I am a writer and poet working on the first story I've written set in the mountains; also have been intrigued by mountain hiking most of my life and might be in a position to do some soon, so would like to know the terms so can better understand any advice I am given.

I was able to find the post on this site Terms for different parts of a mountain and it is wonderfully helpful, but I would also like to know if there are specific terms for different parts of a mountain RANGE as opposed to terms for parts of a single mountain.

Frankly, beyond the foothills I don't even know if there ARE distinct parts to a mountain range, or a single term that I can use to refer to just part of a mountain range without going through the trouble and wasting the space of using those FIVE words to refer to it. But if there are would be grateful for anything folk can share on the question.

2 Answers 2


There are a huge range of terms that fit into the definition of "mountains and their environment", as you are probably not too surprised to find, given that they are prominent features of the landscape.

Wikipedia has quite a list here under Mountain and glacial landforms and the other categories below it on that page.

Some common terms you might have heard include:

  • Ridge - a long narrow landform, often near the top of a hill/mountain or joining two mountains.
  • Col - low point on a ridge between to peaks
  • Saddle - a low point between two peaks. Used often for broader, flatter cols.
  • Bluff - a steep slope or cliff.
  • Peak - high point on a mountain or hill - may or may not be the summit.
  • Summit - usually the highest point on a hill or mountain.
  • Ravine - small steep valley
  • Gorge - steep-sided river valley.
  • Plateau - high raised area, often flatish
  • Pass - a navigable route from one valley to another
  • Slip - small moving area of soil and rock that have detached and are sliding down the hill/mountain (also the area where has happened and its residue), similar to avalanche, but rock and soil.

This has been circulating 9gag for quite some time:

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