Famous Mountains You've Never Heard Of

Mt Fuji. (NNE / Wikimedia Commons)

Q: What do Quixada, Fuji, Hood, and Seorak have in common?

A: They are all "famous" mountains.

The organizations that steward these and 22 other peaks, gathered earlier this month share information on sustainable tourism, natural resource protection, and mountain culture, at the World Famous Mountains Conference in Portland, OR.

Which begs the question: just what is a "famous" mountain, anyway?

Arguably, the most "famous" mountains in the world are the "Seven Summits," the highest peaks on each continent. Of those seven—Everest , Aconcagua, Mount McKinley, Elbrus, Vinson Massif, Puncak Jaya, and Kilimanjaro—only Kilimanjaro is represented at the conference.

Though the conference includes some "A-list" mountains like Mt. Fuji, Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier, it's refreshing to see that the the bulk of attendees represent more obscure peaks — Guaramiranga, Kanawinka, Gaina, and others.

What defines a "famous" mountain has always seemed capricious and random to me. In New Hampshire, Mt. Washington is mobbed, while just next door, Mt. Pierce is lonely. Mt. Washington is known for being the highest mountain in the Northeast, with the "worst weather in the world," but are these good criteria for fame?  Everest is often (though not always) credited as being the world's highest. I've never been to the Himalaya, but I'm told that some peaks in the region that are unknown, unnamed, and certainly not "famous" are more technically and aesthetically pleasing to climb.

There aren't any objective criteria that define "famous mountains." As with famous people, at some point consensus takes over and we just agree that Mt. Fuji is famous and Steens Mountain isn't. In the same way, our collective consciousness decided that Paris Hilton had it, and Kathy Griffen didn't.

Thanks to the Famous Mountains Conference, my concept of a "famous mountain" is expanded. I've just learned about some "famous" mountains I've never heard of, and look forward to visiting:


Chocolate Hills
Chocolate Hills. (Ramir Borja / Wikimedia Commons)

Mountain:Chocolate Hills

Location: Philippines

Height: 98-390 ft

Description: A collection of nearly 1,776 individual grassy limestone hills.  The grass dries to a chocolate brown.

Mt. Lushan
Mt. Lushan. (Pfctdayelise / Wikimedia Commons)

Mountain: Mount Lushan

Location: China

Height: Dahanyang Peak: 1,474 m

Description: This cloud-shrouded range hosts some of China's oldest Buddhist temples.

Mt. Seorak
Mt. Seorak. (Flowerguy / Wikimedia Commons)

Mountain: Seorak Mountain

Location: South Korea

Height: Daechongbong Peak: 5,603 feet

Description: The third highest peak in South Korea, Seorak is the highest peak in the Taebaek mountain range.


For more information about these and the other "famous" mountains, check out the list on the World Famous Mountains Association web site. Which famous mountains, obscure or not, pique your interest?


Filed under: Places


1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
October 24, 2011 at 5:03 p.m. (EDT)

Mount Hua Shan has always grabbed me hard. The video footage of the trek up there is pretty intense. The plank walk is insane. 

Many have dubbed it as the world most dangerous hike. I am not quite sure if that is the case but it definitely has its risk factor. 

Here is a link for a bit of info on Hua Shan:


Also there is a bit of footage from plank walking on youtube. I will forewarn you that if you are not into music mute your speakers before viewing the footage. 

El Camino del Rey is another that comes to mind.

While these may or may not fall under the criteria for the above article I am not quite sure but nevertheless they definitely deserve recognition.

Here is a bit of footage of del Rey:



Seth Levy (Seth)
625 reviewer rep
1,178 forum posts
October 25, 2011 at 9:28 a.m. (EDT)

Hi Rick - there are a few comically horrifying via feratta route videos around.  I was tempted to write about one of those!

1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
October 25, 2011 at 6:34 p.m. (EDT)

I really want to take a stab at one of the 2 I mentioned above. I am really leaning towards Hua Shan. Just another thing added to my bucket list. ;)

0 reviewer rep
155 forum posts
October 26, 2011 at 8:12 a.m. (EDT)

Hmmmm... Interesting. Just thinking hear locally about different mountains -  the "famous ones." They are Clingman's Dome, Mt. Leconte... They draw the crowds because of course they are the highest peaks and easily accessible.

But there are others I've been far more attracted to. The two that I've always wanted to backpack but haven't gotten to it are Mt Guyot in the Smokies. It's the second highest peak in the Smokies and a helluva trip to get there. I've never heard of anyone whose been there and I've lived in East Tennessee most my life. Sure there are some here who have.

The second one I want to head to  is Little Big Frog Mountain in the Cohuttas of North Georgia. It's not a big mountain per say, but its the biggest in its chain. Every time around this time of year I pack up the family to go apple picking and we head across a Georgia state highway through the mountains. At one point, there's an overlook where you have a good view of the mountain. I just stare at it and think "I want to climb to the top of that."

Don't know if I'll get any views, if the trails will be beautiful, etc. etc. Just want to climb them because sometimes that's what you want to do.

15 reviewer rep
31 forum posts
October 29, 2011 at 8:02 a.m. (EDT)

Ok, here are a few from my wish list.  

Mount Rinjani, Indonesia http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/12/e2/0b/view-of-crater-lake-and.jpg

The Holy Ridge, Taiwan http://sites.google.com/site/philipsshieh/980102-1.jpg

The Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea http://www.kokodachallenge.com/images/editorimages/Kokoda%20Spirit_8.jpg

Akshayuk Pass, Canada http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/17314679.jpg


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