Ecuador (6,268 m) – Farthest Point from the Polar Axis
Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is, by an alternative method of measurement, the tallest mountain in the world. The reason for this is that it is located close to the Earth’s equatorial bulge, which makes Chimborazo’s peak the farthest point on Earth from the Polar Axis. The exact meaning of the name Chimborazo is uncertain, though it appears to be a local word which reoughly translates to the “Snow on the Other Side”.
Chimborazo was visited by European explorers as early as the 16th century, at which time it was believed to be the world’s tallest mountain as the Himalayas had not yet been explored. In 1746 it became an importan landmark in the study that the Earth was not a true sphere. Despite many earlier attempts, the first known ascent to the peak was not until 1880 by Edward Whymper. At the time, it was the highest any human being had ever climbed on the planet.
Mount Chimborazo is an inactive, possibly dormant, volcano. It is located close to the center of Ecuador, and, compared to the other major peaks of the Andes, fairly accessible. It is only twenty miles southwest of Ambato, the closest major city, and less than a hundred miles from Quito. Part of the Chimborazo Reserve, it is a popular place for hiking. Several huts on the mountainside support those wishing to attempt the peak.