The 7 Summits
HISTORY AND THINKING
Mountain Climbers agree on the highest mountains on 6 of the 7 continents. But there has been debate on the continent of Australia/Oceania.
Pioneer Climbers - The Three Versions - First to climb each version:
Mount Kosciuszko - Dick Bass - 1985
Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) - Pat Morrow - 1986
Mount Wilhelm - "Jack" John Christiana - 2006
Mount Kosciuszko Version
In 1981 Dick Bass, Texas oilman, and Frank Wells, Warner Bros. Studio President, quit their jobs to become the first persons in the world to climb the 7 Summits, that is, the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. They met through Clint Eastwood. Frank Wells accidently died but Dick Bass accomplished the feat in 1985. Dick Bass considered the country of Australia to be the continent and not the islands included, so he climbed Mt. Kosciuszko on the mainland of Australia. Dick Bass became the first person in the world to climb the 7 Summits.
Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) Version
The following year in 1986, Reinhold Messner realized that islands are included as part of the continents. Japan is an island but considered part of Asia. United Kingdom (UK) is an island but considered part of Europe. All the cartographers and atlas makers are in agreeance that islands are part of the continent. Australia is a country and also a continent. But the islands have always been included for the continent of Australia. In recent decades, the continent of Australia (with the islands) is commonly known as Oceania. This is by both cartographers and climbers.
Pat Morrow, a Canadian, then climbed Carstensz Pyramid on the island of New Guinea off the mainland of Australia. Much to the discontent of Dick Bass, Pat Morrow then claimed to be the first person in the world to climb the correct 7 Summits.
Mount Wilhelm Version
Along comes John Christiana in 2001 deciding to climb the 7 Summits. John Christiana heard about the controversy and researched atlases to determine which mountain he should climb. There was less information on the subject back then. He climbed his first continent in June of 2003. In the months after, John Christiana discovered that both versions were wrong. John could not believe it. John agreed that climbers should let cartographers and atlas makers decide the continents so John agreed the islands are included. But John noticed that Carstensz Pyramid is actually in Asia. Reinhold Messner apparently never verified with atlases or official sources. John Christiana could not believe that no one realized Mt. Wilhelm was the highest mountain on the continent of Australia / Oceania. All the previous climbers just followed what unofficial websites reported and never actually checked.
John Christiana finished climbing the 7 Summits and climbed Mt. Wilhelm, becoming the first person in the world to climb the correct 7 Summits.
John Christiana called and spoke to Senior Editor Lawrence Burke at one of the premier climbing magazines in the United States, Outside Magazine, to verify no one else had done this version. The senior editor said he had heard of this and asked John to email information on this. About a month later, Outside Magazine did a fact check by calling John. Then Outside Magazine did a short story in May 2007 stating this would make John the first person in the world to climb the correct 7 Summits.
United Nations official Geospatial Seven Continent Boundaries Section
World Atlas 7 Continents World Map
Wikipedia 7 Summits List
National Geographic Australia and Oceania Map
CIA World Factbook – Indonesia Papua New Guinea Boundaries
Click on "Geography"
Text on National Geographic website near bottom under 'Australia':
"The continent of Australia itself includes only the nation of Australia,
the eastern portion of the island of New Guinea (the nation of Papua New Guinea)
and the island nation of New Zealand."
Heraldry of the World – Civic Heraldry of Oceania
PNG Trekking Adventures
SEE CARTOGRAPHER AND ATLAS PAGES BELOW
for highest mountain on the continent of Australia / Oceania
(Click on Images to Enlarge)