What Counts as a Mountain?

  • Published on Aug 14, 2017
  • I'm at the top of Mount Evans, more than 14,000 feet - 4.3km - above sea level. This is definitely a mountain: but why doesn't the smaller summit next to it also count? Let's talk about prominence. (Just not for too long, I'm getting low on oxygen.)
    I'm at tomscott.com
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Comments • 1 146

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  2 years ago +1723

    Please keep any "getting high in Colorado" jokes in this thread. (And yes, I forgot to tuck away my headphone wire - that's so I can listen to the microphone output and catch any wind noise. The wind was brisk up there!)

    • Zachary Reed
      Zachary Reed 7 days ago

      So did you partake?

    • Justin
      Justin 18 days ago

      Tom Scott Tom, you were easily one of the highest people in all of Colorado! Impressive for someone that doesn’t partake

    • Papa Grounds
      Papa Grounds Month ago

      I love how perfectionist you are. I also used to be but then I got high in Colorado 😂

    • Inmehmeh
      Inmehmeh 3 months ago


    • Elbert van Barreveld
      Elbert van Barreveld 4 months ago

      Did you say mount Elbert?
      Please don't encourage people, i don't want back problems.

  • Benton Jackson
    Benton Jackson 10 days ago

    Look up "Kobe Mountain" in Florida. 89 feet above sea level. The highest point south of Okeechobee.

  • brandtfj
    brandtfj 12 days ago

    When you shovel your driveway after a snowfall, you end up with snow piles....when a shopping center clears a parking lot of snow with big equipment you end up with a mountain of snow in the corner of the lot.....

  • Lauri Lehtiaho
    Lauri Lehtiaho 12 days ago +1

    This is sort of similar to measuring the coastline problem. Depending on how you define "a mountain" you get different results, just like the length of the coastline varies with the stick you use to measure it.

  • Andrew E
    Andrew E 19 days ago

    Yo mamma?

  • Andrew Meronek
    Andrew Meronek 20 days ago

    What's the difference between a mountain and a hill? Change in climate from bottom to top? How hard it kicks your butt if you walk up it? Absolute height above sea level? Prominence? Local convention?

  • Ferdinand Rosenthal
    Ferdinand Rosenthal 25 days ago

    I thought it was any natural profusion more than 300km above sea level

  • Steven Chain
    Steven Chain Month ago

    Having lived within sight of Mt. Evans for many years, we in Colorado referred to anything less than 8,000 ft. as a foothill (hills at the foot of the mountains). Mountains were all above 8,000 ft. above sea level.

    SHIFTY Month ago

    Absolutely stunning views.

  • Marcus Cross
    Marcus Cross Month ago

    If it looks like a mountain and quacks like a mountain, it's a mountain.

  • Patrick A. Crawley
    Patrick A. Crawley Month ago

    kil' o metre
    kilom' etre
    and I think it's 1000 feet, not 300 metres.

  • Helmond de gekste!!

    Come to the Netherlands, where a hill higher than 3 meters is a mountain in our eyes!!

  • ModeratelyTrumpet
    ModeratelyTrumpet Month ago +1

    Thank you, Tom. I often find myself thinking "Is this a hill or a mountain?"

  • Jasper Force
    Jasper Force Month ago

    The highest natural point in Auckland, NZ's capital city, is 260 metres high (Rangitoto island) so is basically only 40 metres short of that "Mountain" definition. In contrast, all of our highest peaks in both the south and the north islands are mosly tall enough or isolated enough that they can be identified as not just another bump in the landscape.

  • GOAlposT
    GOAlposT Month ago

    To me if it's got snow/ice on top it's a mountain. Everything else is a hill. If you can climb it with Jays it's not a mountain.

  • Sauga Verse
    Sauga Verse Month ago +1

    They have the same problems when trying to define how much shoreline a country has.
    The more jagged the shoreline, the longer you can claim it is.
    Anyways, a topic for another video.

  • Zack Akai
    Zack Akai Month ago

    Come to Florida. Here just being 30m above sea level is enough to get you called "Mount Something."

  • 224rebels
    224rebels Month ago

    Forgot to record the outro 😁

  • Someone
    Someone Month ago

    Wow american 4000 meter mountains really do look boring, ya shouldve climbed a mountain in the alps instead

  • Midgard Eagle
    Midgard Eagle Month ago

    Wow, TVclip recommends me a Tom Scott video I never knew existed. Good job, algorithm!

  • Dave Pawson
    Dave Pawson Month ago

    My dad has a mountain in Antarctica named after him while I have a pimple that just won't go away.

  • 800Viffer
    800Viffer Month ago +1

    Not everywhere else uses Km to measure distance.
    Which I thought you would appreciate seeing as you go the mile to bring us interesting content. 😊

  • Nolan Flynn
    Nolan Flynn Month ago

    How does a computer render a mountain? It’s a bunch of smaller mountains, recursively.

  • RayRae 559
    RayRae 559 3 months ago

    Wait.... It's American bkuz we built a road do the top? Hahah

  • Memes n Shet
    Memes n Shet 3 months ago

    Every mountain and edge case:nice pun

  • Katy Spencer
    Katy Spencer 3 months ago +1

    A Mountain is only a mountain if your entire town gathers and works tirelessly to add 20 ft of dirt to the top

  • Jeremy Owens
    Jeremy Owens 3 months ago

    *Massively not to scale*
    Looks good to me

  • RemoTV
    RemoTV 4 months ago

    As John Green likes to say: "Truth resists simplicity."

  • Someone In The Comments

    This fact annoyed me so much as a Coloradan living in China where hill and mountain are often the same word. I wanted to prove that big hills like Baiyun Mountain weren't really mountains, but then I couldn't.

  • Diabulus Darkdoom
    Diabulus Darkdoom 4 months ago

    The arctic is an edge case of its own

  • ChopStYcks
    ChopStYcks 4 months ago +1

    the tallest mountain in my state is everest

    expedition everest

    • John Peric
      John Peric 4 months ago

      Expedition everst is the third highest in your (my) state

  • Clorox Bleach
    Clorox Bleach 4 months ago

    I live on a mountain o o (389m asl)

  • Mr.Einstein
    Mr.Einstein 4 months ago +1

    You forgot to go to the World's Highest Hill in Heavener, Oklahoma... 1,999 ft ASL

    • Dave Sisson
      Dave Sisson Month ago +1

      Perhaps it's the second highest hill., because there's a 1,800 metre high Molly Hill near Mount Feathertop in Victoria, Australia.

  • KunniK
    KunniK 4 months ago

    WUSS! You do all these other cool things in your videos, go climb a mountain without cheating with your car

  • Anonymous bub
    Anonymous bub 5 months ago +1

    The tallest peak in Grand Teton is 13,000 ish feet high. So it doesn’t count.

  • Albert warren
    Albert warren 5 months ago +1

    I've wondered this sometimes.

  • DrDewott
    DrDewott 6 months ago

    We don't even have a piece of land 300m In the air. Heck the tallest point in my country is about half of that

  • MrEndzo
    MrEndzo 6 months ago

    In Nepal 3200 m is considered a hill.

  • Ginger Ninja
    Ginger Ninja 6 months ago

    A road to the top of it? What a shame. Negates anything special about being at the summit.

  • Aryaman Kejriwal
    Aryaman Kejriwal 6 months ago

    Why isn’t prominence a ratio of the height of the mountain?

  • Aryaman Kejriwal
    Aryaman Kejriwal 6 months ago

    Do molehills count?

  • Michael J.
    Michael J. 7 months ago

    The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain .

  • Matt McGuire
    Matt McGuire 7 months ago

    What about Mt Wychproof in Victoria Australia? It is only 148m above sea level but is 48m above the plain. Is that prominent enough? It claims to be the smallest mountain in the world.

  • Pepre
    Pepre 8 months ago

    Every small mound in New Zealand is a mountain apparently

  • acid flashback
    acid flashback 8 months ago

    Just like the continents

  • Neurotic Sos
    Neurotic Sos 8 months ago

    this video was gorgeous. I know it's mostly greys, but something about it makes it look amazing to me

  • qwerty 100
    qwerty 100 9 months ago

    I was there

  • Daniel Jensen
    Daniel Jensen 9 months ago

    The question then is, how can you measure the prominence of Everest? Nothing is taller than it, so it's prominence would be it's full height.
    Also, you can drive up Pikes peak as well. I think there's even a train

  • Alexander Englebert
    Alexander Englebert 10 months ago

    Tom grew up at roughly sea level, right?

  • Aidan Teall
    Aidan Teall 10 months ago

    I've been up there. Breathing up there is no joke

  • 6 6
    6 6 10 months ago

    Not the best high in colorado by a longshot.

  • Rosie Fay
    Rosie Fay 11 months ago

    So, in Scotland, it's not Munros that matter, but Marilyns?

  • Serj1987ua
    Serj1987ua Year ago

    It's not most American mountain, Pike's peak is, they make doughnuts there!

  • Daniel Philpott
    Daniel Philpott Year ago

    Is that Pikes Peaks?

  • Sumit Shrestha
    Sumit Shrestha Year ago

    by Nepalese standard anything that is white with snow all around the year is mountain but anything that is not high enough to keep snow all around the year is hill. lots of so called mountains in american rockies are basically hills from pov of Nepalese

  • Ryder Steven
    Ryder Steven Year ago

    theres a road on it for the observatory

  • R'mur
    R'mur Year ago

    Was just about to tab-out and Google what 14000 feet meant in real language but then you cleared it up for me.

  • mspenrice
    mspenrice Year ago

    We'd better hope that the definition doesn't change from 300m to 500m or more, else Britain will lose a greater majority of its "mountains"...

  • YouTube-Kanal
    YouTube-Kanal Year ago

    It'd be funny if he said "One take" at the end and accidentally jumped off the mountain.

  • Lord _ Scrubington

    'massively not to scale' XD