Shock as Britain discovers its tallest mountain

Pole position: Mt Hope is 3,239m tall - but Mt Everest in the Himalayas is 8,848m! © British Antarctic Survey

Should Britain be proud of its new highest peak? Mt Hope, in the part of Antarctica claimed by Britain, is taller than previously thought. However, few people will ever see it…

What’s happening

Mt Hope stands tall in the part of Antarctica claimed by Britain. When it was measured by explorers in the 1930s, its height was put at 2,860m. This week, however, it was measured again and found to be 3,239m tall. This places it above nearby Mt Jackson as the tallest mountain in British territory.

Find out more

Antarctica is a cold, desolate land where nobody lives. Yet seven countries claim a part of the continent, and scientists regularly visit it for research.

As there are no roads in Antarctica, visitors get around by plane. This means that it is important to know the precise location and height of each mountain. British mapmakers used cutting-edge satellite technology to recalculate Mt Hope’s height.

Mt Hope is more than double the height of Ben Nevis, the greatest mountain on mainland Britain, but less than half the size of Mt Everest, the highest peak on Earth. It is not even near the world’s top 100.

The mountain has been climbed twice by brave mountaineers. Other than that, very few people have been near it. Should we care about it?

Some say…

Of course. The mountain range to which Mt Hope belongs is famously spectacular — even tourists make the long trip to see it. Beauty aside, mountains symbolise the power of nature compared to humans. The news that Mt Hope is taller than we thought is important for scientists, but it should be interesting to all of us, too.

Others think…

Mt Hope is not that high in the grand scheme of things. It is very remote, so most of us will never have anything to do with it. Anyway, it is located in a disputed territory, so the British are not even able to definitely claim it as their own. Instead of fussing over a mountain, we should care about how Antarctica’s ice is melting.

You Decide

  1. Would Antarctica be a good place to go on holiday?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are going on an expedition to climb Mount Hope. What dangers do you think you would need to prepare for? Make a list of all of the equipment and supplies that you would need to complete your journey.

Some People Say...

“It is not the mountains we conquer but ourselves.”

Edmund Hillary

What do you think?

Word Watch

Antarctica
The icy continent that is home to the South Pole.
Desolate
Empty and lonely.
Seven countries
Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and Britain.
Cutting-edge
Very advanced.
Mountaineers
People who climb mountains.
Disputed
This means that not all countries accept Britain’s claim to the territory.
Melting
There is evidence that global warming is causing the ice to melt. This raises sea levels, which could lead to flooding in some countries.

Subjects

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