twistedsifter.com: As you would imagine, the highest point is found at the peak of the continent’s highest mountain. In mountaineering this is known as the Seven Summits, which was first postulated and achieved on April 30, 1985 by Richard Bass. Below you can see the highest points on every continent compared to the “Eight-Thousanders“, comprising of 14 independent mountains on Earth that are more than 8,000 meters (26,247 ft) high above sea level. All of the eight-thousanders are located in the Himilayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia.
Below you will find a list of the highest points on every continent along with a gallery of each place and pictures of climbers at the summit. Information and factoids on each mountain are provided as well. Enjoy!
North America – Mount McKinley, Alaska
Mount McKinley (or Denali) in Alaska is the highest mountain peak in the United States and in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level. Measured base-to-peak, it is the tallest mountain on land. Measured by topographic prominence, it is the third most prominent peak in the world after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.
In topography, prominence, also known as autonomous height, relative height, shoulder drop (in North America), or prime factor (in Europe), categorizes the height of the mountain’s or hill’s summit by the elevation between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit. It is a measure of the independence of a summit.
- Five large glaciers flow off the slopes of the mountain
- The first ascent of the main summit of McKinley came on June 7, 1913, by a party led by Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens. The first man to reach the summit was Walter Harper, an Alaska Native
- The mountain is regularly climbed today; in 2003, around 58% of climbers reached the top. But by 2003, the mountain had claimed the lives of nearly 100 mountaineers
South America – Aconcagua, Argentina
Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,959 m (22,841 ft). It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. The summit is also located about 5 kilometres from San Juan Province and 15 kilometres from the international border with Chile. Aconcagua is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. It is also one of the Seven Summits.
The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. The mountain also has a number of glaciers. The largest glacier is the Ventisquero Horcones Inferior at about 10 km long, which descends from the south face to about 3600 m altitude near the Confluencia camp. Two other large glacier systems are the Ventisquero de las Vacas Sur and Glaciar Este/Ventisquero Relinchos system at about 5 km long. However, the most well-known is the north-eastern or Polish Glacier, a common route of ascent.
- In mountaineering terms, Aconcagua is technically an easy mountain if approached from the north, via the normal route. Aconcagua is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world, since the northern route does not absolutely require ropes, axes, and pins
- The first recorded ascent was in 1897 on a British expedition led by Edward FitzGerald. The summit was reached by the Swiss guide Matthias Zurbriggen on January 14 and by two other expedition members a few days later
- The youngest person to reach the summit of Aconcagua was Matthew Moniz of Boulder, Colorado. He was 10 years old when he reached the summit on December 16, 2008. The oldest person to climb it was Scott Lewis who reached the summit on November 26, 2007 when he was 87 years old
Europe – Mount Elbrus, Russia
Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano located in the western Caucasus mountain range, in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia, Russia, near the border of Georgia. Mt. Elbrus’s peak is the highest in the Caucasus, in Russia. While there are differing authorities on how the Caucasus are distributed between Europe and Asia, many sources agree that Elbrus is also the highest mountain in all of Europe, or the highest in western Asia, narrowly exceeding another volcano, Mt. Damavand in the Alborz range in Iran. Mt. Elbrus (west summit) stands at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft); the east summit is slightly lower at 5,621 metres (18,442 ft).
- Mount Elbrus has a permanent icecap that feeds 22 glaciers, which in turn give rise to the Baksan, Kuban, and Malka Rivers
- Elbrus sits on a moving tectonic area, and has been linked to a fault. A supply of magma lies deep beneath the dormant volcano
- The lower of the two summits was first ascended on 10 July 1829 (Julian calendar) by Khillar Khachirov, a Karachay guide for an Imperial Russian army scientific expedition led by General Emmanuel, and the higher (by about 40 m—130 ft) in 1874 by an English expedition led by F. Crauford Grove
- From 1959 through 1976, a cable car system was built in stages that can take visitors as high as 3,800 metres (12,500 ft)
- The average annual death toll on Elbrus is 15–30, primarily due to “many unorganized and poorly equipped” attempts to summit the mountain
- In 1997, a Land Rover Defender was driven to the summit, breaking into the Guinness Book of Records