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Unnamed Mountains

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The idea of enumerating every mountain on Earth has been on our minds since our first worldwide mountains survey in 2018. Back then, we sieved through and organized the data for more than a million summits from the smallest named bumps up to the mighty Everest. Today, we are happy to present you the results of our digital Earth survey. The planet is blessed with the staggering 1,187,049 named and relatively explored mountains, yet there are still many unnamed peaks. Read more to find out the stats on the unnamed mountains in the world, peak naming opportunities, and very prominent yet almost unknown summits.

First things first - there are 108,706 independent mountains without a proper name in the world!

Independent mountains are those having the topographic prominence of at least 300 meters. Some climbing groups argue that 500 meters cut-off should be used as the qualifier. In that case, there will still be 24,092 unnamed peaks. That’s more than twice the amount of mountains in Switzerland! Where do your first-time-explorer opportunities linger? The Himalayas and the Pamir feature the major bulk of no-namers, the Andes and the Cordiliers are the runner-ups with the Indonesian and Papua New Guinea young mountains and gentle hills closing the top league.

Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park in Alaska scores 40 named mountains and twice as many unnamed.

The major complexity of topographic analysis on a large scale (yes, the Earth is large enough) is the public data inaccuracy. We don’t wish to downplay the level of sophistication of our 3-dimensional surface analytics algorithms, yet, while algorithms can be polished and fine-tuned over time, there’s not much you can do to patch all the spikes in satellite measurements of polar regions or to find proper toponyms in remote corners of the world.

New Ultra-prominent mountains

Ultra-prominent mountains are those enjoying at least 1,500m of topographic prominence. That usually closely correlates with subjective attractiveness and importance for the climbing communities.

While one of the most important findings were the gaps in our peak names database yet we managed to find several dozens of Ultra mountains in the world. Obviously, they are far away from the densely populated Alps and also far from the much wilder Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In fact, there are no unnamed Ultras in Europe and in the contiguous United States.

New ultra prominent mountains by country are listed below. If you happen to know their names, even an unofficial moniker, we kindly ask you to contact us at peakvisor@routes.tips.

US

There are 2 ultras without proper names in the US. Both are in Alaska.

The Granite Range high point in Wrangell–St. Elias National Park.
Elevation: 2,581m / Prominence: 1,591m

Unnamed summit between Richardson Hwy and Copper River.
Elevation: 2,099m / Prominence: 1539m

Canada

There are 3 unnamed ultras in Canada but at least two of them have unofficial names:

A peak at the southeastern end of Baffin Island, Nunavut.
Elevation: 1,828m / Prominence: 1,655m

Faisal Peak near Cassair Hwy, British Columbia.
Elevation: 2,231m / Prominence: 1,662m

Buckwell Peak in British Columbia.
Elevation: 2,709m / Prominence: 1,951m

Russia

The highest point of the 150km-long Terektinsky Ridge of the Altai Mountains is the only unnamed Ultra in Russia. Yet, Chukotka, the Urals and again the Altai can boast of hundreds of unnamed summits, even though not very high ones. Nota bene, if you see the name ‘unnamed’ in Russia, there is a very high likelihood this summit has some military function.

Terektinsky Ridge
Terektinsky Ridge. Source: Wikimedia Commons

China

Being a very mountainous country due to the major bulk of the Himalayas, China unsurprisingly takes the lead in this competition. There seems to be at least a dozen of unknown Ultras. Right now we are communicating with Chinese climbers in order to establish their names. Here are just the most prominent ones.

Unnamed peak of Tian Shan in Xinjian an autonomous territory in northwest China.
Elevation: 5,233m / Prominence: 1,858m

Unnamed peak in Yunnan with a dirt road to the very summit.
Elevation: 4,015m / Prominence: 1,785m

Unnamed peak in Yunnan to the north of world famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Elevation: 4,540m / Prominence: 1,810m

Prominent peaks

In order to deal with thousands of new peaks step by step we split data into regions. In the US, there are 7,686 unnamed summits with prominence more than 300 meters / 984ft but the vast majority of them are in Alaska. Here’s a map of contiguous 48 states to prove that you can have plenty of adventure even on the US mainland.

879 unnamed peaks in lower 48
879 unnamed peaks in lower 48

Here are just several peaks from this chart:

Unnamed peak west of scenic Mount Sopris, Colorado.
Elevation: 3,234m / Prominence: 474m

Unnamed peak in the Lost Creek Wilderness Area, Colorado.
Elevation: 3,418m / Prominence: 332m

Unnamed peak in the Mokelumne Wilderness, California.
Elevation: 2,809m / Prominence: 324m

Unnamed peak in Nevada between Moho Mountain and Miller Mountain.
Elevation: 2,331m / Prominence: 529m

Unnamed peak north of Hampton, Tennessee.
Elevation: 978m / Prominence: 345m

Mokelumne Wilderness
Mokelumne Wilderness near an unnamed peak.

In contrast, here’s a map of naming prospects in Alaska. There are a whopping 6,807 of them!

Alaska no-name peaks
Obviously Alaska boasts much more exploration opportunities. That comes at the price of extreme remoteness and accompanying challenges.

With thousands of prominent mountains without proper names we are asking you to help us investigate them. While investigation is a gripping activity on its own, it is also an important prerequisite to get a naming attempt. If you are interested in this, then please contact us at peakvisor@routes.tips.

Moving mountains is a proverbially tough and seemingly impossible task. Naming mountains is no easier. According to Confucius “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones”. The first stones have been carried away. Now, together we can pave the way towards new names in the world of mountains. Here’s a good overview of how to name a mountain in Colorado. Why not make it a world-wide list?

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