Explorers Grand Slam

The Explorers Grand Slam or Adventurers Grand Slam is an adventurers challenge to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and all of the Seven Summits. The North Pole is defined as the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth’s axis of rotation meets its surface. The South Pole, situated in Antarctica, is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth and lies on the opposite side of the Earth from the North Pole. The Seven Summits are defined as the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents. Click a marker on the map below to learn more about each of the Seven Summits.



The Poles top

North Pole
The northernmost point on Earth, found at latitude 90° North, where all meridians of longitude meet and the only direction is south. All directions point south and all lines of longitude converge there. It’s located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amidst waters 4,000 meters deep that are covered with constantly shifting sea ice 2-3 meters thick. Learn more
South Pole
The southernmost point on Earth, found at latitude 90 degrees South, lies on the continent of Antarctica that is 1½ times the size of the USA, twice the size of Australia, and 58 times the size of the UK. It has 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s fresh water. Learn more


The Seven Summits top

Mt. Everest
Is the tallest mountain on earth and the highest in Asia, with the summit at 29,035 feet. It lies on the border between China (Tibet) and Nepal in the center of the Himalayan mountain range. Due to its size, it is buffeted by the jet stream with winds reaching speeds of over 100 mph, and this, combined with the avalanches, glaciers, ice-rivers and altitude, make this the most difficult of all the Seven Summits to climb. It was first successfully climbed on 29 May 1953 by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Learn more
Mt. Kilimanjaro
Is the highest mountain in Africa, with the summit at 19,340 feet. It lies in Tanzania on the eastern side of the continent, close to the equator and a short distance from the border with Kenya. Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro allows you to experience 5 distinct climate zones, from hot and arid equatorial conditions at the base, to artic conditions at the summit. The first recorded summit was by a German, Hans Meyer, in 1889. Learn more
Denali
Also known as Mt McKinley is the highest mountain in North America, with the summit at 20,320 feet. It is situated in Alaska in the United States, in the Denali National Park. Denali has some of the worst weather in the world on a year-round basis, and is also generally acknowledged to be one of the most difficult of the Seven Summits, of which it is also the most northerly, lying at 63° N. It was first climbed by the Americans Hudson Stock, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum on 7 June 1913. Learn more
Aconcagua
Is the tallest mountain in South America, and also the highest in the Western Hemisphere, with the summit at 22,841 feet. It is also the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. It sits within Argentina near the border with Chile. Despite its height, Aconcagua is considered a safe mountain to climb, as the routes are non-technical, although the lack of oxygen at high altitudes can cause problems. The first recorded summit in modern history was in 1897, by a Swiss climber Matthias Zurbriggen. Learn more
Vinson Massif
Is the highest mountain in Antarctica, with the summit at 16,050 feet. It is also the most southerly of the Seven Summits, lying at 78° S, and the coldest, with temperatures falling to -90°F. It lies in the Ellsworth Mountain range near the Antarctic Peninsula, and is in territory administered by Chile under the Antarctic Treaty. It is very hard to get to, as the only access is by ski plane from Punta Arenas in Chile, which is only able to fly occasionally due to the weather. It was first climbed in 1966 by an American team of Barry Corbet, John Evans, William Long and Pete Schoening. Learn more
Mt. Elbrus
Is the highest mountain in Europe (not Mt Blanc as is commonly thought) with the summit at 18,510 feet. It lies in the Caucasus mountain range in Russia, close to the borders of Georgia and Armenia. A cable car has been built by the government that runs from the base of the mountain to around 12,000 feet, which makes the climb much more accessible. The first ascent of the summit took place in July 1874 by an English climber, Crauford Grove, and a Swiss guide, Peter Knubel. Learn more
Mt. Kosciuszko
Is the tallest mountain in Australia with the summit at 7,310 feet. It sits in the Snowy mountain range on the borders of the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria, near to the Australian capital of Canberra. It is the smallest of the original Seven Summits and is the easiest to climb, with the hike to the top taking around 7 hours. It is believed that the local aboriginal people were the first to climb Mt Kosciuszko, but the first Westerner to ascend to the summit was a Polish climber, Edmund Strzelecki, in 1840. Learn more
Carstensz Pyramid*
Carstensz Pyramid is the only technical “rock” climbing of all the 7 Summits with the actual summit at 16,024 feet. Carstensz Pyramid sits in Irian Jaya which comprises the western side of the island of New Guinea located in Indonesia. The bare, rocky and near-vertical slopes of Carstensz Pyramid rise above the lush jungle environment that cans start off extremely hot and humid. One way to go is the Sugapa route that traverses rugged jungles, forests and alpine terrain for almost 80 km. Patrick Morrow was the first person to finish the Seven Summits with the Carstensz variation. Learn more

* In 80′s Dick Bass set the task of climbing the highest peak on each continent. As a businessman without climbing experience, Mr. Bass defined each continent according to the lay person’s concept – hence Australia’s highpoint, Mount Kosciuszko, was included in the Seven Summits. Renowned mountaineer Reinhold Messner revised Dick’s list by substituting the more difficult Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) of New Guinea at 16,023 feet for Mount Kosciuszko.


People top

David Hempleman-Adams became the first to complete this challenge in 1998.

In April 2005, Park Young Seok completed a True Explorers Grand Slam, which additionally includes ascending all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters.

In 2011, former Wales rugby union international Richard Parks became the first person ever to complete the (Last Degrees) Grand Slam within a single calendar year, doing so within seven months.

Vanessa O’Brien became the first woman to complete the (Last Degrees) Grand Slam under a single calendar year, doing so in eleven months.

Some 41 people have completed the Explorers Grand Slam including:

Grand Slam

Grand Slam (Last Degree One or Both Poles)


Contact top

Vanessa O’Brien, FRGS, is a British-American mountain climber, explorer, public speaker and former business executive. She is also a Member of The Explorers Club. Vanessa created and maintains this website.

For any questions or feedback about the Explorers Grand Slam website, please contact Vanessa directly at vobonline@gmail.com. Or visit Vanessa’s website at www.vobonline.com.

Vanessa O’Brien on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+VanessaOBrien