszko
Dick Bass was very lucky that he was indeed the first person to
climb the Seven Summits after 2 failed attempts to the Everest.
Pat Morrow, a strong Canadian mountaineer, had already climbed
McKinley in 1977 and the Everest in 1982 - so he was also setting
off to be the first person to reach the Seven Summits. Because
he did not have the financial resources of Bass, he only managed
two more peaks (Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro) before Bass reached
the Everest. But in 1986, by reaching Elbrus, he became the first
person to reach the Seven Summits with Carstensz and the first
person to reach the Eight Summits.
1983: Kilimanjaro, Kosciuszko
1986: Elbrus, Carstensz