2024 Mountain Trivia Challenge

This quiz was evening entertainment at the 13th ICA Mountain Cartography Workshop, Zakopane, Poland. The winning team—Alex Fries, Karel Kriz, Dušan Petrovič, Ondrej Prochazka, and Silviu Bumbak—scored 20 out of 27 possible points.

Can you beat the mountain experts? Give yourself one point for each correct answer—your spelling need not be perfect. Answers are at the end.

1) What mountain range on the French/Swiss border has given its name to a period on the geologic timescale popularized by a Steven Spielberg movie?

2) Identify the mountain range from these clues:

A. It runs north/south.

B. It is the longest range entirely within a single country.

C. The highest peak is named after someone from Poland.

3) Pando, which lives in Utah’s high country at 2,740m (9,000ft), is the oldest and largest known single organism on Earth. What is Pando?

4) Where have you seen this mountain before?

5) Three towns have hosted the winter Olympics twice. Name one of them.

6) A “guyot” is a type of flat-topped mountain named after Swiss-American geographer Arnold Henry Guyot. Where are they found?

7) According to all four former members of the English rock band, Led Zeppelin, which of their songs named after a mountain region in Asia was their best musical achievement?

8) In 2020, researchers found the world’s highest dwelling mammal at 6,739m (22,109ft) near the summit of Llullaillaco in the Andes. What species was it?

9) The Western Cwm is an ice-filled cirque on the southwest side of Mount Everest. “Cwm” is a word from what language?

10) Who is this guy?

11) This popular ornamental tree with fan-shaped leaves was thought extinct in the wild until a relic population was reported in southwestern China’s Dalou Mountains in 2012. What species is it?

12) The exterior of the Grand Overlook Hotel in the Stanley Kubrik movie, The Shining, was filmed at which 2002 Mountain Cartography Workshop venue?

13) Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra named the Lion Mountains in 1462. What African country takes its name from the Lion Mountains?

14) Somoni Peak (7,495m, 24,590ft), the highest peak in Tajikistan, was known by two other names during the 20th century. Name one of these prior names.

15) Identify the mountains in this photograph.

16) In 1902, a volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Martinique destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, killing 30,000 people. A prisoner in a dungeon was one of only three survivors. What was the name of the “bald” mountain that erupted?

17) The Ruthenians or Rusyns are an ethnic group that dwell in what mountain range?

18) Nicknamed The Kingdom in the Sky, this landlocked nation is the only country in the world to lie entirely above 1,000 meters.

19) Identify the mountains indicated on the map

20) The Hazara are a persecuted ethnic group descended from Mongols who live in the central highlands of what country?

21) In Jules Verne’s 1864 novel Journey to the Center of the Earth, the explorers began their journey by entering a volcano. The volcano was in what country?

22) The Iron Gates gorge of the Danube River is the boundary between which two mountain ranges?

23) Mount Kinabalu at 4,095 meters (13,435ft) is the highest peak on what tropical island that is home to the indigenous Dayak people?

24) What is the name of the inactive volcanic crater and protected area in Tanzania that is home to approximately 25,000 large animals, including wildebeest, cape buffalo, zebra, and black rhinoceros.

25) Which European country has the highest average elevation? Hint: Think small.

Extra Credit (2 points, 1 point for each correct answer)

What were the two Roman towns destroyed by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius?


1)   Jura are the mountains on the French/Swiss border.

2)   Great Dividing Range, Australia.

3)   A tree. Specifically, an aspen (Populus tremuloides) grove that shares a common root system and identical DNA.

4)  The movies. The mountain is the Paramount logo.

5)   St. Moritz (1928 & 1948), Lake Placid (1932 & 1980), and Innsbruck (1964 & 1976) have each hosted the winter olympics twice.

6)   Ocean bottom. Guyots are a variety of seamount.

7)   Kashmir is the Led Zepelllin song.

8)   A mouse (Phyllotis xanthopygus rupestris) is the highest dwelling mammal.

9)   Cwm is a Welsh word.

10)   Eduard Imhof, the influential Swiss cartographer.

11)   Ginkgo trees were discovered growing China's Dalou Mountains.

12)   Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon, was featured in The Shining.

13)   Sierra Leone takes its name from the Lion Mountains.

14)   Stalin Peak and Communism Peak were the former names of Somoni Peak, Tajikistan.

15)   Sierra Nevada, Spain, are the mountains in the photograph. The Alhambra Palace is in the foreground.

16)   Mont Pelée erupted in 1902 on Martinique.

17)   Carpathian Mountains, where the Ruthenians live.

18)   Lesotho is nicknamed The Kingdom in the Sky.

19)   Kunlun Mountains, China, are indicated on the map.

20)   Afghanistan is home to the Hazara.

21)   Iceland is where the Jules Verne's explorers entered the volcano.

22)   The Carpathian and Balkan mountains are separated by The Iron Gates gorge.

23)   Mount Kinabalu is in Borneo.

24)   Ngorongoro is the Tanzania crater with many animals.

25)   Andorra has the highest average elevation in Europe at 1,996m (6,549ft).

Extra Credit

Pompeii and Herculaneum were the two Roman towns destroyed by Mount Vesuvius.

Want more mountain trivia? Check out the previous quizzes from 2023, 2018, and 2016.