Canada’s Mount Thor Is the Longest Vertical Drop In the World

By Todd Neikirk
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Canada’s Mount Thor Is the Longest Vertical Drop In the World

Todd Neikirk
 
Photo Credit: Paul Gierszewski / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo Credit: Paul Gierszewski / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
 
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Climbing a mountain can be an addicting habit for adrenaline junkies, and once they get a taste, they look for bigger and better adventures. One of the most extreme excursion opportunities can be found in Canada, close to the border with Greenland: Mount Thor. The summit features the longest vertical drop in the world, and it’s at the top of many climbers’ bucket lists.

Mount Thor is located in Auyuittuq National Park

View of the Pangnirtung Fiord
Auyuittuq National Park, in Canada, features stunning visuals, such as Pangnirtung Fjord. (Photo Credit: Ansgar Walk / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5)

Canada’s Auyuittuq National Park is located in the province of Nunavut. As it’s in the Arctic Circle, there isn’t much around. The area was initially a national park reserve and known as Baffin Island National Park. Its name changed in 1976, and in Inuktitut means “the place that does not melt.”

Those who are able to travel to Auyuittuq National Park are treated to a number of exciting activities and breathtaking sights.

Mount Thor is popular among mountain climbers

Man standing below Mount Thor
Many adventurers have made it their goal to climb Mount Thor, which is located in Auyuittuq National Park. (Photo Credit: Christopher Morris / CORBIS / Getty Images)

Auyuittuq National Park may be remote, but many trek there to tackle Mount Thor. The peak, which is named for the Norse God of Thunder, has become one of the most famous in the world, and many adventurers have aimed to tackle it. It’s part of a larger range, the Baffin Mountains, which themselves are in the Arctic Cordillera mountain range.

In 1965, Donald Morton and Lyman Spitzer made the first ascent up the mountain. Twenty years later, the team of Earl Redfern, John Bagley, Eric Brand and Tom Bepler became the first group to tackle the west face of the summit. It took them 33 days, and despite the fact they’d brought a massive amount of supplies, their stores were almost empty by the time they reached the top.

The first person to tackle the west face of Mount Thor by themselves was Jason Smith, who accomplished the feat in 1998.

Mount Thor has the longest vertical drop in the world

Mount Thor in the setting sun
The sun setting on Mount Thor creates a spectacular sight. (Photo Credit: David Phillips / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)

At 4,100-feet tall, Mount Thor provides an incredible challenge for those choosing to climb it. The 15-degree angle from vertical of its overhang can make the peak appear as thought it’s not as high as it seems, but the truth is that it has the longest vertical drop in the world.

If a climber was unfortunate enough to fall from the mountain’s peak, they would descend more than a kilometer before striking the ground.

People are encouraged to act in a safe manner at Auyuittuq National Park

Man BASE jumping off of Mount Thor
Due to the dangerous nature of the act and the remoteness of the area, BASE jumping from Mount Thor is illegal. (Photo Credit: Carol M. Highsmith / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

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The majesty of Mount Thor means people don’t just want to climb the peak – they want to do something even more dangerous. The extreme vertical drop attracts BASE jumping enthusiasts. Not only is BASE jumping off the mountain incredibly dangerous, the remoteness of the area means emergency crews can’t respond to incidents quickly. As such, the activity is illegal.

Speaking of illegal, hang gliding off of the mountain is banned for the same reason.

 
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