Col

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The Langkofel Group with the clearly visible Langkofel Col (Langkofelscharte) left of centre Saslonch.jpg
The Langkofel Group with the clearly visible Langkofel Col (Langkofelscharte) left of centre
Breche de Roland in the Pyrenees Brecha rolando.jpg
Brèche de Roland in the Pyrenees
The Peuterey Ridge. From left to right Aiguille Noire de Peuterey (3773 m), Breche-sud (3429 m), the Dames Anglaises (3601 m), Breche-central, L'Isolee, Breche-nord (3491 m), Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey (4112 m) and Col de Peuterey (3934 m) Aiguilles de Peuterey 001.JPG
The Peuterey Ridge. From left to right Aiguille Noire de Peuterey (3773 m), Brèche-sud (3429 m), the Dames Anglaises (3601 m), Brèche-central, L'Isolée, Brèche-nord (3491 m), Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey (4112 m) and Col de Peuterey (3934 m)

In geomorphology, a col is the lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks. [1] It may also be called a gap. [1] Particularly rugged and forbidding cols in the terrain are usually referred to as notches. They are generally unsuitable as mountain passes, but are occasionally crossed by mule tracks or climbers' routes. The term col tends to be associated more with mountain rather than hill ranges. [2]

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The height of a summit above its highest col (called the key col) is effectively a measure of a mountain's topographic prominence. Cols lie on the line of the watershed between two mountains, often on a prominent ridge or arête. For example, the highest col in Austria, the Obere Glocknerscharte ("Upper Glockner Col", 3,766  m (AA) ), lies between the Kleinglockner (3,783 m above sea level (AA)) and Großglockner (3,798 m above sea level (AA)) mountains, giving the Kleinglockner a minimum prominence of 17 metres. [3]

The majority of cols are unnamed and are either never transited or only crossed in the course of negotiating a ridge line. Many double summits are separated by prominent cols. The distinction with other names for breaks in mountain ridges such as saddle, wind gap or notch is not sharply defined and may vary from place to place.

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A peak's line parent is the closest higher peak on the highest ridge leading away from the peak's "key col". A col is the lowest point on the ridge between two summits and is roughly synonymous with pass, gap, saddle and notch. The highest col of a peak is its key col. If there is more than one ridge which can be followed to a higher peak then the line parent is the peak closest to the key col. Usually, a line parent must meet some prominence criteria, which might vary depending on the author and the location of the peak.

Ultra-prominent peak

An ultra-prominent peak, or Ultra for short, is a mountain summit with a topographic prominence of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) or more; it is also called a P1500. The prominence of a peak is the minimum height of climb to the summit on any route from a higher peak, or from sea level if there is no higher peak. There are approximately 1,524 such peaks on Earth. Some well-known peaks, such as the Matterhorn and Eiger, are not Ultras because they are connected to higher mountains by high cols and therefore do not achieve enough topographic prominence.

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Saddle (landform)

The saddle between two hills is the region surrounding the highest point of the lowest point on the line tracing the drainage divide connecting the peaks. When, and if, the saddle is navigable, even if only on foot, the saddle of a (optimal) pass between the two massifs, is the area generally found around the lowest route on which one could pass between the two summits, which includes that point which is a mathematically when graphed a relative high along one axis, and a relative low in the perpendicular axis, simultaneously; that point being by definition the col of the saddle.

Jochköpfl

The Jochköpfl is a mountain, 3,143 m (AA), on the Windach-Brunnenkogel-Kamm, a subgroup of the Stubai Alps in Austria.

Küchlspitze

The Küchlspitze is a three-thousander in the Verwall between the valley of Stanzer Tal and Paznaun in the western North Tyrol in Austria.

Plöckenstein

The Plöckenstein is a mountain, 1,379 m (AA) high, in the Bohemian Forest on the Austro-Czech border. Its summit is the highest point in the Bohemian Forest in both countries, and also the highest point in the regions of Mühlviertel and South Bohemia. It is well known as a result of stories by Adalbert Stifter.

References

  1. 1 2 Whittow, John (1984). Dictionary of Physical Geography. London: Penguin, 1984, p. 103. ISBN   0-14-051094-X.
  2. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, Allied.
  3. Willi End, Hubert Peterka: Alpenvereinsführer Glockner- und Granatspitzgruppe, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, Munich, 1990. ISBN   3-7633-1258-7