Showing posts from January, 2011

Seven Summits: Puncak Jaya

Puncak Jaya, also known as Mount Carstensz or the Carstensz Pyramid, is located in the western central highlands of Papua province or Indonesia. Among the native people of Indonesia it is also called Nemangkawi, and Gunung Sukarno. It is the highest mountain in Oceania and the highest island peak in the world. It stands at 16,024 feet above sea level.

Puncak Jaya was named "Carstensz Pyramid" after a Dutch explorer, Ja Carstensz, first sighted the glaciers on the peak of the mountain in 1623. Interestingly, Carstensz sighting was not verified for another two centuries and the explorer was ridiculed for claiming to see snow in close proximity to the equator.

The peak was renamed "Puntjak Soekarno" in the 1960s, when Indonesia took control of the province. The name was later changed to Puncak Jaya. "Puncak" translates to peak or mountain, while "Jaya" translates to victory or victorious. The first team to be victorious and summit Puncak Jaya w…

Seven Summits: Mt. Elbrus

Mount Elbrus lies in Russia, rising near the political strife ridden border between Russian and Georgia. Mount Elbrus stands as the highest mountain in Europe and the west summit rises to 18,510 feet. The name Elbrus is a metathesis of Alborz. Alborz is derived from the name of a mountain in Persian mythology, Hara Barezaiti, which translates to 'High Watch' or 'High Guard'.

Elbrus is considered an inactive volcano, but beneath the mountain there still resides a supply of active magma. There has never been a recorded eruption of Mount Elbrus but scientists believe that between 0 and 100 AD. The mountain also has solfataric activity and many hot springs. Scientists do not know if Mount Elbrus will erupt again. According to myth, Mount Elbrus was known to the ancient civilizations as Strobilus and believed that Zeus had chained Prometheus, the Titan, to the mountain because had stolen fire from the gods to give to the people. Some speculate this is in reference t…

Seven Summits: Mt. McKinley

Mount McKinley towers about Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, USA. It is the highest mountain peak in North America and in the United States. Its summit reaches the elevation of 20,320 above sea level.

Currently, the name of Mt McKinley is under dispute. The Koyukon Athabaskan people, who inhabit the area around the mountain, refer to the peak as Dinale or Denali, meaning "The High One". In the 1890s, a gold prospector named it "McKinley" as political support for the then presidential candidate William McKinley of Ohio. According to the Alaska Board of Geographic Names, the name is Denali, but the United States Board of Geographic Names has it listed as McKinley.

The first successful summit of Mt. McKinley was in 1913 and was led by Hudson Stuck. The first recorded attempt took place in 1903 by James Wickersham. The route he attempted was Perters Glacier and the North Face, which is now known as the Wickersham Wall. The route has tremendous avalanch…

Seven Summits: Aconcagua

After Mt. Everest the second highest mountain in the Seven Summits is Mt. Aconcagua. At a striking 22,841 feet, Mt. Aconcagua lies among the Andes in Argentina and is the highest mountain in the Americas.

The first attempt to climb Mt. Aconcagua was made by the German geologist Paul Gussfeldt in 1883. Gussfeldt bribed porters with the story of lost treasure on the mountain for their help. He made two attempts to reach the summit through what is now considered the normal route. The first recorded summit was a British expedition led by Edward FitzGerald. The youngest person to reach the summit of Mt. Aconcagua was Mathew Moniz of Boulder, CO at 10 years old in 2008. The oldest person to summit was Scott Lewis at 87 years old in 2007.

Mt. Aconcagua was created by the subduction of the Nazca Plate beneath the South American plate, but is not a volcano. There are two theories to the origin of the name of the mountain. This first states it is from Arauca Aconca-Hue, which refers to th…