Là bảy ngọn núi cao nhất của bảy châu lục mà chinh phục những ngọn núi này được coi là một thử thách lớn lao. Lần đầu tiên chinh phục 7 đỉnh núi này là Richard Bass vào ngày 30 Tháng Tư năm 1985.
Everest in Asia (8848m), Aconcagua in South America (6961m), Denali in North America (6195m), Kilimanjaro in Africa (5895m), Elbrus in Europe (5642m), Kosciuszko in Australia (2228m), Vinson in Antarctica (4892m)("Bass version")
In 1956 William D. Hackett (1918–1999), an American mountaineer, reached the top of five continents. He climbed Denali (1947), Aconcagua (1949), Kilimanjaro (1950), Kosciuszko (1956) and Mont Blanc (1956). In that time, the Mont Blanc was considered to be the highest mountain of the European continent. Hackett made an attempt to climb Mt. Vinson and obtained a permit for the Mt. Everest in 1960 but due to several circumstances (frostbite, lack of funds, etc.) he never made it more than five.
In 1970 the Japanese mountaineer and adventurer Naomi Uemura (1941-1984) was the first person to reach five of the Seven Summits including Mount Everest. He climbed Mont Blanc (1966), Kilimanjaro (1966), Aconcagua (1968), Mount Everest (1970 solo) and Denali (1970 solo). After the first solo trip to the North Pole (1978) he planned to go on his own to Antarctica to climb Mount Vinson. In preparation for the Antarctica expedition he did a solo winter ascent of Denali (1984). On the descent he disappeared in a winter storm.
In 1978 the Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner was the first person to reach six of the Seven Summits (1971 Puncak Jaya, 1974 Aconcagua, 1976 Mt. McKinley, 1978 Kilimanjaro, 1978 Mt. Everest). For Messner Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) was the highest peak in Australia (Messner list), but in 1983 he climbed Mt. Kosciuszko to satisfy also the other geographic definition of Australia. In the same year Messner climbed Mt. Elbrus and declared that this is the true highest peak of Europe. This definition was quickly accepted by others in the mountaineering community. Finally in 1986 he climbed Mt. Vinson. At that time he was only the fifth person to reach the Seven Summits.
In 1985 Richard Bass, a businessman and amateur mountaineer, was the first man to climb all the Seven Summits. In only one year, 1983, he climbed six peaks: Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Vinson and Mt. Kosciuszko. All of these climbs he did together with his companion Frank Wells and different mountain guides. From 1983 Bass and Wells made various guided attempts to climb Mt. Everest, the highest and most difficult peak in the list. Bass reached the summit of Mt. Everest in a party without Wells, guided by the American professional mountaineer David Breashears, on April 30, 1985. He then co-authored the book Seven Summits, which covered the undertaking.
In 1986 the Canadian mountaineer Patrick Morrow became the first man to climb the Seven Summits in the "Carstensz Version" (Messner list). He climbed Denali (1977), Aconcagua (1981), Mt. Everest (1982), Kilimanjaro (1983), Mt. Kosciuszko (1983), Mt. Vinson (1985), Mt. Elbrus (1985) and finally the Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) on May 7, 1986. Morrow was also the first to complete both lists (Bass and Messner).
In 1990, Rob Hall and Gary Ball became the first to complete the "Seven Summits" in seven months. Using the Bass list, they started with Everest on May 10, 1990, and finished with Vinson on December 12, 1990, hours before the seven-month deadline.
In 1992 Junko Tabei became the first woman to complete the "Seven Summits".
Mary "Dolly" Lefever became the first American woman to climb the "Seven Summits" on March 11, 1993, when she climbed Australia's Mount Kosciuszko. She had previously climbed the others. Earlier in 1993 she had become the oldest surviving woman to have reached the summit of Mt. Everest; she was 47 years old.
In January 1996, Chris Haver became the first American to climb and ski all seven summits.
Yasuko Namba was famous in her native Japan for becoming the second Japanese woman to reach all of the Seven Summits including Everest, where she died during the storm of May 1996 during her descent.
In 2000 Croatian mountaineer Stipe Božić completed the Seven Summits.
In May 2002, Susan Ershler and her husband, Phil, became the first married couple to climb the "Seven Summits" together. The first person to complete Seven Summits without the use of supplemental oxygen on Mount Everest is Reinhold Messner. Miroslav Caban is probably the only other climber (besides Messner) as of October 2005 to finish the project without supplemental oxygen on Everest (finished in 2005 with Carstensz) (Ed Viesturs also summitted all peaks without supplemental oxygen.). Between 2002 and 2007, Austrian climber Christian Stangl completed the Seven Summits (Messner list), climbing alone and without supplemental oxygen, and reported a record total ascent time from respective base camp to summit of 58 hours and 45 minutes.
On 17 May 2006 Rhys Jones became the youngest person to complete the 7 summits (Bass list) at the age of exactly 20 years. In May 2007, Samantha Larson completed the seven when she was 18 years and 220 days (she is still the youngest woman to have climbed the Seven Summits). Johnny Strange climbed the summits when he was 17 years and 161 days in June 2009. On May 26, 2011 at 6:45 Nepali time, Geordie Stewart became the youngest Briton to complete the 7 summits at the age of 22 years and 21 days. In 2009-10, Indian mountaineer Krushnaa Patil made a bid for the fastest woman to complete the challenge; she fell short of the challenge when, in May 2009, her seventh and final summit bid on Denali was halted by her guide's illness.
George Atkinson then became the youngest person in the world to complete the round aged 16 years 362 days. On December 24, 2011, the record was once again beaten, by American Jordan Romero, who completed the challenge at the age of 15 years, 5 months and 12 days by climbing Vinson.
In October 2006 Kit Deslauriers became the first person to have skied down (parts of) all seven peaks (Bass list). Three months later, in January 2007, Swedes Olof Sundström and Martin Letzter completed their Seven Summits skiing project by skiing down (parts of) Carstensz Pyramid, thus becoming the first and only people to have skied both lists.
The world record for completion of the Messner and Bass list was 136 days, by Danish climber Henrik Kristiansen in 2008. Indian mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu also had the eminence of setting a Guinness Book record by surmounting seven summits in 172 days in 2006, which made it to the fastest seven summiteers eventually. Kristiansen completed the summits in the following order: Vinson on Jan 21st, Aconcagua on Feb 6, Kosciuszko on Feb 13, Kilimanjaro on Mar 1, Carstensz Pyramid on Mar 14, Elbrus on May 8, Everest on May 25, spending just 22 days on the mountain (normally, expeditions take up to 2 months acclimatizing, laying ropes etc...) and finally McKinley on June 5, beating Ian McKeever's previous record by 20 days. Vern Tejas set the new record for the same, in 134 days. Tejas began with summiting Vinson on Jan 18 2010 and completing with McKinley on May 31. This was Vern's 9th time to complete the "Bass" Seven Summits.
In January 2010, the Spanish climber Carlos Soria Fontán completed the seven summits (Messner list), at the age of 71, after reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro. He had climbed the first one in 1968.
On 23 May 2010, AC Sherpa summited Mt. Everest as his last and final conquest of the Seven Summits (Bass list). In doing this, he set a new record by climbing the seven summits within 42 climbing days. Additionally, when climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (via Marangu) he summited in just 16 hours and 37 minutes, easily beating the previous record of 18 hours.
As of 24 December 2011, it is reported that only 118 people have climbed the Seven Summits if one assumes "full" completion of the quest requires climbing the "Eight Summits" across both the Bass and Messner lists (climbing both Carstensz Pyramid and Kosciusko in addition to the other six "undisputed" summits such as Everest). 231 persons have climbed the Messner list, while 234 have completed the Bass list. 348 have done either the Bass or Messner list.
In 2013, Vanessa O'Brien became the fastest female to complete the Seven Summits (including Carstensz Pyramid), finishing in 10 months. Cason Crane became the first openly gay man to climb the Seven Summits.
On November 21, 2013 Werner Berger (Canada, ex-South African), at age of 76 years 129 days, became the oldest person in the world to complete the Seven Summits after a 6-day jungle trek to Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia (the "Messner-7" which incl. Mt. Kosciusko). On 16 December 2014, Tashi Malik and Nungshi Malik became world's first twins and siblings to complete the Seven Summits(the "Messner-7")