Seven Summits goal


3 minute read

Dream or goal? 🤨

I’ve been referring to this as my “Seven Summits Dream” for a while now, but it’s not a “Dream”, it’s a Goal - there is a difference.

The difference

Dreams are things that you think about doing, things that you wish could happen. Dreams are easy to come up with, and dreaming is free.

Goals are tangible, something that you act on to actually make happen. Goals take effort, discipline, and strategy. They have plans, schedules, and deadlines.

Getting SMART

Don’t get me wrong at all, it’s perfectly valid and an amazing thing to have dreams and aspirations, but turning them into goals is where the fun begins

Goals should be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

I’ll take you through mine.


The Seven Summits

The Seven Summits is a list of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents on our planet.

There are two main versions of the Seven Summits list, the Bass and Messner lists - so named after Richard Bass (the first to climb them all according to his definition) and Reinhold Messner, who soon after coined his own list including Puncak Jaya in Indonesia instead of Kosciuszko in Australia.

  • The Bass list:
    • Everest
    • Aconcagua
    • Denali
    • Kilimanjaro
    • Vinson
    • Elbrus
    • Kosciuszko
  • The Messner list:
    • Everest
    • Aconcagua
    • Denali
    • Kilimanjaro
    • Vinson
    • Elbrus
    • Puncak Jaya

A few consider Mont Blanc to be the highest mountain in Europe, but Elbrus in Russia is generally considered the highest for a Seven Summit list.

It’s better to be safe than sorrymy goal covers both lists. Using Mont Blanc in mainland Europe as a fun, training climb, and Kosciuszko as a jolly little (2,228m) jaunt, as I expect to be travelling Australia again in the next 8 years.

Seven Summits diagram

Seven Summits heights in relation to each other

Seven Summiters

The most recent list I can find online is on with 416 Seven Summiters as of 2016, with only 36 from the UK. About 30% of those have climbed all of the eight peaks required to complete both the Bass and Messner lists.

I’m hoping to either find or compile my own more up-to-date list and keep a record throughout the next 8 years.


My goal

“I will climb to the top of all of the highest mountains on each of the Earth’s continents - the Seven Summits - before my 40th birthday.” Furze, D. (2018).

I decided on this goal the very moment I arrived at Everest Base Camp, looking across the Khumbu Icefall - the path that mountaineers take onwards and upwards.

My aim early on in 2018 was to trek to Everest Base Camp before my 30th birthday (November 2018) and the goal set in my mind on that day was to summit the highest seven mountains on the planet, before my 40th.

Everest from Kala Patthar

One of my photographs - Everest from Kala Patthar

Me at Everest Base Camp

Me at Everest Base Camp, 14/11/2018

I will achieve this by:

  • Planning - meticulously,
  • Training - hard,
  • Saving - relentlessly,
  • Doing - without compromise.


1 out of 7ish

In January 2020, I made my first progress towards this goal: summiting Kilimanjaro.

Summit photo of me

Atop the first of my Seven Summits! Kilimanjaro in Africa - 10/01/2020

Next up

I’ve been Planning Elbrus and have booked onto a climb for Sept 2021 after having it cancelled in 2020. Fingers crossed it goes ahead this year.


The 10-year plan

Seven SummitsKilimanjaroElbrusAconcagua  DenaliPuncak JayaVinsonEverest
Secondary summits  Mont BlancKosciuskoMont Blanc    
Training Ben Nevis (winter) Bolivian ClimberPeak Lenin Imja Tse (Island Peak)Cho Oyu 

This is from my “10 for 10” Trello board, which spreads out the expeditions throughout the next 8 years and fits around schedules for my World Marathon Majors goal, Ironman goals, and the time it’ll take to finance the mountain climbs.


Is my goal SMART?

I believe so.

  • Specific: I will conquer the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of Earth’s continents.
  • Measurable: I’ll measure the progress of this by the mountains I’ve summited (1 so far) and the time it takes.
  • Achievable: I will achieve this through strict planning, training, scheduling, and saving.
  • Realistic: If I keep this sustained level of determination, definitely.
  • Time-bound: I will achieve it before my 40th birthday - 2028 - 10 years after I set the goal.

It may sound like a demanding goal with an aggressive schedule, but I’m a driven and determined person.

I want to achieve this because I want to prove it can be done by a “normal” person with enough grit, determination, and planning. I want to inspire others to attain this goal and solidify dreams of their own into achievable goals.


Dreams don’t come true, goals do.

My goal is set.

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