Famous Mountains of the World

Mountains are large land masses that stretch high above the land’s surface to form a peak. Mountains have steep slopes greater than five degrees. By definition a mountain must reach at least 1000 feet from its base. A hill is 501 to 999 feet from its base by contrast and a rolling plain is 500 feet from its highest point. About twenty four percent of the land mass covering the world is mountainous. Most of the rivers on Earth are fed by mountain sources.

There are several different kinds of mountains such as, Volcanoes, which are formed by lava from the top down, Glacial Mountains, which are formed by the movement of a glacier cutting through land, and mountains created by the movement of plate tectonics which causes the faulting and folding of the Earth’s crust. There are many famous mountains of the world but the three most famous are Everest, the tallest in the world, Kilimanjaro, the tallest in the mostly mountain free continent of Africa, and Fuji, the world’s most visited mountain.


Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Mount Everest is 29,029 feet from sea level to the mountain’s summit, making it the highest point on the Earth’s crust. Mount Everest is part of the Himalayan mountain range in Asia and is located on the border of the countries, China, Nepal, and Tibet.

Each country has a different name for the mountain. In China the mountain is called, Mount Qomolangma. In Nepal the mountain is called, Sagarmatha, which means goddess of the sky. The Tibetan name for the mountain is, Chomolungma, which means mother of the earth. The name Everest was given to the mountain by the Royal Geographical Society of England.

Andrew Waugh suggested the name to the Royal Geographical Society in 1865 because he could not find out the local name as Tibet and Nepal were both closed to foreign travelers at that time.

The first two people to reach the summit of Mount Everest were Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay in 1953. From 1953 to 2008 about 2,700 people have reached the summit. Mount Everest is a particularly hard climb due to the mountains elevation and harsh climate. Most climbers on the mountain need to use oxygen tanks to reach the summit as the height of the mountain falls into what climbers call the death zone, an elevation of 23,000 to 26,200 feet. In the death zone oxygen becomes very thin affecting the climber’s brain and nervous system causing the climber to make poor decisions and judgments that can cost them their lives.


Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent. The mountains highest peak is 19,331 feet. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest volcanoes in the world. The origins of the mountain’s name are not clear and there are few theories as to where the name comes from. Many believe the name Kilimanjaro come the Swahili word for mountain or hill. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is technically easy but because of the altitude and relatively low temperature, the mountain climb can become a difficult and sometimes dangerous trek.

About ten climbers a year die while trying to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Because most climbers suffer from altitude sickness to some degree when climbing the mountain it is important for climbers to stop often and get acclimated to the changes in elevation and climate before moving further.


Mount Fuji is an active volcano and the highest peak in Japan at 12,390 feet. Mount Fuji last erupted in 1707. Mount Fuji is a fairly easy climb which is probably one of the reasons it is the most visited mountain in the world. Locally people say about the mountain that anybody would be a fool not to climb Mount Fuji once, but he would be an even bigger fool to do so twice. About 200,000 people climb this mountain every year. A lot of the mountain’s climbers are foreign travelers, about thirty percent.

Mount Fuji is divided into ten stations from the foot of the mountain to its summit. There are paved roads accessible by cars and buses that reach all the way up to the fifth station which is where most people start their climb about 2,300 meters above sea level. The ascent to the summit from the fifth station can take about eight hours and the descent from the summit of the mountain can take between two to five hours.

The mountain is snow capped for several months a year and the climbing season is quite short from the beginning of July to the end of August. The origin of the name Fuji is not clear. The current kanji characters used for the name Mount Fuji stand for wealth and a man with status. A monk was the first person to reach Mount Fuji’s summit in the year 663. The first foreign traveler to reach the summit was Sir Rutherford Alcock in the year 1860.


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