Sometimes what qualifies as the biggest or tallest thing is dependent upon one’s perspective in life. Such is the case with the mountain known as Chimborazo. While its elevation is less than that of Everest, it has the unique trait of being the highest point on Earth when measured from the Earth’s core. Chimborazo Day honors and celebrates this (kind of) highest of all mountains and its important cultural role in the Chimborazo province of Equador. So what’s so special? Come with us and find out.
History of Chimborazo Day
Chimborazo was long thought to be (not entirely incorrectly) the tallest mountain in the world and, like Everest, became a destination spot for those intrepid adventurers who would make the attempt to climb to its highest peak and proclaim themselves heroes for a day for having done so. It bears an important role in geographic history as being one of the two key points that was used to determine the actual shape of the Earth.
Working with the French Geodesic Mission, a Lapland team used data gathered from almost, but not quite, the top of this great volcano and determined that the earth was not, in fact, a sphere. From that point forward it was known without question that the Earth was more of an oval/flattened shape known as an oblate spheroid.
For 80 years men and women tried to climb to the peak of the mountain, each time being turned back by its daunting height, craggy slopes, and the perils of altitude sickness. Alexander von Humbolt climbed the mountain in 1802, and reached a point 5,875m high making him, at the time, the European who had climbed to the highest altitude. It wasn’t until 1886 that Edward Whymper successfully scaled the mountain to its very peak and stood atop it, proud and triumphant as the man who conquered Chimborazo.
How to celebrate Chimborazo Day
Why, go on out and set yourself a challenge. If you live somewhere where there are tall mountains or hills to climb, Chimborazo Day might just be your chance to head out and climb them. Don’t be reckless, mind you. A simple hike up the mountainside to an altitude you’ve never reached is enough of a success for any adventurer! Remember, it took the explorers of Chimborazo nearly 80 years to successfully reach it’s summit, and Chimborazo Day is just one day!