Graphic comparing highest mountains

04 Jun
Graphic comparing highest mountains

In mountaineering, 8000m peaks are the ultimate test of high-altitude climbing. It so happens that there are 14 Eight-thousanders. In 1986 Reinhold Messner became the first person to have climbed all 14 8000m peaks. It has become a coveted trophy of mountaineering, with only about 30 people having done so since.

A different, but somewhat related challenge is to climb the highest mountain on every continent, the so-called Seven Summits. This was first completed by Dick Bass in 1985. It has become a more mainstream mountaineering challenge, and about 300 people have repeated that feat. That has also lead to significant and often problematic overcrowding on those seven summits.

Interestingly, it was noted that the second highest mountain on each continent is typically harder to climb than the highest. Hence yet another challenge was born to complete the first ascent of the Seven Second Summits. Hans Kammerlander claims to have done so in 2010 – although some doubts have arisen regarding whether he stood on the right summit on Mount Logan, Canada. Others have suggested combining the Seven Summits and the Seven Second Summits, giving again 14 peaks.

On the Wikipedia page I found an interesting graphic comparing the 14 Eight-thousanders with the Seven + Seven Second Summits. It was created by Cmglee and shared on the Wikipedia page.

Comparison of highest mountains (Source: Wikipedia)

This is an interesting chart, created as .svg file and thus rendering in high definition on large wide-format screens. It is also interesting to follow the revision history on the talk page and the suggestions about coloring and labeling coming from interested readers. In some ways, this shows how published charts can be improved collaboratively. Contributor ‘Cmglee’ has contributed several .svg graphics to Wikipedia as per the User talk page, including a 5-set Venn diagram, life-expectancy bubble charts and Earthquake intensity bubble charts.

I have a personal interest in mountaineering. In 2009-2010 I embarked on my own adventure of a lifetime called the ‘Panamerican Peaks’. Cycling between Alaska and Patagonia (Panamerican Highway) and Climbing the highest mountain of every country along the way. You can find out more about that adventure on my Panamerican Peaks website. Coincidentally, there are a minimum of 14 countries and peaks in that set as well: United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina.

Position and elevation of 14 Panamerican Peaks

Prior to starting my adventure journey I had mapped out the height of those 14 mountains. Interestingly, except for a few peaks in Central America, the country high-points get higher the further North or South they are located.

Heights of 14 Panamerican Peaks

Four of those peaks are included in the Seven (Second) Summit lists above: Denali, Logan (North America) and Aconcagua, Ojos (South America). It would be great to include the other 10 Panamerican Peaks in a similar graphic. About time for me to look into generating .svg graphics…

And sure enough, Wikipedia contributor Cmglee provided me with a version of the above .svg chart comparing the 14 Panamerican Peaks with the 14 Seven (Second) Summits as follows:

Comparison of 14 Panamerican Peaks with Seven (Second) Summits

Thanks to Cmglee for the quick turn-around.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Recreational


One response to “Graphic comparing highest mountains

  1. cmglee

    March 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Thomas,

    Great article! Funny I came across it just now after almost a year of our correspondence. Thanks, too, for your kind words.

    All the best in your future mountaineering endeavours!


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