Summit

In topography, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a local maximum in elevation. In terms of elevation opposite to it are foothills. The topographic terms "acme", "apex", "peak", and "zenith" are synonyms.

The term "summit" is generally only used for a mountain peak with some significant amount of topographic prominence (height above the lowest point en route to the nearest higher peak) or topographic isolation (distance from the nearest point of higher elevation); for example, a boulder next to the main summit of a mountain is not considered a summit. Summits near a higher peak, with some prominence or isolation, but not reaching a certain cutoff value for these quantities, are often considered subsummits (or subpeaks) of the higher peak, and are considered as part of the same mountain. The UIAA definition is that a summit is independent if it has a prominence of 30 metres (98 ft) or more; it is a mountain if it has a prominence of at least 300 metres (980 ft). This can be summarised as follows:

Term Prominence Isolation
Subpeak < 30 m ? m
Independent peak or summit 30 m or more ? m
Mountain 300 m or more ? m

A pyramidal peak is an exaggerated form produced by ice erosion of a mountain top.

Summit may also refer to the highest point along a line, trail, or route. In many parts of the western United States, the term refers to the highest point along a road, highway, or railroad. For example, the highest point along Interstate 80 in California is referred to as Donner Summit (not to be confused with Donner Pass, which is located just to the south.)

Famous quotes containing the word summit:

    The light that shined upon the summit now seems almost to shine at our feet.
    Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924)

    The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb mountains,—their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never visited by them. Pomola is always angry with those who climb the summit of Ktaadn.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
    Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff
    That beetles o’er his base into the sea,
    And there assume some other horrible form
    Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,
    And draw you into madness?
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)