Climbing the tallest mountains has always been an obsession of mankind and travelers around. And its always cool to scale some peaks and enjoy those vistas. But going beyond Everest’s base camp is a bridge too far for us average backpacking hikers. But do not despair. There is an easier way to climb the planet’s tallest mountain!

So you thought the question was easy: “What’s the highest mountain on our planet?”
You will say: Mount Everest.
Wrong!! It all depends how you measure!
Cause there is a couple of different ‘highest mountains’ on our planet.

Everest is indeed the highest mountain, but only as measured as the distance above sea level. 29,028 feet or 8,848 meters

However what would happen if all the oceans and seas in the world would evaporate. Then we would have to measure the mountains by their distance to the center of the earth. What would be the tallest mountain on earth then?!

Or what if we would define the highest mountain as the one with the greatest distance between its base and its peak?! And we would include all those underwater mountains whose little tip we only perceive as islands?!

In both those cases Mount Everest is definitely not the highest anymore.

If all the water would evaporate we would have to measure the mountains by their peak distance from the center of the earth. Given the fact that the  Earth is not a sphere – it is an oblate spheroid (think egg shaped) – some mountains have an advantage being on the ‘top side of the egg’.
Mount Chimborazo in the Ecuadorian Andes triumphs at this. Although it stands but 20,561 feet (6,267 meters) above sea level, its peak is the farthest from the earth’s center at a distance of 3,968 miles (6,384.4 kilometers).

Cat #01-36-35 Chimborazo volcano and sheep herd

Measured from base to peak we have to go look under the sea level. Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, although only 13,803 ft or 4,207 m above sea level, rises an astonishing 33,476 feet (10,203 meters) from the depths of the Pacific Ocean floor. Measuring from base to peak therefore, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on earth

maunakea_0

So if you want to climb the tallest mountain on earth don’t despair. Both Chimborazo and Mauna Kea are relatively easy to scale (given a certain fitness) and afterwards you can always claim you climbed the tallest mountain on earth!

And that’s exactly what i did myself the other day by climbing Mount Chimborazo. 10-hours of plowing through knee deep snow got me to a snow covered top with (unfortunately) no vista at all.
But I did climb ‘the tallest’ mountain on earth!

No vista at the top of Mount Chimborazo

 

 

Sources: wikipedia, tnt.org