Mount Everest is Not The Tallest Mountain

“Well, we knocked the bastard off!” —Sir Edumund Hilary

In a Nutshell

When discussing mountains, there is a huge difference in definition between ‘tallest’ and ‘highest’. Mount Everest is the highest, but the tallest mountain on earth is actually in Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The Whole Bushel

When asked what the highest mountain on earth is most would have no problem identifying Mount Everest and they would be completely correct. But when asked about the tallest mountain most would probably say Everest again, not understanding that in mountain measuring terms you just asked them a completely different question. When measuring mountains there are many things to remember. While there is still debate over exactly how to measure a mountain and what even classes as a mountain, there are a few things that persist. The slope, elevation, volume, and steepness among other things all need to be taken into account but them main misconception surrounds height.

Mount Everest is the highest, but the tallest is actually Mauna Kea in Hawaii. This is because ‘highest’ is defined as a measure of mean sea level to summit, while ‘tallest’ is a measurement from the bottom of the mountain to the top. From it’s base to it’s tip, Mauna Kea measures 33,465 feet. In comparison, from base to tip, Mount Everest comes in at a measly 29,029 feet, shorter by more than 4000 feet.

With sea level hypothetically removed from the picture, if the two mountains were placed next to each other Mauna Kea would be taller, but because a huge amount of it is under the sea and invisible to most of us the issue of height becomes blurred. Some even believe Mount Kilimanjaro is taller than everest because it rises straight from the African plain while Everest sits atop the Himalayas.

Show Me The Proof

World’s Highest Mountains – World’s Tallest Mountain – and World’s Largest Mountain Mount Everest has some rivals!
LiveScience: World’s Highest Mountain Summits

  • Anthony Jaymes Annis-Rastaette

    Also, when it comes to highest mountain from base to peak, Mt. McKinley (Denali) takes the cake.

  • Phil_42

    Love this site! I find that after reading the articles on this new site all I seem to say to myself is, ‘Um… Cool’

    • Awesome to hear! Thanks for the feedback Phil.

      • P5ychoRaz

        Just curious: what motivated you to start up this site, Jamie?

  • Stalin

    as usual USA people dont get it. Same as brainwashed Mao-chinese

  • anonymouse72

    What happens to K2 then?

    • P5ychoRaz

      It’s the 2nd highest mountain on earth. Still holdin’ it’s ground at no2

  • rhijulbec

    Love this! More food for thought! Thanks for this article. Fascinating.

  • rhijulbec

    Jamie…brilliant! Clever boy. Really, really like this site. Bits and pieces to chew on and facts turning out to be rumour…love it.


    Just a side note: Wouldn’t it be better to use words like elevation and altitude instead of tall and high.

    Because there isn’t much distinction for the latter.

  • Akshat Sonar

    No you are wrong! Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain ever to be discovered by the man.:)

    • EDDY


  • a.b

    and then there were three…
    The mountain top of the Chimborazo in Equador is the point farthest away from the center of the earth.

  • Michael Lorton

    “It’s tip”? “It’s”? “It’s”?

  • Hillyard

    Interesting, neat fact to be used in betting games.

  • Allen Perera

    the highest unnamed mountain is under the sea. about 3 times higher.

  • Ben Holman

    I’d like to know how they determine what the “base” is. You could continue following the continent of Asia down into the ocean and then measure Everest from the bottom of the sea and call that its “base.”

    • Bill Norton

      If a smart ass was measuring it sure

      • Matthew Gaunt

        Nah man he’s right. The smart arse is the one who starts using angles of slope to determine that the base is under water. Fuck that shit, the highest mountain is the one that I can stand on and no-one can look down on me from any other mountain top.

        • Aaron Diveley

          But K9 is taller than Everest in the winter. Which one would be the tallest by your standards?

          • Arooj Rajput

            no it’s wrong

          • Hoolrang

            Another great contribution Arooj.
            Love your work.

          • Matthew Gaunt

            The one which is taller at the time. I don’t see why this debate is so complex. If you’re standing on a mountain’s summit, and there is someone on another peak who (if the peaks were side by side) could look down on you, then I think you’d feel a bit silly looking up to them and telling them you were actually on the tallest or highest mountain. I think the response would be “wtf lol”.

        • Arooj Rajput

          stupid one you are using very rubbish world.. idiot

    • TheKingJAK

      The obvious difference is that you’d have to leave the Himalayas in order to do that, whereas Mauna Kea and the other Hawaiian volcanoes go straight into the ocean without interruption.

    • Eic Ksg

      Just what I was looking for, Marina trench is the deepest measuring trench with more than 11 km in depth. Also since Everest is rising at about 8 feet a year (due to collision of EU plate with Asian), we have changing numbers as we speak. 🙂

  • Dean

    If you are talking about base to summit elevation everest is really only around 15 feet. The plateau on which Everest sits ranges from 13k to 17k feet.

  • emmanuel

    you all are wrong mount Everest is the biggest mountain on earth

    • Sadie Legrande

      But thats irrelevant.

    • GD_MayhemBall

      try reading the whole thing first before you even comment dumbass!

  • Pascalis Claudius Lotinggi

    I wonder what the position of Sabah’s Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo is when compared to the other mountains in the world.

  • Raghuram Shetty

    In that case Mariana Deep may be tallest! Disappointed that you’ve Hilary’s disgusting quote (instead of reflecting on divine feelings of locals as “Holy Mother”, he called ’em “bastards”?!). He was neither the first to climb (Tena Singh was) nor climbed himself (literally carried by Sherpas/hill folks who also carried all luggages until last 50m). Everest himself opposed naming mountain after him (neither the first nor the accurate measure!) as ancient name “Chomolungma” and many more existed. Touring across the world, Its funny how European explorers used local help to see a well known remote spot (lake, canyon, volcanoes, mountain) and renamed after them. Interestingly every guide mentions ancient names / history in every sport but the new name remains! When this corruption/known slavery/hidden racism be gone from earth?! No offense to current Europeans, just the lingering past.

    • GD_MayhemBall

      were talking about mountains not Trenches!

  • Lin Lee

    No! Mauna Kea isn’t even a mountain, it’s a volcano, Mauna Kea
    Elevation: 13,796′ (4,205 m)
    Last eruption: 2460 BC
    First ascent: 1823
    Prominence: 13,796′ (4,205 m)
    Mount Everest is a mountain, and
    Elevation: 29,029′ (8,848 m)
    First ascent: May 29, 1953
    Prominence: 29,029′ (8,848 m)

    • GD_MayhemBall

      Mauna Kea is an “Inactive” Volcano Idiot

  • Sushovan Sinha

    In fact, if we measure from the centre of the earth, Chimborazo,
    a 6267 meters mountain in Ecuador, is the highest point. This is because
    Chimborazo lies just one degree south of the equator. The Earth bulges at its
    midsection, so Ecuador’s sea level sits farther from the planet’s canter than

  • Kama Ki

    Central base of Hawaii, to summit of Maunakea, is over 59,000 feet. How tall is Olympus Mons, from central base to summit?

  • rafher123

    How about just measuring from the Earth mantle !?

  • Arooj Rajput

    look at your question you said that , ”taller” and ”highest” are two different terms then why you are critisizing to this answer that mountain everest is not highest ,,, mauna kea is just a taller it is not sure yet that really is it or not??? so the correct answer is just mountain everest in all conditions …….. 🙂

    • GD_MayhemBall

      Some Articles Say Mauna Kea is the largest,its above +10,000 Meters Above Sea Floor

  • tonypace

    If a 5’2″ woman is standing next to a 6′ man, he is taller than her by 10 inches. If she stands on a chair 18 inches off the floor, she is now 8 inches taller than the man, right? Wrong. She is 8 inches higher than the man, depending on how much booze they had to feed her to get her to climb onto the chair. But she is still only 5’2″ tall. Tallness is measured from base to peak, or, for the less enlightened, bottom of the foot to the top of the head. In terms of actual tallness, Everest is a dwarf among mountains. Although its peak (head) is 29,000 feet above sea level, its base (foot) is on the Tibetan plateau (chair) 16,000 feet above sea level so that it is actually only 13,000 feet tall.

  • Paul Black

    Nippletop in the Adirondacks is taller in the winter than in the summer.

  • Everest or Mauna Kea ?!…

  • Rahul dev
  • Robert W Humphrey

    While the summit of Mount Everest is the highest point on the Earth above sea level, the summit of Chimborazo is the farthest place on the surface of the Earth from its exact center, a distance of 3,968 miles (6,384.4 kilometers). It’s important to remember that the Earth is not a perfect sphere but instead bulges out at its equator. Chimborazo is only one degree south of the equator, while Mount Everest is 28 degrees north. Chimborazo’s summit is 2.1 kilometers farther from the Earth’s center than Everest.

  • Rex

    Some consider Mt. Lamlam in Guam to be tallest. From peak to bottom (the Marianas Trench) is 37,820 feet.

  • Euclid A. LoGiudice

    According to the brochure from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Geologists who work there; Mauna Loa is the tallest mountain on Earth when measured from it’s base to it’s summit in the center of the mountain because it’s the most massive and heavy mountain on Earth and presses the mantel down thousands of feet! According to these geologists; Mauna Loa is a grand total of 56,000ft.! Not only is Mauna Loa the tallest mountain on Earth and the most massive but it’s the most massive active volcano as well!

  • Euclid A. LoGiudice
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