Seven Summits

7 Summits - 7 Continents:

The Highest Mountains On Each Continent






2228 m / 7310 ft


Carstensz Pyramid

4884 m / 16,023 ft



4897 m / 16,067 ft



5642 m / 18,481 ft



5895 m / 19,339 ft

North America

McKinley (Denali)

6194 m / 20,320 ft

South America


6962 m / 22,840 ft



8850 m / 29,029 ft

For a dyslexic guy who was told he wouldn’t graduate high school, Bo Parfet has achieved a lot in his 29 years. A graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Chicagoan scaled the 29,028-foot summit of Mount Everest on May 17 of this year, and in so doing became one of only 80 people to have successfully climbed all eight of the world’s “Seven Summits,” the tallest mountain on every continent… Confused?

You see, the overall list comprises Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; Mt. Aconcuaga in Argentina; Mt. McKinley (aka Denali) in Alaska; the Vinson Massif in Antarctica; Mt. Elbrus in Russia; Carstensz Pyramid (aka Puncak Jaya) in Indonesia; Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia; and Everest in China. Since mountaineers differ on whether Australasia’s should be Kosciuszko, the highest on the Australian mainland, or Papua New Guinea’s much taller Carstensz Pyramid, Parfet decided to cover all bases. And in so doing he not only raised funds to ensure educational scholarships were awarded within each of the mountain communities, but, starting in December 2002, he also did several of the climbs while either working as an investment banker on Wall Street, bio-prospecting for lifesaving micro-organisms in extreme environments, or getting his MBA from Kellogg.

"I shut my eyes in order to see" ~ Paul GauguinAlong the way, he was lost in action during a storm atop Aconcuaga in Argentina; nearly drowned in crocodile-infested rapids during a canoe race in Belize; lost a team member to a heart attack during an initial, unsuccessful Everest expedition; fell into a crevasse when the ground beneath him collapsed on Mt. Cook in New Zealand; became the youngest American to summit then ski down Tibet’s Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth tallest peak; and had to deal with corrupt army officials, cannibalistic tribesmen, and Papuan terrorist groups while posing as a soldier, and surviving on a diet of fried bats and rats, when covertly traversing the heavily guarded Freeport-McMoRan mine – the world’s largest gold reserve – amid the remote and treacherous jungle terrain of Carstensz Pyramid.

All of these stories are related in Die Trying, yet this is far more than an action-adventure along the lines of Jon Krakauer’s smash-hit bestseller Into Thin Air (Villard, 1997), among many, many other mountain-based books: Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void (HarperCollins, 1989); David Breashears’ High Exposure (Simon & Schuster, 1999); Beck Weathers’ Left For Dead (Villard, 2000); even Seven Summits by Dick Bass (Grand Central, 1988), the man who first climbed each of the continents’ highest mountains.

"Be the change you want" ~ Mahatma Gandhi Instead, Die Trying expands on Bo Parfet’s most dramatic, traumatic, and triumphal experiences by not only documenting the different revelations experienced during each of the expeditions, but also describing how these have enabled him to “turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones” in all areas of his life; at home, in the workplace, on the side of a mountain. As such it will appeal to a far broader readership – gripping people with its graphically-related, death-defying adventures, speaking to them in terms of their own life challenges, and inspiring them with its delineation of human potential; of the inner strength derived from dealing with discouragement and overcoming adversity; of one man’s declaration that he will not be limited.