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 • 1 118

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  Year ago +1613

    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!)

    • Inmehmeh
      Inmehmeh 16 days ago


    • Elbert van Barreveld
      Elbert van Barreveld Month ago

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

    • Ian Walker
      Ian Walker 3 months ago

      I'm surprised internal combustion engines work up there

    • JJ's Kaleidoscope
      JJ's Kaleidoscope Year ago

      COLORADO!!!!!!!! My birthplace and home. Please stop with the drug jokes. 😂

    • Pencil BFB
      Pencil BFB Year ago

      We are *home made*

  • RayRae 559
    RayRae 559 4 days ago

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

  • Memes n Shet
    Memes n Shet 16 days ago

    Every mountain and edge case:nice pun

  • Katy Spencer
    Katy Spencer 16 days 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 17 days ago

    *Massively not to scale*
    Looks good to me

  • RemoTV
    RemoTV Month 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 Month ago

    The arctic is an edge case of its own

  • ChopStYcks
    ChopStYcks Month ago +1

    the tallest mountain in my state is everest

    expedition everest

    • John Peric
      John Peric Month ago

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

  • Clorox Bleach
    Clorox Bleach Month ago

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

  • Mr.Einstein
    Mr.Einstein Month ago

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

  • KunniK
    KunniK 2 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 2 months ago +1

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

  • Albert warren
    Albert warren 2 months ago +1

    I've wondered this sometimes.

  • DrDewott
    DrDewott 3 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 3 months ago

    In Nepal 3200 m is considered a hill.

  • Ginger Ninja
    Ginger Ninja 3 months ago

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

  • Aryaman Kejriwal
    Aryaman Kejriwal 3 months ago

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

  • Aryaman Kejriwal
    Aryaman Kejriwal 3 months ago

    Do molehills count?

  • Michael J.
    Michael J. 4 months ago

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

  • Matt McGuire
    Matt McGuire 4 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 5 months ago

    Every small mound in New Zealand is a mountain apparently

  • acid flashback
    acid flashback 5 months ago

    Just like the continents

  • Neurotic Sos
    Neurotic Sos 5 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 6 months ago

    I was there

  • Daniel Jensen
    Daniel Jensen 6 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 7 months ago

    Tom grew up at roughly sea level, right?

  • Aidan Teall
    Aidan Teall 7 months ago

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

  • 6 6
    6 6 7 months ago

    Not the best high in colorado by a longshot.

  • Rosie Fay
    Rosie Fay 8 months ago

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

  • Serj1987ua
    Serj1987ua 9 months ago

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

  • Daniel Philpott
    Daniel Philpott 9 months ago

    Is that Pikes Peaks?

  • Sumit Shrestha
    Sumit Shrestha 10 months 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 10 months ago

    theres a road on it for the observatory

  • R'mur
    R'mur 10 months 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 11 months 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

  • David M. Johnston

    Wow I really wish to go there some day!

  • I've Seen Footage

    I live next to the Sutter buttes in Cali. The smallest mountain range in the world

  • Sebastian Coronado


  • PyroNinja713
    PyroNinja713 Year ago

    I live in Boulder, CO and the road leading up to the top of Mt. Evans explains A LOT of suspicious pictures I've seen on Tinder. So *that's* how the land whales and barbies end up on top of 14ers. hahaha

  • Green Ghouls
    Green Ghouls Year ago +1

    "This is one of those times that the human need to categorise and catalogue everything runs up against-"
    "-messy reality"

  • Remington Bradley

    I love mount evans. I live in Boulder CO and have been there a few times, last winter 60mph winds broke my tent at 12,000 feet. near the summit is some of the best bouldering around

  • Pongo
    Pongo Year ago

    I tried to visit the smallest mountain in Germany and went mad during research. Good to know I'm not the only one getting confused with this xD

  • Absolute Nutter
    Absolute Nutter Year ago

    If it’s big just call it a mountain and if it’s big but small call it a hill

  • Ravaxr
    Ravaxr Year ago

    Can confirm: Been up there. You get this weird dizzy sensation just walking around. Climbing even the near ADA compliant grade to get to the summit is a bit much for some people at that altitude. Yet, I was there during a cycle race. There is an annual event where cyclists start at a nearby town at the base of the mountain, ride to that parking lot, then ride back down. No idea how they do it.

  • Adrien Fraser
    Adrien Fraser Year ago

    Colorado defines prominence required to be a peak as 300ft

  • HugzByDeath
    HugzByDeath Year ago

    Tom, did you see any of the mountain goats on Mt Evans? Last time I went (3 or 4 years ago) they were everywhere

  • Mojos Bigstick
    Mojos Bigstick Year ago

    I had wondered that. Nice to find there's no answer!

  • Abby Liu
    Abby Liu Year ago

    youtubers: *sits in their rooms and films videos*
    tom: *climbs a mountain for a 3 minute video*

  • Sir Commenter
    Sir Commenter Year ago

    To add to this question, I've not been to the top of Evans, but I have hiked to the top of Mt. Bierdstadt, just across the ridge from Evans. It is counted as a mountain, but is it on the Evans massif?

  • JonatasAdoM
    JonatasAdoM Year ago

    A mountain can only be traversed by choppers (and chartaginians legend says), otherwise they're hills and they'll take 2 movement points for normal units to traverse. It's really that simple.

  • Eric Fallas
    Eric Fallas Year ago

    I think that the prominence should be at least 20% of the tallest peak in the range

  • Drestanto
    Drestanto Year ago

    Damn fuzzy logic!

  • Fester Blats
    Fester Blats Year ago

    Is that also what defines whether something is a hill or a mountain? If it is standing alone, how high does it need to be in order to be a mountain?

  • mean he
    mean he Year ago

    You brits, you cannot talk about the U.S.A or it’s people without having a snarky comment or two or three. Or most other peoples for that matter, and yet you claim to be such tolerant people.

  • Justin Does Earth

    Mountains aren't real.

  • blindleader42
    blindleader42 Year ago

    Back in the day, my climbing/hiking partner and I hiked up a fair number of the Fourteeners over a couple of summers. I never met anyone in Colorado who used the singular form of the word mountain to refer to any of them. We referred to peaks individually, and didn't care if Mt, Mount or Mountain occurred in the name. Of the fifty-four Fourteeners only three have the word Mountain in the name. Fewer than half have the prefix "Mount". The rest are Such-and-such Peak. Why quibble about the definition of a mountain in ranges like the Rockies? It doesn't have any relevance to the real world, unless you limit the real world to words on a piece of paper.
    You can drive to the top of "Mount Evans", but a trip up "Longs Peak" is going to involve a bit more footwork, about 1500m (oops, I mean 4800 ft) of it. As for the inevitable whinging about feet vs meters, my advice is to get a life and move on. We are never going to make a list of the forty-two-sixy-seveners.

  • Giel
    Giel Year ago

    With great hights come great subscribed!

  • zeroluu tmh
    zeroluu tmh Year ago +5

    just saying hello from kliksphilip

  • bridgefour73
    bridgefour73 Year ago

    It's nuts seeing a video about a place you've been to. I remember when I was a kid and my dad and I hiked up to the top of that mountain and stood atop that very same silver plate, and how eighth grade me felt so slighted upon learning that there were regular cars just chilling at the top, with most of the people up there not half as winded as I was.

  • voetbal12
    voetbal12 Year ago

    "I'm at the summit of Mount Ev....ans"

  • Baron von Quiply
    Baron von Quiply Year ago

    I misread the description as "I'm at the top of Mount Everest.." and thought it looked surprisingly warm and summery for the Himalayas.

  • bradley morgan
    bradley morgan Year ago

    naturally aspirated engines would probably have some trouble running well that high up.

  • Arunoday Dey
    Arunoday Dey Year ago


  • Ajeet Singh
    Ajeet Singh Year ago

    1.55 I would almost never sit on the edge like that.

  • Holly Durand
    Holly Durand Year ago

    I can't believe you can to Colorado and I didn't know!

  • Pencil BFB
    Pencil BFB Year ago

    *echoes* "Next, petscapes. Help save the pets!"

  • Sperge Lord
    Sperge Lord Year ago

    The Tallest mountain in my country is 8611m high.

  • gaia35
    gaia35 Year ago

    ey, what counts a bonfire, am I right.. tomato, tomahto XD

  • el sobaka
    el sobaka Year ago

    "And nearly every mountain... is an edge case."

  • polifatts
    polifatts Year ago

    I live in Colorado and I have actually climbed this mountain from base to top. It was a brutal 9 hour hike.

    • Nasrin Af
      Nasrin Af Year ago +1

      polifatt Not exactly, having climbed Mt. Whitney, which is the tallest mountain in the contiguous US, a very similar 24 mile, 7,000ft elevation gain hike, it's not brutal.

  • David Coleman
    David Coleman Year ago

    Pikes Peak (also a 14er) is a much more American mountain, as not only do they have a paved highway to the summit, there is an incline railway to the summit, an annual hill climb where cars race to the top, and summit house where souvenirs and donuts are sold. Also it is nicknamed "America's Mountain" and the view was the inspiration for America the Beautiful.

    • Vatnos
      Vatnos 7 months ago

      Brits have railways to the top of some of their mountains too so that's not that American.

  • Kit Carson
    Kit Carson Year ago

    I thought that movie “The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain” starred Hugh Grant instead of Tom Scott… ;•P

  • inanecathode
    inanecathode Year ago

    Tom: I hope you read this, maybe you will find it interesting. The place where you are standing and filming at 1:56 is the exact spot I proposed to my wife in 2012 :)

  • Shad Sterling
    Shad Sterling Year ago

    Maybe you should ask the englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain?

  • David Radecki
    David Radecki Year ago

    I would argue pikes peak is more American, it also has a road to the top along with a doughnut shop.

    • David Radecki
      David Radecki Year ago

      Ok it's more of a gift shop but they do sell doughnuts

    • Itz Pro
      Itz Pro Year ago

      David Radecki when I went up pikes peak,there was no doughnut shop

  • Kellindil
    Kellindil Year ago

    The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain

  • Blackholefourspam

    It seems like lots of things suffer from the desire to classify things that can't be lumped into neat sets. Trying to redefine an old term for use in modern science and bureaucracy seems like a fools game, Pluto argument anyone?

  • Annie O
    Annie O Year ago

    'getting colorado high'

    sorry I had to because he said not to

  • Cermet
    Cermet Year ago +1

    Trust me 14000 won't give you altitude sickness

  • Max Falto
    Max Falto Year ago

    1:52 I don't like heights. Watching this guy calmly sitting there gave me an unpleasant rush.

  • WillyTheComposer
    WillyTheComposer Year ago

    If it's possible to consider entire continents to be mountains, with all their hills and valleys simply being bumps that are part of a more massive mountain, couldn't you consider the oceans of earth to merely be bumps along to way toward Mt. Everest, which would effectively be a mountain the size of the entire earth?

  • Ben Dover
    Ben Dover Year ago

    Déjà Vu

  • I have an awesome name

    You should have a look at Himmelbjerget in Denmark. It's basically just a pile of dirt, but the literal translation of "himmelbjerget" is "Sky-Mountain". Just goes to show how flat Denmark really is...

    • mike4ty4
      mike4ty4 Year ago

      That's a nice little hillmount you've got there. Not bad - seems like Paradise Ridge here were I'm at, maybe a little more. Paradise Ridge rises about 150 m above the surrounding ground according to my Google Earth program. Although this is a much bigger country but nonetheless where I'm at, that's what's around. 400 m though seems like a good cutoff and a nice round number, for prominence. Make that maybe 400 m +/- 50 m, where if it's within the 350-450 range it becomes a "transition zone" where its mountain status is questionable and you can call it what you feel like calling it. That's how fuzzy logic works; you just need to establish a suitable fuzz function. Some mountains will get demoted, others promoted, and that's all for the good. Then again another way may be to use some sort of statistical norm, e.g. x standard deviations beyond the mean for prominence in a given country, so that countries like Denmark could still have Himmelbjerget count as a mountain. Some countries would then have very small mountains and others very big hills :)

  • Arthur Arktos
    Arthur Arktos Year ago


  • Toby Lerone
    Toby Lerone Year ago

    I've also previously done research into this, and it is interesting how many different ways to define a mountain there are. Some countries have definitions, even some districts do! And of course the UN has one.

  • Creamy Pasta
    Creamy Pasta Year ago

    Americans love to tell us here in the UK we don't have mountains, we just have big hills. Set prominence to 1,345 m (the height of Ben Nevis) and they can make that annoying statement official!

  • Smallpoly
    Smallpoly Year ago

    Tom is such an amazing gift to this world. Thanks for all the hard work and doing what you do!

  • Κώστας Λουπασάκης

    How long does it take you to memorize your scripts? I'm pretty certain you don't use a teleprompter or anything, but if you do you are really good at it!

  • Jaymes Piripi
    Jaymes Piripi Year ago

    Well then the question is, when does it stop being a mountain or part of one and start becoming a hill?

  • Green Mario
    Green Mario Year ago

    Fun fact: it's just a really big hill

  • しょうチャンネル[ハゲしょうTV]


  • Livid Evil
    Livid Evil Year ago

    mount ev...ans
    nice troll

  • ok Then
    ok Then Year ago

    You are such a precious bean

  • gaming gamer
    gaming gamer Year ago

    A lump of dirt.

  • Joshua Jones
    Joshua Jones Year ago

    I've literally been asking this my whole life

  • Zacho Gilman
    Zacho Gilman Year ago

    +Tom Scott
    How was it appears that you were in my neighboring state of Colorado only a month ago! If I knew that, I would have asked you to film a video in Cheyenne, Wyoming. (Probably on Dell Range Blvd at Walmart Intersection during the 5pm rush hour or Capitol Avenue so that people Doesn't think we're nobodys.)

  • GlintTheStrong
    GlintTheStrong Year ago

    "There are actually several different lines, because of course there are."
    Heh. So true.