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8848 meters. That’s the height of Mount Everest. Mount Everest is indeed magnificent and has been dubbed “the highest mountain on Earth” but that might not be the case according to science. The highest mountain on Earth is Chimborazo. Located in the Andes mountain range, in Ecuador, Chimborazo is a stratovolcano. So what makes Chimborazo the highest mountain on Earth? It’s location.
Despite all the illustrations in your high school science book, Earth isn’t a perfect sphere. Earth is flat near the poles and bulges outwards at the equator. What that means is that the mountains present on the equator are at a greater distance from the center of the Earth. Chimborazo is present right on the equator while Mount Everest is 28 degrees to the north.
From the center of the Earth, Chimborazo stretches 3,967 miles (6,384 kilometres) while Mount Everest stretches “only” 3,965 miles (6,382 kilometres). The difference of 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) is what makes Chimborazo the tallest mountain on Earth. In fact, when mountains are measured from the center of the Earth, Mount Everest isn’t even in the top twenty.
While Chimborazo may measure the most from the center of the Earth, Mount Everest is still the tallest mountain when measured at sea level. Measured at sea level, Chimborazo measures 20,500 feet (6,248 metres). This falls short of the 8848 metres (the height of Mount Everest) by 8,529 feet (2,600 metres). In fact, Chimborazo isn’t even one of the tallest mountains in Andes Mountain range when measured at sea level. (Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain in Andes Mountain range at 22,828 feet (6,961 metres))
Mountaineers also love Mount Everest so much because of another reason: it’s the hardest climb on the planet. Reaching the Mount Everest’s base camp takes around 10 days. Then the climbers need to spend six week to acclimatize. After that, it takes another 9 days to make it to the top? So what about Chimborazo? The climbers only need two weeks to reach the top.
So if you want to be known as one of the best climbers in the world, then Everest is the mountain you should set your sights on.