New world record set!New world record set! It happened on 7th June 2009, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when, as part of my hobby I have „climbed“ – I should rather say: collected – the last one on my list of European highpoints, country-by-country, walking up an 80-m-long paved way, overcoming an altitude difference of 5 m, to the summit of Gora Dzerzhinskaya in Belarus.
The troublesThe troubles of such a weird hobby are threefold:
1) There are many lists published in the Internet, more or less authoritative: They are all either contradictory at the least, or wrong in some aspects, or they are not up-to-date.
2) Europe is an old continent, but still evolving: Kosovo is new, Serbia has been reduced to its core – reflecting on the question: Which is the highest mountain of Serbia when the previous one has now been ceded to Kosovo?. My hobby is more political, rather than alpinistic.
3) Europe has no clearly defined eastern border. The question whether Europe is a political, cultural or geographic entity is unsolvable. Any list of mountains, however, should adhere to one of those criteria, or to all of them jointly.
Summitpost list in critiqueTake http://www.summitpost.org/list/195819/europe-s-highpoints.html. It contains the following flaws, in alphabetical order:
Czech Republic: The statement "This mountain shares its slopes with Poland" should be reversed into: "The summit of this mountain is Polish; the Czech slopes fail to reach the summit by a couple of meters."
Denmark/Portugal: If the „colonial“ Slaettaratindur on the Faeroer Islands is regarded as the highest European Danish mountain, it would be Pico do Pico on the Portuguese Azores for Portugal, by analogy.
Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan: If these countries are European, so why not Kazakhstan? Like Turkey, a small part of Kazakhstan covers „Europe“ in its usual definition. So where is Gora Ichka of European-Kazakhstan in the list? What IS Europe in fact? Where precisely do its eastern borders run?
France/Italy: French maps show the summit of Mt Blanc as purely French territory: Italy's highpoint is the Mt Blanc de Courmayeur. Italian maps, however, show the common border run across the main summit. To solve the question who is right or wrong we would need either a French/Italian convention, or, following more the European tradition: a war.
Where is Kosovo? This is Europe's youngest independent country. Djeravica – formerly the highest of Serbia – is now the highest of Kosovo, making Midžor the highest of new Serbia.
Luxembourg: Recent measurements confirm what specialists have known ever since: The true highpoint is Kneiff, 101 cm higher than Buurgplaatz.
Moldova: The name of the highest point is Dealul Balanesti.
Monaco: Mont Agel is the name of the summit on French territory. The highest point of Monaco lies in the corner of a private property on the slope of Mont Agel, in an altitude of 162 m. Address: 24, Chemin des Révoires.
Montenegro: The highest mountain is not the „semi-official“ Bobotov Kuk on Durmitor, as the list faintly suggests, but the more remote Zla Kolata in the Prokletije Mountains.
San Marino: Name it Monte Titano, not just Titano. As you do with Mont Blanc: You wouldn't say "Blanc" only. And perhaps be more precise: Say La Cesta on Monte Titano, as with Russia: West summit of El'brus, or with Greece: Mykinas on Olymbos.
Sweden: It is not quite clear which summit is highest, South or North. As stated correctly in http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/151165/kebnekaise.html: "There are two distinct summits on Kebnekaise, Sydtoppen (2117 m) and Nordtoppen (2097m). On the summit there's snow and ice all year around. The height varies, depending on time of year and weather." Sydtoppen is higher only on account of the thick snow cap on top, raising the question whether or not snow counts.
Ukraine: The name of the highest mountain is Gora Goverla, or Hora Hoverla, as you prefer to write.
Last, but not least, there is the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Not recognized by any country besides Turkey, but nevertheles: It is a state. Selvili Tepe is its highpoint.
Finally ...... You'll find them all on my list: http://www.gipfel-und-grenzen.de/die_hoechsten.php.
„So far no one in SP seems to have summited all European Highpoints“ it says in Summitpost.org. YES, I do have. I can say this proudly. At least for the time being – as long as there is no new precision triangulation carried out in Denmark or Lithuania – and as long as there is no new country emerging – I have been on every highpoint in every European country, including the dubious ones, and this by scientific standards, not misled by any list. So, as it appears, I am the first and only one who was on all TRUE highpoints.
Does this sound too bragging?
And here the only SERIOUS partner whom I recognize as an authority: Bartłomiej Suder of http://koronaeuropy.suder.cc/
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