The List: The definitive ranking of mountains

Andy Downing
Mount Everest

This week's issue includes a pair of mountain-themed features, including our cover story on Pierogi Mountain founder Matt Majesky and our lead arts feature on “The Mountaintop” presented by King Arts Complex. Here's how we see the various mountains stacking up.

N/A Mountain Dew Code Red

Marketed to exxxxtreme athletes. Embraced by gamers. Beloved by no one.

1,256. Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79, which buried the city of Pompeii in ash, freezing many of its residents in time. This is still a slightly better fate than drinking a single Code Red.

1,255. Mountain Dew

Code Red's more mature older sibling. Only slightly better than dying in a volcano blast.

875. “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver

The same way that Bryan Adams' “Summer of '69” makes me wish he hadn't been alive to witness that year (and subsequently write that song), this whimpering John Denver sleeper makes me wish the bespectacled singer had never set eyes on the Rockies.

476. Mountain (the band)

The '70s rock band behind “Mississippi Queen,” a song that features perhaps the most prominent use of cowbell in music history.

8. Mountain, Wisconsin

This tiny northern Wisconsin town was known as Armstrong until 1997. While not exactly Denver in terms of elevation, the hilly region has developed into something of an outdoorsman's paradise, with ponds, miles upon miles of wooded hiking/ATV trails and more.

7. Mountain biking

Pedaling through the hilly woods of West Virginia is a glorious way to spend a spring/summer day, if you're looking for a weekend getaway later this year.

6. Mount Fuji

The highest mountain in Japan, located on Honshu Island, is also associated with a well-known Japanese saying that, according to Wikipedia, suggests “a wise person will climb Mt. Fuji once in their lifetime, but only a fool would climb it twice.” (CNN's Chris Cillizza looks up after finishing second climb: “Did you say something?”)

5. The Mountain on “Game of Thrones”

And we're talking about the brutish, violent version with a fully functioning brain — not the zombie-fied, undead monster of more recent seasons.

4. The Rocky Mountains

This massive mountain range stretches more than 3,000 photogenic miles, but loses points for inspiring John Denver's “Rocky Mountain High” (see: No. 875).

3. Pierogi Mountain

See: This issue's cover story (then hit up Cafe Bourbon Street and order a smattering of these savory Polish treats).

2. “Mountain Song” by Jane's Addiction

True, Perry Farrell has essentially evolved into an elvish Lollapalooza mascot, but this track from his landmark band is still an absolute monster, built on a riff as towering as any of the mountains on this list, save for…

1. Mount Everest

I kind of prefer the “Tubthumping”-esque Tibetan name (Chomolunmga), but it's hard to deny topping our list with what stands as the Earth's highest mountain above sea level. There's a good reason that climbing Everest still ranks as the “peak” accomplishment (pun intended, don't @ me) for most climbers.