The planet’s highest and most isolated mountains stimulate a feeling of awe inside all of us, however, just a handful of the world’s population fully grasps how dangerous these mountains could be. The truth is that any time professional climbers and experienced mountaineers allow ice and snow to meet their crampons, they will come face to face with some measure of danger.
Accidents could happen even at reasonably benign crags by the roadside. Albeit, there are specific mountains that command respect from even the most adventurous or experienced climbers, treacherous mountains that still today after decades of their first initial ascension, continue to cause fear and anxiety in individuals. Even though Mount Everest is the most famous, it is not considered in the top eight of the most deadly mountains listed in this article.
This mountain is located in the Himalayas, in the north-central region of Nepal with an elevation of 26,545 feet. Annapurna Massif since its first ascension on the expedition in 1950 led by Maurice Herzog, has been ascended by as many as three hundred individuals, however, a minimum of seventy-three have died trying. This is the reason that the tenth highest mountain in the world, Annapurna, has just a high fatality rate and is considered the most statistically dangerous of the eight thousand meter peaks.
Will adequate amounts of preparation and training for the trek to the peak of Annapurna is quite possible, however, those that are novice hikers would be better off trying to summit less dangerous mountains within the Annapurna Conservation Area.
Located in the Karakoram range between the China and Pakistan border, you will find K2, with an elevation of 28,251 feet. This is the second-highest mountain in the world and is referred to amongst climbers as one of the most difficult as it relates to technique on the planet. Ascensions to even the simplest or easiest routes still require the navigating of a complicated glacier, climbing over steep sections of rock, and negotiating a path around a series of seracs, which are ice pillars known for collapsing without warning. Even after watching a fellow climber plummet to his death, Viridinia Alvarez Chavez became the first Latina to ascent K2 in 2020.
Found in the region of the Himalayas in Pakistan, this mountain has an elevation of 26,660 feet. It is the ninth highest peak found on this planet. It competes with K2 with regard to the technical level of difficulty. The first ascent follows a path with a narrow ridge to the summit. On the southern end is the world’s largest mountain face, called the 15,000 foot Rupal Face. Even though the origin of the name comes from Sanskrit meaning naked mountain, Nanga Parbat is locally referred to as Diamir, translated to mean the king of the mountains, those that climb it call it by another name, the man-eater.
With an elevation of 28,169 feet, Kangchenjunga is located in the Himalayas between the Nepal and India border. When the fatality rates of the planet’s deadliest mountains are assessed, there is a downward trend as the years pass by. However there is one very noticeable exception and that is Kangchenjunga, the third-highest mountain peak in the world. The fatality rates on average exceed twenty percent, which is a testament to the weather hazards and avalanches that plague this deadly mountain. Plus, with the onset of climate change resulting in even more extreme weather and unstable snow conditions, the fatality rates associated with Kangchenjunga ascensions could start to increase.
The Eiger can be found in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland, it has an elevation of 13,015 feet. The north face or Nordwand of this mountain is an objective legendary amongst the climbers due to the danger it poses. Reaching approximately 6,000 feet, the north face is the lengthiest among those in the Alps. Even though the first ascension took place in 1938, the Nordwand of the Eiger still today poses a challenge to mountaineers of all levels of skill with both technical difficulties and the heavy rockfall that plagues the face. The hazards plus the difficulty have earned the north face of the Eiger the nickname Murder Wall or Mordwand.
The Matterhorn is located in the Alps in Switzerland and has an elevation of 14,692 feet. This mountain is iconic due to the shape it forms as it raises out of the surrounding valleys, hence the name. It also has one of the highest death rates of any mountain in the Alps. This is due to a vast range of factors, including severe overcrowding of routes during peak climbing seasons, the prevalence of rockfall and avalanches, and technical difficulty. An easier method of viewing the Matterhorn would be from a safe distance by helicopter, gondola, or train.
Vinson Massif is the highest peak in Antarctica and is located in the Sentinel Range, with an elevation of 16,050 feet. It is not famous for its high death rate or for being technically difficult, however, it is in excess of 16,000 feet and at that type of elevation, plus the combination of extreme cold, isolation, and unpredictable and unstable weather of the Antarctic continent, makes ascending Vinson Massif a very serious enterprise. Even a small accident on this mountain could be a deadly disaster.
Commonly referred to as the Ogre, this mountain has an elevation of 23,901 feet and is located in the Karakoram range in Pakistan. It is known to be one of the most difficult mountains to climb on the planet. Even though the initial ascension was completed in 1971, the Ogre did not see another successful summit until 2001. It earned its reputation due to more than twenty failed attempts and the story of Doug Scott that broke both legs during his descent of the first summit and having to crawl through a storm to the base camp.