The mountain that looks the tallest?

(I apologize in advance if this has already been asked and answered. I could not find it after searching.)

O.K., we all know that Mt. Everest is the tallest (above sea level), but the base is already pretty high (approximately 17,600 feet). That makes for about a 10,400 vertical between the peak and the base.

What mountain has the greatest distance between its base and its peak?

IIRC it’s the tallest peak in the Hawaiian islands, whatever that’s called. The base is effectively the seafloor nearby.

If you are talking about mountains on land, it might just be Kilimanjaro. It is a volcano, and not in a range per se. I have heard it called “the tallest mountain without other mountains around it.” That’s a pretty unscientific measurement, but it might well look taller than Everest from the base.

Well, unless you can see the top of Mauna Loa from the sea floor, then this really doesn’t respond to my question.

Mauna Loa is 13,677 feet above sea level, If you can see the peak from the beach, then Everest has it beat by about 6,500 feet.

You said Everest has 10,400’ between base and peak. If Mauna Loa has 13,677’ as you say then it beats Everest handily.

So you require a direct line of sight? That’s not the same as peak<->base, of course.

I’m not sure about Mauna Loa, but I’ve seen the summit of Mauna Kea (13,796 ft) from the beach.

It’s a pretty long distance though. It doesn’t look as impressive as some other mountains I’ve seen, e.g. Matterhorn.

Thanks for the reply. According to my google search (infallible, right? :smiley: ), Kilimanjaro’s peak is 19,340 feet above sea level and the base is about 3000 feet.

That beats Everest, but is it the biggest?

See what happens when I post messages late at night? My ability to do simple mathematical calculations goes out the window. :smack:
scr4 is on to something, though: Even if you can see the summit of the Hawaiian volcanoes from the beach, they’re so far away, that it might not be as impressive as other mountains with a smaller distances between base and peak.

I admit that my initial question is hopelessly vague, but I think you guys get the drift.

What are your conditions here? Does there need to be no water betwen you and the peak? Why can’t I stand on a neighboring island or a boat and look at the Hawaiian mountains? Is it only salt water that discounts, or do we have to discount Kilamanjaro because we have to look across rivers or streams to see it?

For what it’s worth: Mauna Kea as seen from Kona. The little gray dots on the summit are astronomical observatories.

Blake, my friend, you may gaze upon the Hawaiian peaks in your underwear on a bamboo raft if that is your desire.

As I have already admitted, my question is vague and resists precise parameters. However, as scr4 has astutely observed, there comes a point when you are so far away from the peak at issue that the question I am asking becomes less interesting.

Perhaps on a clear day, you could see the peak of Everest from 70 miles away while standing at an altitude of a mere 10,000 feet. If so, then (assuming the math part of my brain is working) Everest would be in the lead with a 19,000 foot vertical drop. However, the 19,000 vertical drop from 70 miles away probably wouldn’t seem as impressive as the 10,400 vertical drop you’d see from base camp.


My National Geographic’s Guide to the State Parks mentions this:

That also surpasses the quoted figures for Kilimanjaro and Mauna Loa (measured from sea level).

The guide also mentions McKinley can be seen from 95 miles away (weather permitting), but it does not make the claim that it’s the tallest mountain in the world as measured from the base (which is going to depend somewhat on your definition of “base”, anyway).


That was the sound of “nothing but net” as Cabbage sinks a 3 pointer from downtown.

Except that he got Denali’s name wrong.

How did he get it wrong?

He successfully directed my attention to the mountain in question.

The name “Mt. McKinley” is perfectly acceptable. Even the National Park Service of the United States of friggin’ America calls it “Mt. McKinley” on its website: Denali National Park & Preserve (U.S. National Park Service)

I think what you meant to say is that he didn’t use the alternate name “Denali.” While “Denali” is also acceptable, neither is “wrong.”

I have frequently heard that McKinley is the highest mountain (on land) in the world as measured from its base, and many sites support this, for example here:

Source: Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

FWIW, the last time I was there common usage in Alaska seemed to be Denali for the Park and McKinley for the peak. YMMV.