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Updated by GOAT Series Staff on Apr 17, 2018
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Greatest Mountain of All Time

What is the greatest mountain of all time?

1

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

If you live on planet Earth and know anything about geography, chances are you’re familiar with the towering specter that is Mount Everest, even if you’ve never seen it in person. This mountain is actually the tallest on Earth, towering at a massive 29,029 feet above sea level, and it is one of the highest points on Earth overall. It is located in the Himalayan Mountains, and it’s one of the most climbed, most sought-out, and most talked-about mountains ever. There have been a fair share of tragedies on this mountain, especially those that took place in 1996 when eight climbers died camping out on the side of the slope, and another fifteen were killed in an avalanche, and the location is not ideal for seeing a bunch of other sights, since it’s smack dab in the middle of the Himalayan range. However, it can be seen from most of Nepal and Tibet, and for those who do decide to make the climb, it is something memorable that will last a lifetime.

Location: Between Nepal and Tibet | Range: The Himalayas | Height: 29,029 ft. | Climate: Very cold and unpredictable

Nearby Attractions: The rest of the Himalayan mountains | Legend: Everything above 26,000 feet is called the death zone because of the extremely low temperatures and low amount of oxygen | Fun Fact: In 1996 eight climbers died, and then later 15 people were killed in an avalanche

2

Matterhorn

Matterhorn

This awesome mountain, located between Italy and Switzerland in the Pennine section of the Swiss Alps, towers above all the rest at a staggering 14,692 feet. For years people in both countries saw the peak and wanted to climb it, but feared it would be totally impossible because of the height and the distance from the beginning of the range on either side. Finally, in the mid1800s, the Swiss surmounted the peak for the first time, after one failed attempt, and when they were successful, the Italians did the same, just to prove they could. This mountain has become a staple of the Alps, and the tall and bent peak has come to symbolize the rich tradition of Swiss culture in general. The Matterhorn is right by two lovely countries, it is beautiful, and it is an excellent climb to make in the spring or summer. It is also one of the tallest and most impressive mountains out there.
Location: Border of Switzerland and Italy | Range: Pennine Alps | Height: 14,692 ft. | Climate: Rapid weather changes, lots of snow

Nearby Attractions: Other mountains in the alps to climb and the Swiss and Italian countryside | Legend: Until it was first climbed, it was feared for its shape and how intense it looked, and thought to be otherworldly. | Fun Fact: The Swiss were the first to climb, and not to be outdone, the Italians followed suite a few months later, so that the mountain was climbed by both bordering countries.

3

Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro

These huge mountain in African Tanzania is special because it is the tallest free-standing peak in the world, not just on the African continent. This mountain reaches 19,341 feet, and it is not a part of any particular mountain range, it is located on the plains of the desert. It is right near the idyllic small African town of Moshi, which is another great attraction to visit in the area in addition to the surrounding nature. Technically, this is a dormant volcanic mountain, as it is topped by three cones that are inactive as of today. The name means “mountain of greatness” or “mountain of caravans” in the native tongue of the Wakamba people, due to its towering size. The peak of Kilimanjaro is so high that it is one of the only places in Africa to receive regular snow, and there is usually unpredictable weather on the top. This mountain is a great climb and the best and highest attraction on the African continent.

Location: Tanzania | Range: Free-standing, no range | Height: 19,341 ft. | Climate: warm and sunny, arid, volcanic, icy cap on top
Nearby Attractions: Near the idyllic town of Moshi | Legend: Legend has it that ancient people called it "Njaro" meaning "shining" - which may be the true origin of the name | Fun Fact: These volcanoes are still active today

4

Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa

Technically, this is not a mountain, because it is an active volcano, which is why it rises to 30,085 feet, even higher than Mount Everest, but is not considered to be the tallest mountain in the world. This is one of the five volcanos that formed the island of Hawaii, and today, since it has been dormant since the 80s, it is an attraction for climbing and exploring, as well as one of the great sights to be seen in Hawaii. It is also right near the wonderful beaches and cities of this small but idyllic island. The name means “long mountain,” and although it is a climbing spot for many, it still poses some threat, as it may erupt again and it is hard to determine exactly when this will happen. However, this mountain makes the skyline in Hawaii absolutely beautiful and breathtaking, and sets the tone for whole state.

Location: One of the five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii | Range: NA | Height: 30,085 ft. | Climate: Tropical at the base, Periglacial at the summit
Nearby Attractions: Centrally located in beautiful Hawaii | Legend: There are some claims of eruptions in the 1700s by missionaries, but these have not been geographically confirmed | Fun Fact: The tallest point on Mars

5

Olympus Mons

Olympus Mons

If you haven’t heard of a mountain that towers 69,649 ft. above sea level, almost three times the size of Mount Everest, that’s because it doesn’t exist on Earth. Olympus Mons is on Mars, and it is the tallest mountain known to mankind so far, based on what we have explored. It was once an active volcano, and beyond that, not much is known about this mysterious mound, aside from the fact that it can be seen from space, along with the great red dot. While this may not be a mountain on Earth, or an attraction that any of us can get to or check out, it certainly is one of the most epic and amazing mountains of all time, and hopefully someday, when we walk on Mars, it can be visited in person.

Location: Mars | Range: One of the volcanoes on the surface of Mars | Height: 69,649 ft. | Climate: No oxygen, not suitable for humans

Nearby Attractions: Dude, it’s Mars | Legend: Originally people thought mars was once populated and covered with water, but we now know that isn't true | Fun Fact: The tallest point on Mars

6

K2

K2

This impressive mountain is the second tallest in the world, second only to the great Mount Everest. The peak is located in the Karakoram Range, between China and Pakistan. The name comes from the original survey of the region, when the whole area was analyzed and each Karakoram Mountain was numbered, but no other name ever stuck. This is probably fitting, since this mountain is so cold and inaccessible. It is surrounded by high peaks and melting glaciers, and is so difficult to climb that no one has ever attempted it during the winter, as such a try would surely be fatal. This mountain may not be on your bucket list unless you are really serious about the outdoors, but it certainly is worth viewing from afar, and it is an epic sight to see.

Location: Between Pakistan and China | Range: Karakoram Range | Height: 28,251 ft. | Climate: So cold and intense that it has never been climbed during Winter

Nearby Attractions: Bordered by mountains and melted glaciers, not easily accessible | Legend: The mountain was originally named as part of the geographical survey for its place in the range, but when the mountains were renamed, the name for K2 never stuck. This been said to be fitting for its cold, impersonal nature and isolation. | Fun Fact: The mountain is so high that oxygen is suggested for use at the top

7

Pike's Peak

Pike's Peak

This Colorado staple is found West of Colorado Springs, right in the middle of the state. While it is not the highest mountain on the Front Range or in Colorado, it has become a trademark of the area, since it was right in the heart of the Gold Rush during all the action. Although there was never a lot of gold found on the mountain itself, it still became a symbol of this time in history. The mountain was originally called “long mountain” by the Arapahoe, and stands at 14,115 feet, as one of Colorado’s fourteeners. It’s also easily accessible from Colorado Springs and all the other nearby areas, and a great place to visit as a tourist attraction.

Location: West of Colorado Springs in Colorado | Range: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains | Height: 14,115 ft. | Climate: snowy at the top but in an otherwise fairly arid and dry area

Nearby Attractions: Pike National Forest, Colorado Springs | Legend: Pike's Peak was known during the Gold Rush as a symbol of awaiting gold, but in reality there was never a lot of gold discovered on the mountain; it was just the tallest mountain in the area so it became a symbol | Fun Fact: The Arapahoe called it "long mountain"

8

Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu

This gorgeous mountain overshadows the Peruvian town of Machu Picchu, and rises to 8,920 feet above sea level. The mountain is special because it is inlaid with carved stairs and temple openings from ancient times, when the mountain was considered a holy place by local residents. Apparently, the priest of the area used to live on top of the mountain, and the temples around it were for his followers and religious ceremonies. Today, many visitors climb the easily surmountable peak and walk around on the ruins, and it is a great sight to behold from down below in Machu Picchu.

Location: Peru | Range: Machu Picchu Mountain Range | Height: 8,920 ft. | Climate: Warm and temperate, but can get snowy on top, foggy

Nearby Attractions: Machu Picchu | Legend: Used to be considered a holy, or blessed place | Fun Fact: It is surrounded by beautiful temples carved into the rock

9

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley

This impressive mountain in Alaska is the tallest in the Alaskan Range, reaching 20,237 feet above sea level. It was beloved by the Koyukan Athabaskans who lived near the base, and the first American to discover it was George Vancouver. Today this mountain is rarely climbed because of how high and hard to reach it is, but it is gorgeous to behold from the ground, and a challenge for serious climbers. This may not be a climb for the faint of heart, but it is at least worth checking out.

Location: Alaska | Range: Alaskan Range | Height: 20,237 ft. | Climate: Extremely cold and frigid

Nearby Attractions: Very isolated, but near other mountains in the Alaskan range | Legend: The mountain was considered dangerous and treacherous, and not actually climbed until 1963 | Fun Fact: This is the third tallest mountain in North America

10

Mount Tamalpais

Mount Tamalpais

This mountain is by far the shortest on the list, reaching only 2,574 feet at its highest point. However, its location in the heart of the Bay Area and the astounding views of the mountains, ocean, and city from the top make this a spot you will certainly want to visit. It has also become a staple attraction for those visiting San Francisco. The name of the mountain is literally translated to “West Hill,” and it was once the home of a railroad and a weather station. When the mountain was first discovered, some believed the name was a reference to the “Sleeping Maiden” legend, but this turned out not to be the case. While this might not be the most epic or breathtaking mountain of all time, it certainly is one of the most culturally relevant.

Location: Marin Country, California | Range: Marin Hills - part of California Costal Ranges | Height: 2,574 ft. | Climate: Warm and temperate, foggy

Nearby Attractions: San Francisco, the Bay Area, the Mount Tamalpais State Park | Legend: Some think the name is actually a Native American reference to the "sleeping maiden" legend, but that is actually a Victorian-era legend, and the name just refers to the location | Fun Fact: David Carpenter, a serial killer, murdered a few people on the trail at this mountain, and he was known as the "trailside killer."