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15 Highest Mountains in the World

07.05.2021
Annapurna South Nepal
© Foto_Kastenhuber / Shutterstock
The majestic snow-capped giants have always attracted people with their frightening charm and defiance. Travelers who have visited mountains at least once will agree on one thing — it's difficult to put into words the beauty of the surrounding scenery and the emotions that arise during the ascent to the summit. In order to experience these feelings with new strength and get a charge of adrenaline, climbers conquer the highest mountains in the world and set records. We offer to get acquainted with the main of them, which proudly wear the title of the largest peaks of the globe.

Mount Everest

Height: 8849 meters.
Location: the Himalayan mountain range, on the border between Nepal and China.

Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. Its second name is Chomolungma, which means "the Goddess Mother of the World." This peak is shaped like a triangular pyramid with a steep southern slope. It was formed more than 60 million years ago by the tremors of the Indian tectonic plate. Everest is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful, and at the same time, extremely dangerous mountains. That is why not all mountaineers can conquer it. In addition to the fact that the route itself is very difficult, additional obstacles may be high atmospheric pressure and thin air, which is difficult to breathe for a long time. Each breath of air on the summit of Everest has 66 percent less oxygen than a breath taken at sea level. The temperature on the slopes of Chomolungma never rises above 0°C, but it can drop down to -60°C. It takes an average of about 40 days to climb the mountain.

A group of climbers on the way to the summit of Everest
Everest © Vixit / Shutterstock

Chogori (K2)

Height: 8611 meters.
Location: Karakoram mountain range, on the border between Pakistan and China.

The second tallest mountain on Earth also has several names — Chogori, K2, Dapsang, and Godwin-Austen. In addition, it is also nicknamed for its extreme climbing conditions, which are considered even more dangerous than Everest — a "wild mountain" and "killer mountain. According to statistics, one in four climbers who intend to conquer the summit of Chogori is doomed to death. The most massive ascent of K2 in history is considered to have taken place on July 23, 2018, when 63 climbers managed to ascend the mountain. More than 1,000 mm of precipitation falls here annually — mostly snow and hail. Chogori is the only peak that has not been climbed in winter.

View of K2 seen from Concordia camp in Pakistan
K2 from Concordia Camp in Karakorum National Park © Peter John Watson / Shutterstock

Kanchenjunga

Height: 8568 meters.
Location: the Himalayan mountain range, on the border of Nepal and India.

The name of this eight-thousander translates as "five treasures of the great snows" — the Kanchenjunga mountain range consists of five major peaks, four of which exceed 8,000 meters. Until 1852, Kanchenjunga Main (8,586 m) was considered the highest mountain in the world. Like Chogori, it has a relatively high mortality rate when climbing — about 22%. For the first time, participants of the British expedition managed to conquer the top in 1955. Today there are 11 different routes to Kanchenjunga. Nepalis believe that the spirit of the mountain has the image of a woman who takes the life of all the girls who happened to be on its slopes. The only woman who has visited its peak in 1998 is Englishwoman Ginette Harrison. Another interesting fact about Kanchenjunga is that Nicholas Roerich was fond of it and often depicted it in his paintings. It is still impossible to count exactly how many works he dedicated to the mountain.

Two days before Kanchenjungi Base Camp
Kanchenjunga © Caroline Lib33 / Shutterstock

Lhotse

Height: 8516 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, on the border between Nepal and China.

Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world. It is separated from Everest by the South Saddle pass, 3 km long, and is shaped like a triangular pyramid. In addition to the main summit (8516 m), there are two more that exceed 8000 meters — Lhotse Middle (8413 m) and Lhotse Shar (8383 m). Until 2001, Lhotse Middle was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the only unconquered eight-thousand-meter peak. This is because the routes there are extremely difficult, and too few of them are laid down to this day. Ascent of the South Face on Lhotse Shar is considered one of the most difficult in the world. It has a very high mortality rate.

The fourth highest mountain on earth
Lhotse © Gerhard Albicker / Shutterstock

Makalu

Height: 8485 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, on the border between Nepal and China.

The name of this peak means "black giant" in Chinese. The explanation is simple — snow does not stay on its steep slopes for a long time, so the mountain looks black from afar. Makalu consists of two peaks — Main and Southeast. The first climbs on the mountain began only after the 1950s, as it has long been in the shadow of neighboring Everest. The peaks of Makalu are considered some of the most dangerous because of their narrow edges and deep snowdrifts, which become an impassable obstacle for many. Climbing this peak requires experience and professional climbing knowledge.

Prayer flags atop Gokyo Ri
Makalu in Sagarmatha National Park © Pedro Carrilho / Shutterstock

Cho Oyu

Height: 8201 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, on the border between Nepal and China.

Cho Oyu (Qowowuyag) is one of the most popular highest mountains after Mount Everest. Many climbers use it as a training location before climbing other giants. Unlike neighboring eight-thousanders, known for their dangerous trails, it offers the easiest conditions for climbing. The overall mortality rate, compared to successful climbs, is about 1.5 %. Nevertheless, the main risk factor here remains the possibility of getting caught in an avalanche. The main route to the summit is through the Nangpa La Pass. As of 2016, there are 15 different routes to Cho Oyu.

Stone hill in the background of the Tibetan landscape
Cho Oyu © Dmitry Pichugin / Shutterstock

Dhaulagir

Height: 8167 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, the central part of Nepal.

Dhaulagiri or the White Mountain rises above the deepest gorge in the world, Kali Gandaki. The main feature of the mountain massif is the number of its peaks. There are 11 of them in total. The ascent to the top takes on average up to 50 days and requires very good physical training. Most climbers stay at an altitude of about 7,000 m. The main danger is the steep, ice-covered slopes and avalanches. The ascent of the mountain by a Russian-British expedition in 1993 has become history. The team made a route along the center of the north face and conquered the summit without oxygen tanks. The climbers were nominated for the prestigious Golden Ice Axe international award, but no one has yet managed to repeat this ascent.

View from Poon Hill to the Annapurna Trail
Trek along the Annapurna track in the Nepal Himalayas © Zzvet / Shutterstock

Manaslu

Height: 8156 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, the central part of Nepal.

Manaslu has a second name, Kutang, which translates as "mountain of spirits. Nepalis believe that it is necessary to obtain an elder's permission before climbing to avoid trouble. In 1998, the national park of the same name was formed around the mountain, which now has a hiking trail. Hikers can encounter rare animals such as pangolins, red pandas, and blue sheep while hiking. Manaslu's topography is similar to Mount Everest in many ways. The summit was first conquered in 1956. Since then, there have been about ten different routes to it.

Spectacular mountain views on the trail around Manaslu
Manaslu © Olga Danylenko / Shutterstock

Nanga Parbat

Height: 8125 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, Pakistan.

The name Nanga Parbat means "Naked Mountain" in Sanskrit. This peak is also considered very dangerous for climbers. Before the first successful ascent in 1953, it claimed the lives of 31 people. The most difficult thing that those wishing to conquer Nanga Parbat may face is the unfavorable weather conditions. The mountain borders the plain, where the climate is quite hot. As a result, warm and cold air masses collide, provoking a sharp change in the weather. In addition, there is increased avalanche danger. The peak remains inaccessible for most of the year, and in order to conquer it, it requires the highest level of training and an impressive amount of professional equipment.

Nangaparbat in the reflection of the lake
Nanga Parbat © Muhammad Azhar Hafeez / Shutterstock

Annapurna

Height: 8091 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, the central part of Nepal.

The Annapurna mountain range is not only one of the three most dangerous eight-thousanders (together with K2 and Nanga Parbat), but it also ranks first in this top list. The mortality rate of climbing it used to reach 32%, but it began to decline with the development of technical capabilities. The mountain also has the largest number of peaks — 13 in total. According to studies, Annapurna is growing. The Nepalese earthquake in 2015 caused the mountain to increase by 20 cm. Despite the many negative characteristics, it is worth noting the unique beauty of the mountain range. The way to the top is dotted with glacial lakes and untouched corners of wildlife. And there is also a great variety of flora and fauna.

During sunrise from Annapurna base camp
Annapurna © Gaurav Aryal / Shutterstock

Gasherbrum

Height: 8080 meters.
Location: Karakoram mountain range, on the border between Pakistan and China.

This mountain range consists of seven peaks, three of which are eight-thousanders (Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrum II). In the Balti language, Gasherbrum means a "Shining Wall." The name is explained because the western slope of the mountain, covered with snow, glistens and sparkles on sunny days. Most often, climbers choose to climb the top of Gasherbrum II. The classic route is along the southwest ridge. It is considered one of the safest, as it is less prone to ice and avalanches.

Climber tents and a large kitchen tent at the base camp
Base camps Gasherbrum I and II © Piotr Snigorski / Shutterstock

Shishapangma

Height: 8027 meters.
Location: Himalayan mountain range, Tibet Autonomous Region (China).

The lowest eight-thousand-meter peak in the world consists of three peaks — Shishapangma Main (8027 n), Shishapangma Central (8008 m), and Molamenqing (7703 m). A Chinese expedition was the first to conquer the mountain on May 2, 1964. The ascent route to this peak is recognized as the easiest of all the giants. Nevertheless, 21 climbers have died here throughout history. Summer is considered an unsuitable season for climbing because of the frequent rains, snowfalls, and avalanches. By the way, the very name of the mountain in Tibetan means "severe climate."

View of Mount Shishapangma from Langtang Valley
Mount Shishapangma in Langtang National Park © v.apl / Shutterstock

Tirich Mir

Height: 7708 meters.
Location: Hindu Kush mountain range, Pakistan.

Tirich Mir is the highest mountain peak in the world outside the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges. It is located 240 km northwest of Nanga Parbat. Many spurs connect the summit with neighboring peaks, and there are many large glaciers between them. Members of the Norwegian expedition led by Arne Ness first climbed it in 1950. It is advised to plan the ascent for summer or early fall. Tirich Mir is quite a difficult summit to climb. You need an organization of a thorough and long mountain expedition, as well as good physical preparation to conquer it.

Highest mountain of the Hindu Kush ridge
Tirich Mir © Abdul Rehman Joyia / Shutterstock

Victory Peak (Jengish Chokusu)

Height: 7439 meters.
Location: Tian Shan mountain range, on the border of Kyrgyzstan and China.

Victory Peak (Jengish Chokusu) is the northernmost of all the seven-thousanders. It is also extremely difficult to climb and is among the top of the highest mountains in Eurasia. Soviet mountaineers managed to conquer the peak for the first time in 1938. Since then, the mountain has taken the lives of over 70 people. Among the main risk factors are cracks on the slopes, severe icy winds, with speeds reaching 150 km/h, and air temperatures that sometimes drop below -30°C. Climbing Victory Peak requires good equipment and a high level of professional training.

High snowy mountains in Central Asia
Victory Peak (Jengish Chokusu) © Almazoff / Shutterstock

Aconcagua

Height: 6961 meters.
Location: Andes mountain system, Argentina.

Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in South America, located in the national park of the Argentine province of Mendoza, almost on the border with Chile. The mountain has many glaciers, the largest of which are considered the northeastern (Polish Glacier) and the eastern. The mountaineer Matthias Zurbriggen made the first ascent of Aconcagua alone on January 14, 1897. Given the rather comfortable geographical and climatic conditions, climbing this mountain becomes an excellent preparation before more significant climbs — for example, the Himalayan eight-thousanders. Winter is considered the best season for such a trip. The slopes of Aconcagua are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The local terrain will surprise anyone who decides to climb the peak.

Mountain landscape and transparent lake in the national park
Aconcagua National Park and Espejo Lagoon © Fotosdelalma / Shutterstock