Map of Ultras worldwide
An ultra prominent peak
, or Ultra
for short, is a mountain with a topographic prominence
of or more.
There are a total of roughly 1,524 such peaks in the world.
famous even to non-climbers, such as Mount Everest, Aconcagua, and Mount McKinley (the top three by prominence), while others are
much more obscure. Some famous peaks, such as the Matterhorn and Eiger, are not
Ultras because they are connected to higher mountains by high
passes and therefore do not achieve enough topographic
"Ultra" is due to earth scientist Stephen Fry, from his studies of
the prominence of peaks in Washington state in the 1980s.
His original term was "ultra
major mountain", referring to peaks with at least of
1,519 Ultras have been identified worldwide: 654 in Asia, 360 in North
America, 209 in South America, 119
in Europe (including the Caucasus), 84 in Africa, 54
in Australasia and 39 in Antarctica.
the world's largest or best-known mountains are Ultras, including
Everest, K2, Kilimanjaro, Mont
Blanc, and Mount Olympus. On the other hand, many large and famous
mountains such as the Eiger and the
Matterhorn are not Ultras because they do not have sufficient
relative height. Many Ultras lie in rarely-visited and
inhospitable parts of the world, including 39 in Greenland, the high points of the Arctic islands of Novaya Zemlya and Jan
Mayen and Spitsbergen and 136 in High Asia. In British Columbia, some of the mountains listed don't even have
of Ultras have yet to be climbed, with the Finisterre Range highpoint, Sauyr Zhotasy, Karlik Shan, (possibly)
Siple, and Gangkar Puensum being the most likely candidates for the most
prominent unclimbed mountain in the world.
All of the Seven Summits
are Ultras by
virtue of the fact that they are the high points of large
landmasses. Each has its key col
at or near
sea level, resulting in a prominence value almost equal to its
Lists of Ultras (1514)
North America (360)
South America (209)
- Adam Helman, The Finest Peaks: Prominence and other
Mountain Measures, Trafford, 2005, ISBN 1-4120-5994-1.
- (See footnotes 3 and 10.)