It’s always a bummer when you get to know that the best thing in the world… isn’t actually THE best. It just wins that title only on account of technicality. This is also the case with our beloved Mount Everest, the highest mountain on planet Earth… or so it seems.
Sorry mountaineers, but even though you’ve been ‘technically’ preparing rigorously for the tallest and toughest climb in the world, you’ve been duped by the planet itself. Let me explain.
Chimborazo is THE tallest mountain of the Earth, measured from the center upwards. And Everest is nowhere in competition with it.
The shape of our planet is well known. It is flat on the top and bottom and bulges out from the equator. Hence, any mountains placed in this region have a significant advantage over others. Which brings us to Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. And Everest is nowhere in competition with it. Mountains are traditionally measured from sea-level upwards, which gives the prize to Mount Everest. But other mountains are taller than it, untraditionally speaking.
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain if measured from sea-level, but it is far from that if you start measuring from the center of the Earth.
Even Mauna Kea in Hawaii is way taller than Mount Everest. The difference lies in the way it is measured. Due to rising water levels from time immemorial, part of Mauna Kea is submerged under water. So if measured from the actual base underwater, Mauna Kea is also higher that Mount Everest, by a long measure.
Chimborazo is also easier to climb than Mount Everest.
While it takes more than two months to prepare and summit Mount Everest, Chimborazo can be easily scaled in about two weeks. This mountain is also an inactive volcano, last believed to have erupted around 1466 years ago.
So next time you make travel plans and want to scale the highest mountain in the world, you have more than one option.