How Long to do the Seven Summits?

What is the average time to do the Seven Summits?

I was asked that question by a Facebook Fan HERE. My quick and simple answer is “About Ten Years” but that’s not really doing the question justice.


Aconcagua in storm
Aconcagua in storm

If we remove all other factors, here is a list of the Seven Summits and the standard number of days that a professional guide service lists for the itineraries.

  • Kosciuszko- 3 days
  • Kilimanjaro – 7 days
  • Elbrus – 8 days
  • Carstensz – 9 days
  • Vinson 21 days
  • Denali – 21 days
  • Aconcagua – 21 days
  • Everest – 65 days

If you allow about 4 days of back to back flying for each expedition that adds up to 155 days of expedition and 32 days of traveling for all 8 of the 7 Summits. That’s 187 days. Yep, only 6+ months.


Todd Gilles and myself acclimatizing for Elbrus Race 2013
Todd Gilles and myself acclimatizing for Elbrus Race 2013

How fast can the Seven Summits be done?

Sadly, each of these has seasons that are good and bad, work and don’t work, and weather can be an issue or not. Here’s a potential itinerary that gets them all done in a very compressed amount of time.

  • January: Vinson
  • February: Aconcagua
  • March: Kilimanjaro, Carstensz, and Kosciuszko
  • April & May: Everest
  • June: Denali
  • July Elbrus

So that’s a Seven Summits in Seven Months Itinerary. If you attempt this, please let me know. I totally want to follow your progress. With a bit more risk and cleverness you could knock off a month, but it greatly decreases the odds of success.

Kilimanjaro Summit - 6:45 AM Jan 1, 2010 - I"m in orange
Kilimanjaro Summit – 6:45 AM Jan 1, 2010 – I”m in orange

Is this speed itinerary realistic?

Unfortunately, with an itinerary this tight, you’d need to be a semi-robotic automaton and have everything handed to you at each and every step of the way. All your visa’s, all your travel, all your baggage, everything, would have to be handled by someone else. Believe me, you probably can’t do it 100% alone on this tight of an itinerary.

Carstensz Pyramid Summit Shot
Carstensz Pyramid Summit Shot

It would also require that you have a boatload of cash and a bottomless credit card. Doing it this quickly requires that you pay a lot of people a lot of money to make sure that everything happens as planned without error.

You also have to be in top physical condition and able to recover very quickly from all the stress of travel and mountaineering and trekking. You cannot get sick or weak or injured on an itinerary this tight.

Myself and Todd Gilles Orizaba Summit Thumbs Up
Myself and Todd Gilles Orizaba Summit Thumbs Up

Stay tuned for another article about this

I’ll be writing another article soon taking a more realistic approach to an itinerary that allows time to solve all those problems. Stay tuned. Subscribe (to the right) if you want to make sure you’re notified when I write it.