Standing at 1,675 m (5,495 ft) tall, Mount Thor's height is not particularly impressive for Canada’s mountains, but how it reaches that height is what makes Mount Thor so imposing – it has the world’s largest vertical drop. At 1,250 m (4,100 ft), its cliff face in Auyuittuq National Park plummets straight downwards, a sheer drop that actually curves back on itself before coming back out to meet anyone unfortunate enough to fall.
With an overhang at an average of 15 degrees from vertical, Mount Thor represents the longest possible freefall downwards without hitting anything. If you were to jump off and splay your arms out, it would take around 26 seconds at terminal velocity before you land on anything, covering well over a kilometer of distance.
Just one of Canada’s many national parks, Auyuittuq National Park stands out as a near-unexplored wilderness. Located within the Arctic Circle on Baffin Island, this park has it all – glaciers, fjords, and jagged mountains jutting from the vast scenery. Its name roughly translates to “the place that never melts”, and this explains why Auyuittuq National Park remains relatively untouched by humans. A few popular hiking routes wind through the area, but freezing conditions and extremely poor access make exploring the full park extremely difficult.
But perhaps the most interesting feature has to be Mount Thor.
Mt Thor was carved by thousands of years of glacial erosion, creating a U-shape consistent with other glacial rock formations. Interestingly, the granite that makes up Mt Thor is also among the oldest rock in the world, dating back a maximum of 3.5 billion years ago.
As expected, the spectacle of such a drop didn’t make humans shy away from it. Instead, Mt Thor has become a popular climbing route for serious enthusiasts, but it is no mean feat. It was first scaled by a four-person team in 1985, taking a massive 33 days to climb the intense vertical face, and has remained a tough challenge ever since.
Over one kilometer of freefall also attracts BASE jumpers as well, in spite of the park’s unique jumping ban, due to how difficult it is for emergency services to reach the area. While it is very much illegal to do so, thrillseekers still throw themselves off the mountain for a jump like no other, leading to many people being prosecuted by officials.