Everybody knows that the official highest spot on planet Earth is Mount Everest, also known as Chomolungma; and some people who are in favor of extreme pastimes go as far (or as high) as to actually visit it and get to the top. It, however, requires a great deal of money and even greater deal of health, for it has claimed numerous lives of unfortunate climbers and even now, after considerable development and commercialization of ascension routes, to climb Mount Everest is still quite a significant and risky challenge.
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There are a lot of other places that are no less picturesque, breathtaking and interesting in statistical sense. For example, there is Mount Thor in National Park Auyuittuq on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, which is the biggest pure vertical drop on our planet. Here you can find a vertical wall of granite about 4100 feet high – there is nothing of the kind anywhere on Earth. No wonder that it is a popular location for expeditions, most notably organized by rappel climbers, which means that their participants try and climb this sheer drop – which, of course, is a challenge only for people with muscles, nerves and lungs of steel.
If you are looking for something not so deadly but no less picturesque, consider Melago, or Melag in Italy, one of the highest and most remotely located villages in otherwise well-settled Europe. Unlike the majority of other locations in the Alps and uncharacteristically for a place located over 6300 feet above sea level, it is extremely dry and does not see a lot of rainfall, although irrigational complexes make it possible to raise crops even here – and it is another thing that is interesting about this place, for it is the highest irrigated settlement in Europe.
For those who pay attention to statistical information, there is another place not less fascinating than Mount Everest itself. We are speaking here about Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. Although it is mere 20 000 feet high or so against Mount Everest’s 29 029 feet, it is actually higher. How can it be? Quite simple – planet Earth isn’t, after all, a perfect sphere, which results in a bit of a mix-up – some places that are supposed to be lower are, in fact, higher in space, that is, speaking poetically, closer to heavens. And because of this Mount Chimborazo manages to exceed Mount Everest, being closer to outer space.
If you are looking for spectacular views more than for unimaginable challenges, there is Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world, with the overall height of the fall of 3230 feet, of which 2647 feet is a single uninterrupted drop. Although Niagara Falls may be more magnificent in scale, the sight of water falling from such an immeasurable height is something to be remembered just as well.
Those fascinated by people living in extreme conditions their entire lives may be interested in La Rinconada in the Peruvian Andes, the highest permanent town in the world, located at about 5 100 meters above sea level. Not only it is difficult to live there because of the high altitudes, but also because of a gold mine that serves as a mixed blessing – being the source of employment and wealth, it also causes mercury poisoning for those working there and living nearby.