Christian Stangl completes the Triple Seven Summits

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 29/08/2013
Christian Stangl (right) and Walter Laserer near the summit of Mt Gardner, Antarctica, during an unsuccessful attempt on Tyree. Damien Gildea

The Austrian Christian Stangl has become the first to climb the Triple Seven Summits, the three highest mountains on each of the seven continents.

While there are now many who have climbed the so-called Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each continent, only one man to date has - seemingly unequivocally - climbed all the second highest, and also all the third.

There has been debate in recent years on what counts as the second and third highest summits, particularly when it comes to Australasia. However, the list, as accomplished by Stangl and also defined by German High Asian authority Eberhard Jurgalski, is as follows:

Second Seven Summits

  • K2 (8,611m)
  • Ojos del Salado (6,893m)
  • Logan (5,959m)
  • Dykh tau (5,205m)
  • Batian (5,199m)
  • Tyree (4,852m)
  • Sumantri (4,870m)

Apart from Ojos, which he climbed in 1996, all these were completed by Stangl from 2010 to this year.

Third Seven Summits

  • Kangchenjunga (8,586m)
  • Pissis (6,795m)
  • Orizaba (5,636m)
  • Shkhara (5,193m)
  • Mawenzi (5,148m)
  • Shinn (4,660m)
  • Puncak Mandala (4,758m)

Stangl climbed these between 2008 and this year.

Proof of summiting all second and third "sevens" has been established by photo, video, GPS log or other means.

This is crucial as many will remember that in 2010 Stangl claimed to have summited K2, only later to be challenged and eventually admitting that his "summit" photos were taken at 7,500m, and he had succumbed to internal pressure brought on by fear of failure in an achievement-oriented society.

Stangl (born 1966) was a civil engineer until 2001 when he became a professional mountaineer.

He has an impressive CV that includes a sub 17-hour solo ascent of Everest without oxygen from the north, a 15-hour ascent of Cho Oyu, and a time of just under four and a half hours from base camp to the summit of Aconcagua.

Who first came up with the concept of climbing the Second Seven Summits, a considerably harder proposition than the standard Seven Summits, is unclear.

The idea has certainly been around for sometime and the late New Zealand guide Rob Hall harboured a plan to become the first to do so after his 1994 ascent of K2.

The noted Indian mountaineer Satyabrata Dam, who does not appear to be actively interested in completing a Triple collection, is the next in line to Stangl, having climbed all First Seven Summits and Ojos, Logan, Dykh tau and Batian.

60 years of Seven Summits peak bagging

The idea of climbing the Seven Summits is at least 60 years old.

By 1956 American William Hackett had climbed the highest on five continents (taking Kosciuszko as the highest in Australia, and Mont Blanc as the highest in Europe) and had a permit for Everest in 1960. There doesn't seem much doubt that he had ambitions to complete all seven.

It was Reinhold Messner that first included Australasia in the list, and notably he considered Carstensz Pyramid to be its highest point. There is no coincidence that he'd already climbed this peak in 1971.

Messner also climbed Elbrus in 1983 and declared it should be considered the highest point on the European continent. While many geographers connect Elbrus with the high Asian mountains, making Mont Blanc the highest in Europe, Elbrus has stuck.

In 1985 American Dick Bass claimed to be the first to climb all seven, but he opted for Kosciuszko. In 1986 Canadian Pat Morrow "beat" Messner by just four months in climbing the seven, in the process summiting both Carstensz and Kosciuszko.

By the turn of the Millennium well over 60 people had climbed either the Kosciuszko or Carstensz version.

But today, the highest continental summits on earth, at least by those collecting them, are defined as Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson, and Carstensz.



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