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The Five Tallest Mountains in the World Among the tallest mountains in the world, the top five are all found in Asia. In fact, the fourteen tallest mountains worldwide are all located in Asia. They are all within a specific area called the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges. These mountain ranges span the countries of Nepal, Pakistan and Tibet (China). The five tallest mountains and their heights are: 1. Mt. Everest – 8,850 meters (above sea level) 2. K2 (Godwin Austen) - 8,612 meters 3. Kanchenjunga - 8,586 meters 4. Lhotse I - 8,501 meters 5. Makalu I - 8,462 meters Mount Everest Practically everyone has heard of this tallest mountain the world, which is located in the Himalayan region in Nepal and China. The natives in Nepal call this mountain Sagarmatha, meaning “goddess of the sky.” Himalayas, the mountain range, means “abode of snow.” These names are very appropriate. The snow in the mountain range never melts, even in summer. And Mount Everest is so high up in the sky that many climbers wear oxygen masks to be able to breathe near and at the peak. The higher a person climbs up the mountain, the less oxygen there is, making it harder and harder to breathe. An untrained person will become dizzy and light-headed, and he can die if no medical intervention is given. The first two people to climb Mount Everest were Sir Edmund Hillary and his guide, Tenzing Norgay. They wore oxygen masks when they made their historic ascent in 1953. Mount K2 (Godwin Austen) This second tallest mountain is K2, located in Pakistan and China. It was first scaled in 1954 by an Italian team which included Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli. Before this, many climbers in major expeditions tried to reach the peak, all unsuccessfully, and


a lot of people thought that maybe the peak of this mountain wasn’t at all reachable. The 1954 expedition included 11 climbers (one of whom died en route to the peak), six scientists, and no less than 500 porters. Only Compagnoni and Lacedelli actually managed to reach the top. This incredibly remote and challenging mountain peak is so named for being the second mountain in the Karakoram group of mountains (Karakoram-2), as listed by the surveyor T. G. Montgomery in 1856. K2, or Ketu, is sometimes locally referred to as Chogori, which means “Great Mountain.” K2 is also occasionally called Mount Godwin-Austen, in honor of the person who supervised the 1856 survey. Kangchenjunga Also found in the Himalayas on the Nepal/Indian side, this third tallest mountain was thought to be the highest mountain in the world in the past, up to the year 1849. It is also extremely difficult to scale. Aside from its imposing height, it is constantly visited by avalanches and mudslides. The first persons to scale it were the British explorers George Band and Joe Brown in 1955. The local Sikkimese people consider this mountain sacred. Its name means “the Five Treasures of the Great Snow.” There are five other peaks arising from the glaciers around Kangchenjunga. Lhotse This peak was first scaled in 1956 by a Swiss team of mountaineers led by Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger. The group was attempting to climb to the peak of Mount Everest, and they went by Mount Lhotse as an alternative route. Mount Lhotse is in the Central Himalayas, in Nepal and China. Makalu Mount Makalu is also in the Central Himalayas. It is an isolated peak close to Mount Everest. It is beautifully formed, as close to a perfect pyramid as can be, with four sharp ridges that make for a very challenging climb. The mountain is lauded for being perhaps the most structurally stunning in the Himalayan region.


The Five Tallest Mountains in Europe The five tallest mountains in Europe are: 1. Mount Elbrus – with a height of 5,642 meters, located in Russia 2. Mount Dykh-Tau – with a height of 5,205 meters, also found in Russia 3. Mount Shkhara – located 5,201 meters above sea level in Georgia 4. Mount Koshtan-Tau – found in Russia, with a height of 5,152 meters 5. Mount Agri Dagi or Mount Ararat – located in Turkey, at 5,137 meters above sea

level The first four mountains in the list are found in the Caucasus Mountain Range. There gives rise to some controversy, because this mountain range is part of both Europe and Asia (or Eurasia). Turkey, the location of the last mountain in the list, also forms part of Eurasia. If one considers these areas to be part of Europe, then the list of tallest mountains above is accurate. But if one considers them to be Asian, then the list would be inaccurate. The revised list would have Mont Blanc, a mountain in the Italian-French border of the Alps, as the highest mountain in Europe. Traditionally, however, mountaineers and many other people regard Mount Elbrus as the tallest in Europe, whether this is politically or geographically accurate or not. The rest of the mountains of the Caucasus are also considered part of Europe, traditionally speaking. Mount Elbrus used to be known as Mount Strobilus. Legend has it that this was where Prometheus was chained to a rock at the behest of the supreme god Zeus. The mountain is actually an extinct volcano. It is snowy and the summit is ice-capped all year round. It is best climbed in the months of June to September. It was first scaled in 1874 by F. Crauford Grove, A. W. Moore, F. Gardiner, Horace Walker, and Pete Knubel. Once reached, the summit provides a magnificent view of the Caucasus Mountains.


The next tallest European mountain is Mount Dykh-Tau, also part of the Caucasus Mountains. The first persons to successfully climb it, in 1888, were A. F. Mummery and H. Zurfluh. It is a very challenging climb up to this day, because of the steep sides, the snow, and its windswept walls and ridges. Next is Mount Shkhara, found in the Caucasus within the country of Georgia, at an elevation of about 5,193 meters. Like Mount Dykh-Tau, it was first climbed in 1888. The first successful climbers were U. Almer, J. Cockin and C. Roth. This British/Swiss team took the easier North East Ridge route, but there is a much more arduous and difficult route to the top which is called the “Bezingi Wall.” This route is extremely challenging to cross, and only the fittest, most well trained mountaineers attempt it. It was first traversed in 1931 by a team of Austrian mountaineers that included K. Poppinger, K. Moldan, and S. Schintlmeister. Not too far away is Mount Koshtan-Tau, the fourth tallest mountain in Europe. This is located in the Koshtan massif of the central Caucasus range. Geographically, it forms part of Russia, near its Georgian boundary. Finally, the last mountain on the list is perhaps the most world-famous in the group. Mount Ararat in northeast Turkey, also called Mount Agri Dagi, is an extinct volcano that is believed to be the landing site of Noah’s Ark after the biblical Great Flood. This mountain is located near the Iranian and Armenian borders of Turkey, and there is a smaller twin mountain nearby called Little Ararat. Mount Ararat is considered holy by many people. There used to be a small town with a convent and a chapel along its slopes, but these were buried in an earthquake in 1840.


The Five Tallest Mountains in Asia The five tallest mountain peaks in Asia are also the five tallest in the whole world. The reason for this is because the mighty and extensive Himalayan-Karakoram mountain range is home to the fourteen tallest mountains worldwide. This mountain range straddles Tibet (China), Nepal, India and Pakistan. The tallest mountain is, of course, Mount Everest. This imposing mountain is all of 8,850 meters high. This is its latest height, as determined by global positioning satellite (GPS) and radar technology. Mountain Everest, as well as other peaks in the Himalayas, is actually becoming taller with the passing of time, due to the action of tectonic plates underneath. The increase is something like 6 millimeters per year, too small to be detectible by the human senses, but the change can very significant after hundreds or thousands of years. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first persons to climb Mount Everest in 1953. Back then, they estimated it to be 8,840 meters high, which is incredibly accurate given the cruder methods of height estimation at that time. Tibetan locals call the mountain Chomolungma, meaning “goddess of the sky.� The name Everest was adopted by the Royal Geographical Society (in the Great Britain), after one of its surveyor generals of India, Sir George Everest. This English name stuck, and it is now the official name of this magnificent mountain. It is considered a great feat of endurance to climb up to the very summit of Mount Everest. To date, nearly 5,000 people have climbed up to the peak, and some 216 people have died while trying to do so.


The second highest mountain is Mount K2, the original surveyor’s name for it as the second mountain listed in the Karakoram mountain range (Karakoram No. 2). K2 is geographically part of China and Pakistan. It was first scaled on July 31, 1954, by an Italian team of mountaineers led by Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli. Mount K2 is 8,611 meters high, which is pretty close to Mount Everest’s height. But it could be more difficult to climb, because of the extreme cold, some very steep areas, and treacherous conditions. Many people have died trying to scale Mount K2, and many climbing expeditions failed after very well prepared and brave attempts. At one point in time, people believed it was impossible to reach the mountaintop. But with the successful climbing of Mt. Everest, there was renewed enthusiasm among mountaineers to try to reach the top of Mount K2 as well. The local name for Mount K2 is Chogori, which literally translates as “big mountain.” Other people call it Mount Godwin-Austen, after an early explorer named Henry Godwin-Austen. Yet another name for it, less known but very apt, is “the savage mountain.” Mount K2 is believed to be the second hardest-to-climb mountain. It too has the second highest fatality rate; out of every four people who successfully reached its peak, there is one who died in the attempt. No one has ever dared climb it in the harsh winter months. The third, fourth and fifth tallest mountains are: • Mount Kangchenjunga, which is 8,586 meters high, and found in the Nepal-India side of the Himalayas • Mount Lhotse, found in the Nepal-Tibet border, at 8,516 meters above sea level • Mouth Makalu, with an imposing height of 8,463 meters, also found in the NepalTibet area of the Himalayas


The Five Tallest Mountains in America In the two American continents, the five tallest mountains all happen to be located in South America. Specifically, they can all be found in the Argentinian and Chilean mountain regions. The top five tallest mountains are: 1. Mount Aconcagua – measuring 6,962 meters about sea level, located in Argentina 2. Mount Ojos del Salado – found in Chile, rising 6,891 meters above sea level 3. Mount Pissis – also in Argentina, with a height of 6,793 meters 4. Mount Mercedario – rising 6,770 above sea level in the borders of Argentina and Chile 5. Mount Huascarán – located in Peru, with a height of 6,768 meters above sea level The tallest mountain in North America is Mount McKinley in Alaska, U.S.A. It measures 6,194 meters above sea level, hence it doesn’t make it to the Top 5 list. The highest mountain in the Americas, Mount Aconcagua, is found in the Andes mountain range. It is located in Argentina, near its border with Chile. It is one of the socalled Seven Summits, or the highest mountains in each of all the continents in the world. The mountain actually forms part of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. Mount Aconcagua is a snowy peak with many glacier systems. The name of the mountain may have originally meant “sentinel of stone” or “white sentinel.” Mountaineers favor climbing the mountain via an easy northern route. Others prefer a northeastern route through the so-called Polish Glacier. Other routes, especially the one through the southern slopes, are considerably more challenging.


Next in the list is Mount Ojos del Salado. Its complete name is Nevado Ojos del Salado, which means “eyes of the salty river." This name comes from the lagoons or deposits of salt, which look like eyes on the glaciers. The mountain is also a volcano that forms part of the Andes mountain range, located in Argentina and Chile. It has the distinction of being the tallest volcano in the whole world. Climbing the mountain requires a long hike followed by a series of rather difficult climbs before the summit is reached. It was first successfully climbed by Polish mountaineers in 1937. Mount Pissis, or Monte Pissis in the local dialect, is the third tallest peak in the Americas. It is an extinct volcano, found some 550 kilometers north of Mount Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Western hemisphere. Some people believed that Monte Pissis could be actually taller than Mount Ojos del Salado, because a GPS survey once measured the former’s height to be 6,882 meters. But consequent measurements proved the assertion to be false. Like Mount Ojos del Salado, Monte Pissis is also located in the Atacama Desert, hence it is mainly dry, and snow can be found in the peak only during the winter months. The name of the mountain comes from Pedro José Amadeo Pissis, a French geologist who was once employed by the Chilean government. The last two tallest mountains in the list are Mount Mercedario in Argentina and Chile, and Mount Huascarán in Yungay, Peru. Mount Mercedario or Cerro Mercedario is part of the Cordillera de la Ramada mountain range, and it is just about a hundred kilometers away from Mount Aconcagua. Meanwhile, Mount Huascarán or Nevado Huascarán is part of the Cordillera Blanca range of the Western Andes in Peru.


The Tallest Mountain and the Highest Mountain: What Is the Difference? Ask anyone what the highest mountain in the world is, and he would probably reply “Mount Everest.” This answer is correct; Mount Everest is indeed the highest mountain in the world. Its height is measured at 29,035 feet (or 8,850 meters) above sea level, according to the latest, most technologically advanced radar and GPS instruments. Now, ask anyone what the tallest mountain is, and you would probably get the same answer. However, this time, that answer is incorrect. Mount Everest is not the tallest mountain in the world. “The tallest” and “the highest” may sound synonymous to most people, but there is actually a distinction between the two. How high a mountain is, is measured from sea level up to the summit. How tall a mountain is, on the other hand, is measured from its base all the way to the tip or summit. Aside from these two separate ways of measuring mountains, there is even a third method. This is done by measuring the distance from the center of the earth to the summit of the mountain. This is not very commonly done, however, and people rarely hear of it except in in-depth geologic or geographical lectures and discussions. From the criterion of “highness” in a mountain, Mount Everest earns the top spot, because it has the greatest measurement from sea level to summit. But from the standpoint of “tallness”—the measurement from the base to the very tip of the mountain—the top spot goes to Mauna Kea, a volcanic mountain in Hawaii. From base to tip, Mauna Kea measures 33,465 feet. In comparison, from base to tip, Mount Everest measures 29,029 feet, which is 4,436 feet shorter. This height difference translates to more than three-quarters of a mile!


This means that if the two mountains were placed side by side and the ocean level removed from the picture, Mauna Kea would be higher than Mount Everest by about three-fourth of a mile. But if the ocean were placed back in the picture, the peak of Mount Everest would seem higher because a greater part of Mauna Kea would be submerged under the sea. Measured from sea level upward, Mauna Kea stands only 13,796 feet. By human standards—meaning how it would appear to people who lived above sea level (naturally!)—this would seem much shorter than Mount Everest’s imposing 29,035-feet height above sea level. People, because they live on land, perceive Mount Everest to be more than twice as high as Mauna Kea. That explains why Mount Everest is a household name—the highest mountain the world!—and why Mauna Kea is relatively unheard of. Another interesting trivia is that Mount Everest has not reached its full height yet. Its height is actually increasing year after year, though people won’t notice it because the increase is very little—about four to six millimeters in one year. The increase is due to the imperceptible movements of tectonic plates under the ocean bed. Specifically, it is because of the sliding of the Indian Tectonic Plate under the Eurasian Plate. The Indian Tectonic Plate is immediately underneath Mount Everest and other mountains in the Himalayan range. From data available, it is estimated that after about 26,000 years, Mount Everest would have increased in height by about a mile!


The Tallest Mountain in The World