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Difference between a hill and a mountain?

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Difference between a hill and a mountain?

Old 07-02-08, 06:51 PM
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Seedy J
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Difference between a hill and a mountain?

Inspired by the threads about climbing in South FL...

I'm a South FL native. As such, I always thought that anything over... let's say 300 ft. was a mountain. This apparently is not the case. So, what is it that makes a mountain a mountain and not a hill?



These are two of the popular climbs here - Mt. Katsuragi (left) and Mt. Kongo (right). IIRC, Katsuragi goes from 0 to ~1800 ft. in ~7 km. Kongo is about the same, but over 11 or 13 km. Are these hills or mountains?
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Old 07-02-08, 06:58 PM
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A hill is a steep ascent your buddy just climbed. A mountain is a steep ascent YOU just climbed ;-)
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Old 07-02-08, 06:58 PM
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...
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Old 07-02-08, 07:01 PM
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By California standards (living in Los Angeles right now, having rode all across the state), a hill is a short climb <1000 ft. in ascent. A mountain climb is > 1000 ft in ascent.

A significant climb is 3000+ ft in ascent (that's one "climb" that could be on a route with multiple climbs. See Mt. Whitney for reference)
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Old 07-02-08, 07:11 PM
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There's actually no formal distinction between 'hill' and 'mountain', although in some parts of the world practical definitions which include height restrictions are implemented for legislative/legal purposes. For the purposes of 'Right to Roam' legislation in England and Wales, for example, "mountain" is defined as all land over 600 metres.


In common usage a 'mountain' is generally considered to be steeper than a 'hill', and has a clearly distinguishable peak. But again, usage varies.


In actual fact, the only thing which makes a prominence a mountain rather than a hill is the fact that at some time, somebody named it "Mount something or other"

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Old 07-02-08, 07:22 PM
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I'm a native West Virginian. It's called the "Mountain" State. And has the highest average elevation east of the Mississippi. However, the highest point is under 4900 feet, and most of the climbs are 2000 feet or less.

It pains me to say, but I think of the Appalachian "Mountains" as hills, albeit big hills, and the Rockies as Mountains.

(that said we have steeper climbs in the Appalachians than in theRockies, just not as long.)
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Old 07-02-08, 07:37 PM
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I agree.
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Old 07-02-08, 07:40 PM
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In college geology class over a decade ago, the cut-off was 2,000 ft. Anything with less than 2,000 feet high is not a mountain. Granted that most of the Appalachians are under 2,000 ft tall, but there are also a lot over 4500 ft tall too (Mt. Mitchel is over 6,000 ft, and Black Mountain is over 5,500 ft, etc.).


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Old 07-02-08, 08:07 PM
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I've heard the 2000 foot definition, too. Mountains are 2000 feet taller than the surrounding valleys.

According to the USGS, there was once a 1000 foot definition, but that is no longer used (except in the movies):
http://www.usgs.gov/faq/list_faq_by_...wer.asp?id=787
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Old 07-02-08, 08:28 PM
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You climb a hill, you survive a mountain.........

or.....

You grin when you see a hill, your flight deck speed dials your shrink when you see a mountain

I like flat, can ya tell?
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Old 07-02-08, 08:51 PM
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I liked that movie with Hugh Grant (was it) about the surveyors of a mountain in Wales where the village carried dirt up the top so the hill would qualify as a mountain.

For FL folks this would be good training. Carry 10 lbs of dirt each ride and pile it up the small hill till it becomes a mountain.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:07 PM
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One man's mountain is another man's mole hole...
Thing about the mountains in Japan,
is that they are all or nothing. Straight up.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:16 PM
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I live on top of hill, 9/10mi at ave grade 10.1%, Sat morning I'm climbing a mountain 25mi at ave grade 5.5%.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:43 PM
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I'd define a hill as a natural incline where the valley and peak are within a reasonable height relative to the surrounding area. Usually a hill is formed by a river valley.

Mountains are big geological features made of rock that stand out significantly from the rest of the relative area.

This is simply my definition. Also, golf and stock car racing are "sports", whereas figure skating and gymnastics are not.
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Old 07-02-08, 09:47 PM
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According to Hugh Grant in The Englishman who Went Up a Hill, but Came Down a Mountain, 1,000 feet.

Regardless of altitude, me thinks it has to do with grade, for the purpose of cycling that is.

Last edited by jsmithepa; 07-02-08 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 07-02-08, 10:16 PM
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Here in Colorado, we call the things in front of the Front Range the "foot hills." Some of them are 10,000' tall and they have some of the best climbs because you can go from plains to summit, whereas in the "mountains," the valley floors are often higher. In Summit County, we have 9,000' base elevations...

Generally, I think (and I mean MY definition) a mountain needs to be part of a range, caused by a geologic fault, or a single cone formed by a volcano. Our foothills are really mountains.
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Old 07-02-08, 10:42 PM
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I think that, for the most part, the definition of a mountain needing to be part of a range is about the most useful one to follow. 'Size isn't everything' and all that

I live at one end of a mountain range which is 'impressive' for reasons other than size. The Strzlecki Ranges are quite small in size, actually. The weathered down remnants of a once mighty mountain range, and the highest peak in the range being Mount Fatigue at 581 metres (1906 ft). Why is that range 'impressive'? Oldest mountain range on Earth, is why!

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Old 07-02-08, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by swduncan View Post
A hill is a steep ascent your buddy just climbed. A mountain is a steep ascent YOU just climbed ;-)

+1 to this one.

On the 2000' definition- up by Heavener, Oklahoma, is "the world's highest hill", which they figure by having a 1,999' height and using the 2,000' definition. Of course, this is like having the World's Tallest Midget.

I believe there is a Bull Hill in Colorado that is over 12,000' elevation.

The highest point in the Arkansas Ozarks is lower than Lubbock, Texas.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:59 AM
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I'm staying out of this one
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Old 07-03-08, 03:54 AM
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The definition appears to be different throughout the world, in the UK it is:

Most mountains are classified using two factors:
  1. the height of the summit above sea level - in the UK mountains must be over 610m (approx 2000ft) to be called 'mountains', and
  2. the amount of re-ascent required on all sides from a neighbouring mountain to reach that summit - usually 30m (approx 100ft) or 150m (approx 500ft) depending on the system adopted.
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Old 07-03-08, 07:57 AM
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After doing some quick research. The closest climbing I've done is from Houston to Austin, over 2 days. Grand total elevation change is ..... 420ft. Yeah, I know there are rollers in between, but that's the net gain.

I consider myself an excellent climber.... I'd love to actually try a climb
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Old 07-03-08, 08:01 AM
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Mountains have snow on them.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:06 AM
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Hills are round on top, mountains are pointy.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:12 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill

hill and mountain are the same word in Japanese...
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Old 07-03-08, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Seedy J View Post
Inspired by the threads about climbing in South FL...

I'm a South FL native. As such, I always thought that anything over... let's say 300 ft. was a mountain. This apparently is not the case. So, what is it that makes a mountain a mountain and not a hill?



These are two of the popular climbs here - Mt. Katsuragi (left) and Mt. Kongo (right). IIRC, Katsuragi goes from 0 to ~1800 ft. in ~7 km. Kongo is about the same, but over 11 or 13 km. Are these hills or mountains?
and there can also be a ridge. a ridge can be a hill or a mountain.

My GF and I rode in Georgia last year and climbed Taylor's ridge. She asked, "Is this a mountain?" My response, No, it's a ridge.

It was a great climb for her though. 1st one she did and we climbed it both ways.

You'll KNOW when you've climbed a mountain.
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