Around the Block: Jagged Peaks

‘Alp me get down from here!

Some Minecraft players are natural troglodytes. They’re drawn to the deepest, darkest parts of the overworld, where diamond ore glimmers in the darkness, and you’re perpetually one block away from an unexpected lava bath.

Others, though, prefer to climb. They’ll seek out the highest points in the game, clamber above the clouds, and gradually inch their way up to the summit, picking up exposed emeralds along the way. It’s those players to which today’s biome of the week is dedicated – the jagged peaks

Minecraft has had peaks for a long time, but they didn’t get as jagged as they are today until the second part of the Caves & Cliffs update was released in November 2021. They’re one of the many new mountain biomes added in the update, alongside the meadow, grove, snowy slopes, and snow-capped peaks.

As you might expect, jagged peaks generate at the very tops of mountains. To find them, it’s best to head uphill from snowy, cold, and temperate biomes. You’ll be climbing for a while, though – these peaks go up way past the cloudline, all the way to y-level 256.

Minecraft’s jagged peaks are often covered by snow and ice, but it’s worth digging below because you’ll often find exposed ores like coal, iron and emerald. No plants grow at these heights, but occasionally you’ll come across goats searching in vain for something to eat, and silverfish nesting in the rock. Pillagers will also sometimes build outputs up here, as it’s a relatively safe place to stash treasure.

Just like cultures living in snowy places have many words for snow, mountaineers have many names for the tops of mountains, including peak, summit, apex, acme, zenith, and top.

There’s some debate about how a “peak” is defined, because mountains rarely stand-alone and usually form in clusters. A high point surrounded by downward terrain which is nonetheless fairly close to a higher summit is sometimes called a “subsummit”, and considered part of the same mountain.

For example, the highest mountain in Minecraft’s Swedish homeland is called Kebnekaise and it has two peaks. The southern one, covered with snow and ice, used to be the highest, at 2,120 meters. But over the last 50 years, some of that ice has melted and the peak has shrunk by 24 meters. As a result, the northern peak, which is ice-free, is now the highest.

In Minecraft, it’s entirely up to you what you call a peak. So get up there and start exploring the loftiest reaches of the overworld. Just be sure to wear some thermal underwear – it’s chilly up there.

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere