When standing at the foot of any mountain, be it Everest or a roadside crag, one may feel only awe for its size and beauty. But as anyone who has ever set their sights on climbing to a summit knows, there is some degree of danger even in seemingly friendly locations.
But certain mountains command respect and fear from everyone, including even the most experienced climbers on Earth. Mountain climbing hazards aren’t just a matter of height.
Different routes can make one side easy and the other nearly impossible. The weather could turn what was once an easy climb into a deadly expedition, but regardless many aspire to tackle them if they’re labeled as “the world’s hardest.”
From K2 Mountain to Mt Everest, here is a list of the six most dangerous mountains you can ever attempt to conquer in your lifetime.
- Mount Everest, Nepal and Tibet
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the world’s tallest mountain is not one of the easiest to climb. The 54-day journey to Everest’s summit can be deadly due to weather changes or avalanches that have claimed many lives in recent years, even on the famous Everest South Col Climb.
Once an exploit not many climbers could attempt on their own, today services such as hiring local sherpas make this climb easier for people who lack climbing knowledge or the physical strength for such a feat. The crowds on the mountain have become an unfortunate danger in themselves.
- K2, China and Pakistan
The second tallest mountain globally, K2 has a lot to live up to. At 8611m tall and 60 days on average, for most climbers who make it all to the top, no list would be complete without mentioning its technical difficulty or ominous “death zone” height. It has an infamous section called the “Bottleneck,” Many climbers traverse over dangerous glacial ice with seracs looming overhead.
Hence, it’s not difficult to see why so many people consider this a tough mountain challenge. There have been more deaths than successful summits due to its technical difficulty, altitude sickness, and harsh conditions above 8500m elevation.
- Annapurna, Nepal
Annapurna, the tenth tallest point globally and one of its deadliest, puzzles mountaineers with a nearly 40% summit fatality rate. The north face is considered by many to be among the most dangerous climbs on Earth due to avalanches and storms that loom over its larger-than-life glacial architecture.
Climbers pass through thick forests to high-altitude climbs on their way up. Climbing to the peak usually takes between 40 to 50 days, at which end you should have had your fair share of obstacles at the 8091m elevation.
- Kangchenjunga, India and Nepal
Climbing up Mount Kangchenjunga is a seemly impossible but potentially rewarding feat. Climbers will need to be in peak physical condition and have the mental stamina required for what many consider one of the most strenuous climbs on Earth, with an elevation over 8586 meters above sea level. To date, only 187 people have made it to the summit.
Therefore, Mount Kangchenjunga stands as both a challenge and a reward, depending on who you ask. Climbers or locals alike see this mountain differently due to its immense religious significance among those who live near its base.
- Nanga Parbat, Pakistan
Nanga Parbat has an elevation of 8,126 meters. The world’s ninth highest peak competes with K2 in terms of technical difficulty. The original route to the summit of Nanga goes along a narrow ridge. The name of the mountain, Nanga Parbat, means “naked mountains.” However, it also goes by another name, Diamir, meaning “king of the mountains,” according to locals. But climbers call it “Man Eater” because it’s so challenging that only four people have ever been successful at climbing it.
- Baintha Brakk, Pakistan
Baintha Brakk, also known as the Ogre by mountaineers, stands at an intimidating 7285 meters. With an undetermined average time to summit and only a handful of successful ascents in its history, this mountain is both coveted by aspiring mountaineers as well as feared for its sheer size and stature.
Overall, not many people even dare to try climbing because it’s so dangerous. One wrong step may be your last mistake on this daunting task through glaciers that could lead you into an eternal ice-cold slumber or down slopes littered with boulders ready to dislodge suddenly.
The mountains are a dangerous place to be, and even more so when you have an attitude that underestimates the power of these forces. You don’t have to learn your lesson the hard way because mother nature can be a ruthless teacher.
So stay alert, stay humble, and stay safe in those majestic peaks!