mount Thor cliff

Mount Thor

Whilst out climbing and hiking it is common that you will come along drops on the mountains. Some steep, some shallow and some hair-raising… well if you can raise your hair 😉

Some are great for scrambling up, heart and lung workouts or a fast way down. Many more are aimed for by climbers with technical abilities to claim new goals in their confidence and thrills. Around the world there are many spectacular vertical drops. I wanted to take a look at a few:

Longest Purely Vertical Drop on Earth – Mount Thor

Simply a stunning looking drop too. Mount Thor is on Baffin Island, Canada. The drop is an astoundingly huge vertical 1,250 m (4,100 ft). Sitting atop the overhang must be an incredible experience.. Yes, on the bucket list!

Highest Mountain Face in the World – Nanga Parbat (North Face)

Nanga Parbat is the 9th highest Mountain in the world (above sea level). This 8000er in Pakistan’s Rupal has a north face that face that stands 4,600 m (15,000 feet) above it’s base. Altitude, enormous face, extremes, there is a reason this mountain is called ‘The killer mountain’

Nanga Parbat

Highest Waterfall on Earth – Angel Falls

These falls in Venezuela stand at an almighty 979 m (3212 ft). To put that into perspective.. Niagara Falls stands at just 53 m (173 ft). Or, if you think that the highest Mountain in England (Scafell Pike) is even one metre smaller! Yes, than a waterfall!  Wonderful to look at, mesmerising to watch. So high that much of the water that starts coming over the top evaporates or blows away before hitting the bottom.

Highest Waterfall on Earth - Angel Falls

Huge Cliffs around the World

What is a cliff? Well it is defined normally as a near vertical rock face. That opens the door to many claims of the highest. Many believe it should naturally be Naga Parbat’s North Face mentioned earlier. To some it is not vertical enough. Here are other contenders including sea cliffs:

Trango Towers Pakistan

Being more vertical than the other option makes this a definitive highest cliff for most. In Pakistan and standing at 1340 m (4396 ft) the Great Tower of Trango Towers is a main goal of many technical climbers and even base jumpers.

Great Tower of Trango Towers

Highest Sea Cliffs

According to The Guinness Book of Records the title of highest sea cliffs in the world belongs to the cliffs of Kalaupapa, Hawaii with a height of 1010 m (3314 ft). I have actually descended these cliffs on a mule. A scary but amazing memory to have.

cliffs of Kalaupapa

However, the absolutely stunning Mitre Peak in New Zealand drops 1683 m (5522 ft) into the waters of Milford Sound.  The most probable reason for not being counted as sea cliffs is the fact that the Sound is classed a Fjord, not the Ocean/Sea.

mitre Peak Milford Sound

A Cliff on Earth to beat them all though is deep deep under the Ocean on the Kermadec Trench.  An 8000 m drop spanning just 4250 m. Wow!

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  1. Mitre Peak looks as if it might be on another planet. Quite stunning.

  2. Avatar of Robert H. Woodman Robert H. Woodman says:

    Beautiful, awe-inspiring pictures!

  3. Avatar of Dabney Porte Dabney Porte says:

    Love it Paul!

    As always…your work gives me a chance to see the world ~ LOVE it! xo

  4. Really like that last shot, Paul. Nice work.

  5. Good work Paul. Awesome photos and cool stuff, like the previous posts as well. Keep your edge!

  6. Wowzers. That shot of Mt Thor is gorgeous. I'm with you on wanting that one on the bucket list, and I'm not even an outdoorsy type …

  7. Photos are fantastic, however weak in the knees due to the heights! Maybe I hould try sleeping on one of those cliffs.

  8. Avatar of lori mcnee lori mcnee says:

    Hi Paul-

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photographs of some breathtaking places. I just visited New Zealand and journeyed down to Milford Sound. I saw that exact view you posted. I was told that parts of The Last Samurai were filmed in the Milford Sound area. It is a magical place and I can see why many movies are being made in New Zealand nowadays.

    Now, I want to visit the other places you wrote about…

    Thanks again,
    Lori 🙂

  9. Paul,

    Great stuff – some excellent photos and info.
    I will try to link this from a future column soon.
    Am sure my readers would be interested!


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