European Highpoints - a definitionBy Michelle Amundsen
Europe's geographical borders
Climbing the highest point of each country in Europe, - it might sound easy at first, but it is a rather complicated feat which has to be viewed from many different angles.
Europe, geographically, is defined by the Atlantic ridge in the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the South, then following the narrows of the Bosporus to the Black Sea all the way to the Caucasus whatershed and Ural in the east.
Points of discussion
Politically, countries are not following the lines of geographical division; Iceland, for example, is partly on the American continental socket, but politically considered a European country. The country’s highpoint, Hvannadalshnjúkur, is located on the European plate, and is therefore considered to be a part of the Highpoint challenge. On the other side of Europe, Kazakhstan has a fraction of its territory located on (geographically) European soil, however the country highpoint, the stunningly beautiful Khan Tengri, is far to the east, close to China, and can hardly be considered a European highpoint.
A similar scenario can be seen in Turkey, with the majestic Ararat close to the Iranian border.
A couple of "double summits"
Got my logic? Let's move on:
Spain: Teide (Tenerife, African plate) no, Mulhacén (mainland) yes. Seeing the sunrise and the pyramid shade at the top of the Teide is a must, so I climbed both!
Denmark: Møllehøy (mainland) no, Slættaratindur (Faroe Islands, European plate) yes, even though some people question whether the Faroe Islands politically really belong to Denmark.
Result: I climbed both (well, Møllehøy is actually a visit to a local cattle farm...).
The same applied to Portugal: Pico (Azores, European plate) yes, Torre (mainland) no, I climbed both anyway...I never regretted to visit beautiful Pico Island.
A bit of a challenge was the Serbia and Kosovo situation: technically Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, so Serbia’s highpoint would be in Kosovo, but guess what: I climbed both and never regretted visiting Kosovo - what an exotic part of Europe!
European Highpoints level II and III
Following the logic above, I have climbed the highest mountain of each European country, located in geographical Europe. I love travelling, and I love the mountains, so why not extend the challenge with:
Adding all countries that have territory located in geographical Europe, but the highpoint outside geographical Europe, such as Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia's shared summit Shkhara. What wonderful sets of mountains and expeditions they were to climb!
Not to mention Level III
: The highest point of a European country outside geographical Europe, which are Norway's Jøkulkyrkja in the Antarctica, Denmark’s Gunnbjørn Fjeld in Greenland and Netherland's Mount Scenery on the island of Saba. What beautiful way of spending a fortune on travelling to far corners of the world!
Old but true: the journey is the destination
Whatever the definition of the challenge might be, the most important thing is to enjoy the journey, the mountains, getting new experiences, meeting people, experiencing new cultures, developing yourself and to be part of an epic adventure!
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