Tiny Week: The Smallest Mountain in the World


Mount Everest has instant name recognition. Standing an impressive 8,848 meters above sea level, it holds the distinction of being the world's highest mountain. It is literally located at the top of the world. But where there is short there must be long, and where there is big there must be little. Enter Mount Wycheproof, Everest's superlative sister-yes, the world's smallest registered mountain.

Approximately three hours from Melbourne, Australia, Mount Wycheproof extends some 486 feet above sea level and 141 feet above the surrounding terrain. There is no snow; there are no climbing fees; and there are fewer residents in the town-approximately 800-than there are at an Everest Base Camp during peak season. Here, as you can probably surmise, there are very few climbers.

Nick Hewson

Nick Hewson/Flickr

Formed thousands of years ago, Mount Wycheproof is a granite outcrop in the country town of Wycheproof. Both the mountain and the town are said to draw their names from the Aboriginal place-name "witchi-poorp," which is said to mean "grass on a hill." Despite the meaning of the name, Wycheproof is a mountain-albeit a tiny mountain with a small, conical peak and less-than-staggering views.

Though many small brush towns in Australia have disappeared, Wycheproof-first surveyed in 1875-has managed to hold on. Among its other notable attractions include an unfinished section of railway cutting through the heart of town; the pinkish, transparent mineral wycheproofite (discovered in 1990); and the Mount Wycheproof & District Racing Club, whose annual "Derby Day in the Country" attracts approximately 3,000 guests to the township for a day of thoroughbred races.

The star of the town, however, remains its tiny mountain. Interested in something more than a climb? Aim for the Great Grain Festival and Music on the Mount, a harvest festival held in February every "even" year, which showcases a night of acoustic performances atop Mount Wycheproof and under the night sky. Your move, Everest.

Katherine is a New York-based travel writer and photographer who is almost always dreaming of her next big adventure. Follow her on Twitter.