Top 10 Highest Mountains In The World

Last updated on December 29th, 2021

Mountain climbing is a fun activity for most people across the world. Climbing a mountain successfully takes plenty of rigorous preparation to develop endurance and the ability to survive in the harshest of weather and terrains.

This page is about the top ten mountains in the world. Here we have made an attempt to provide some interesting bits of information about the world’s highest mountains in a simple and concise manner.

The World’s Top Ten Mountains

RankMountain nameElevationFirst ascentFirst ascent in winter
1.Mount Everest8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)29 May 195317 February 1980
2.K28,610 m (28,250 ft)31 July 195416 January 2021
3.Kangchenjunga8,586 m (28,169 ft)25 May 195511 January 1986
4.Lhotse8,516 m (27,940 ft)18 May 195631 December 1988
5.Makalu8,463 m (27,766 ft)15 May 195509 February 2009
6.Cho Oyu8,188 m (26,864 ft)19 October 195412 February 1985
7.Dhaulagiri8,167 m (26,795 ft)13 May 196021 January 1985
8.Manaslu8,163 m (26,781 ft)9 May 195612 January 1984
9.Nanga Parbat8,126 m (26,660 ft)3 July 195316 February 2016
10.Annapurna8,091 m (26,545 ft)3 June 195003 February 1987
highest point above earth
The highest point above Earth’s center is the peak of Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo, located just one degree south of the Equator where Earth’s bulge is greatest. Image credit – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

1. Mount Everest

Located in Nepal and Tibet (autonomus region of China), Asia, Mount Everest was first identified as the highest peak in 1852, reaching about 29,031 feet at its summit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It has been around for approximately 60 million years, and it so far remains one of the most iconic mountains on earth.

1. Changing Height

Everest rises half a centimeter annually due to plate tectonics. After the devastating 2015 earthquake, geographers were eager to see a bigger change. Parallel surveys by China and Nepal in 2020 revealed that the mountain now stands at 29,031.69 feet (8,848.86 meters) above sea level which is more than 2 feet higher than the previous estimate.

2. First Official Ascent

In 1953, New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepali sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to reach the summit and return to tell their story. Some have speculated that English mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine may have been the first to reach the summit in 1924 but the two never returned to confirm their feat.

Evening colored view of Mount Everest. the world's highest mountains
Evening colored view of Mount Everest from Gokyo valley with tourist on the way to Everest base camp, Sagarmatha national park, Khumbu valley, Nepal. The world’s highest mountain. Image via shutterstock/Daniel Prudek

3. First Ascent from the North Ridge

The standard Everest route approaches the summit from the southeast in Nepal. The other main route approaches from the north ridge in Tibet. The first ascent from the north was completed by a Chinese team in May 1960 led by Wang Fuzhou, Qu Yinhua, and Gonpo.

4. Highest Bird Migration

During the 1953 expedition, New Zealand climber George Lowe reported seeing geese flying over Everest. In 2015, a team from the UK led by Dr. Charles Bishop confirmed that bar-headed geese could reach great heights with their samples reaching 24,000 feet. This is the highest bird migration ever recorded.

5. Climbing without Supplemental Oxygen

Mountaineers spend weeks in and around the Everest base camp to get acclimatized. Most carry tanks of supplemental oxygen to the summit because it is hard to breathe at great heights. However, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler showed that it is possible to complete the ascent without supplemental oxygen in 1978.

6. Fastest Known Time

Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet set one of the fastest known times for climbing Everest in 2017. He reached the summit twice 5 days apart: 26 hours starting from the monastery and 17 hours starting from the Advanced Base Camp. It was a solo effort without supplemental oxygen, fixed ropes, or outside support.

7. The 1996 Everest Disaster

Plenty of books and movies have come out about the 1996 Everest Disaster in which 8 climbers died due to a blizzard. Many saw this as a wake-up call about the dangers of commercial climbing in which people of varying experience paid guides to take them to the summit.

View of Kangtega mount in Himalaya mountains
View of Kangtega mount in Himalaya mountains at sunrise. Khumbu valley, Everest region, Nepal. Image via shutterstock/Olga Gavrilova

8. 2014 Mount Everest Avalanche

An avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall resulted in the death of 16 climbing sherpas. This is considered as the deadliest day in the history of Mount Everest. Only 13 bodies were recovered while the rest remain on the mountain due to the difficulty of retrieval. This resulted in a new and safer route.

9. Everest Climbing Statistics

By the end of 2010, there were 5,104 ascents made by 3,142 individuals. A total of 219 fatalities were recorded. That is a rate of 4.3 fatalities per 100 summits. Among these deaths, 26.5% were climbers who reached the summit but were not able to descend.

10. COVID Effects on Climbing

As a safety precaution during the pandemic, both Nepal and China banned climbing groups from foreign countries. Only the Chinese surveyors were able to go up the Everest summit in 2020 to measure the mountain’s height.

Mt. Everest on map

11. The Death Zone

The top portion of Mount Everest is known as the “zone of death”. It is approximately 26,000 feet and above, and it is quite a dangerous place even for the most experienced climbers. Some climbers have compared the experience to “running on a treadmill and breathing through a straw.”

In the year 1999, the oldest known dead body of a climber was found here. The body of George Mallory was found about 75 years after he died in 1924. This man had attempted to be the very first person to climb Mount Everest successfully.

When his body was found in 1999, he was perfectly preserved because of the freezing temperatures where he died. Apart from his body, his clothing and some of his equipment were also preserved. He was dressed in a tweed suit and he also had oxygen bottles and climbing equipment.

Mount Everest isn’t the only peak with a death zone. In fact, the world’s 14 highest mountains all have death zones.

Mountain nameMount Everest
Elevation8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)
Rank1st (the world's highest mountain)
LocationSolukhumbu District, Province No. 1, Nepal;
Tingri County, Xigazê, Tibet Autonomous Region, China.
Coordinates27°59′17″N 86°55′31″E
CountriesChina and Nepal
Solo ascents75
First ascent29 May 1953
First ascent byEdmund Hillary (nationality - New Zealand)
and Tenzing Norgay (nationality - Nepalese, Indian)
First ascent in winter1980
Prominence8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)
Mount Everest's prominence is defined by convention as its height, making it consistent with prominence of the highest peaks on other landmasses.
Parent nameMahalangur Himal, Himalayas
Normal routeSoutheast ridge (Nepal)
Did you know?1. Mount Everest is approximately 60 million years old.

2. About 2% of the climbers have summited Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen.

3. Everest was first named Peak 15 and measured at 29,002 feet in 1856.

4. In terms of its summit's elevation above sea level, Everest is ranked as being as the tallest mountain in the world.

5. Measured from base to peak, Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii, is the highest mountain in the world (33,484 feet from base to summit). However, since its base is several thousand meters below seat level, we only see the top 4,207 m (13,802 ft) of it.
Who made the first solo ascent of Mount Everest?Reinhold Messner completed the first solo ascent of Mount Everest in 1980.
Who was the first woman who climbed Mount Everest?The first woman to summit Everest was the Japanese climber Tabei Junko, who reached the top from the South Col in 1975. She was climbing with the first all-women expedition to Everest (although male Sherpas supported the climb).
What are other names for Mount Everest?Its most common Tibetan name, Chomolungma, means “Goddess Mother of the World” or “Goddess of the Valley.” The Sanskrit name Sagarmatha means literally “Peak of Heaven.” Mount Everest was also previously referred to as Peak XV; it was renamed for Sir George Everest in 1865.
The rocks comprising Mount Everestthe Qomolangma Formation, the North Col Formation, and the Rongbuk Formation (from the summit of Mount Everest to its base)
Flora and faunaA moss grows at 6,480 metres (21,260 ft) on Mount Everest. It may be the highest altitude plant species.
Animal(s)Euophrys omnisuperstes the Himalayan jumping spider, is a small jumping spider that lives at elevations of up to 6,700 m (22,000 ft) in the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, making it a candidate for the highest known permanent resident on Earth.
WindsThe peak of Mount Everest extends into the upper troposphere and penetrates the stratosphere, and thus is exposed to the fast and freezing winds of the jet stream.
Jet streams pose a major danger to climbers on Mount Everest. With freezing winds at 120 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour,) climbers are stuck until the jet streams die down.
The oldest person to summitJapanese Miura Yiuchiro, age 80 on May 23, 2013
The youngest person to summitAmerican Jordan Romero, age 13 years 11 months, on May 23, 2010
The record for most summits (male or female) with 24Kami Rita Sherpa
The youngest woman to summitIndian Malavath Poorna, 13 years 11 months on May 25, 2014
The record for most summits (female) with 8Lakpa Sherpani
Table last updatedDecember 11, 2021

2. K2

Located in some of the farthest and highest places on earth in terms of altitude, and in the most remote margins of the world, K2, or ‘The Mountain of Mountains, is a place of absolutely breathtaking landscape and natural beauty, a place that you are bound to never forget long after you’ve left. With temperatures falling well below -40 degrees Celsius in most parts, it’s a true adventurer’s delight, a treasure trove of high dizzying peaks and steep valleys.

1. Mount K2 got its name in 1956 from a British officer (Col. T.G. Montgomerie) working for the great Trigonometrical Survey of India. The officer reached a small mountain in Kashmir and saw two remarkable peaks 200 km away. He gave them the names of K1 and K2. The symbol K2 is a result of the fact that it is the second peak to be measured in the Karakoram Range.

2. Mountain K2 is also known as Mount Godwin-Austen in honor of Henry Godwin-Austen, an early explorer of the region.

"K2" World second highest mountain. The world's second-highest mountain.
“K2” World second highest mountain. Image credit – waqas anees

3. The mountain is characterized by treacherous climbing conditions because it is prone to frequent and severe storms. It is one of the most challenging mountains in the world to climb.

4. Only a few people have successfully reached the top of Mount K2 compared to those who have successfully climbed Mount Everest. Even though fewer people have successfully climbed mount K2, there have been fewer deaths than those who have died while trying to climb Mount Everest.

5. In 1987, a polish expedition arrived in Pakistan, and the first attempt to climb the mountain in winter was unsuccessful. On the other hand, Mount Everest was first climbed in winter of 1980.

6. Nepali climbers believe that the most challenging part of the climb is the descent. It is executed in a state of insufficient oxygen achieved by rappelling miles of fixed rope to get to safety on the glacier at the foot of the mountain.

7. According to the legendary climber Reinhold Messner, Mount K2 is the most beautiful of all the high peaks.

Mount K2 on map

 

8. The Himalaya mountaineering is characterized by three major categories of “first”: the first ascent, the first ascent without supplemental oxygen, and the first ascent in winter when climbing conditions are at their worst.

9. Of all the world’s 14 mountains with peaks over 8000 meters above sea level, all have been climbed with and without supplemental oxygen. Additionally, all have been summited in winter when the climbing conditions are at their worst.

10. Getting Intimate With the “Devil” Incarnate: so why it’s popularly referred to as the Mountain of Mountains leaves a lot more to the imagination than anything else, but when you set forth to climb it from its foothills, you’ll slowly begin to understand why it’s second only to Mt Everest as one of the most fascinating mountain adventures in the world. Situated in an area that borders Pakistan and mainland China, the surrounding region is predominantly a mix of Arabic and Asian ethnic groups.

11. Geographical and Economic Significance: of the top five highest mountain peaks in the world, K2 is ranked as the deadliest, with one in four people who attempt to climb it dying every year! But don’t let that perturb you as the daring feat of climbing it isn’t exactly a must, but even if you do, there are several trained Nepalese mountain climbers to assist you every step of the way, literally. Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni, on a 1954 Italian expedition which was led by Ardito Desio were the first to reach its summit, and every since then, the mystery that once surrounded it has become a thing of the past.

Concordia and Gondogoro La Trek in Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Pakistan)
Concordia and Gondogoro La Trek in Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Pakistan). Image credit – Molly Tolzmann

12. From The Ice To Grand Fame: in fact, it’s fame far once out-shadowed that of Mount Everest in the early 1980’s when it was incorrectly measured as the highest mountain in the world, and ever since then, it became more popular than Everest, a mistake that has resulted in a large number of tourists flocking from around the world, attracting significant foreign currency revenue to the region. As a matter of fact, much of the difficulties associated with climbing K2 aren’t only the rugged terrain and sharp cliffs, but the glacial weather and extreme cold conditions. Unknown to many is that its summit had never been reached in winter, only until recently when a group of Nepalese Sherpas achieved it this year.

13. The Insane Tales Of Past Climbers: reading into K2 you’ll slowly come across the horrific tales of past climbers. Some of them succumbing to respiratory diseases, and in some instances, bizarre bouts of fever triggered by malaria. It’s a mixed bag of avalanches, rockfalls and deathly attacks of frostbite. Which is why hundreds of people have died in the past century trying to reach the peak. Those who have managed to descend alive tell of chilling, heart-wrenching encounters of human remains like rib cages partly exposed in snow of past casualties.

Quick facts and statistics about K2

Mountain nameK2
Native namesچھوغوری (Balti)
Other namesChinese Qogir Feng, also called Mount Godwin Austen, called locally Dapsang or Chogori.
Elevation8,610 m (28,250 ft)
Rank2nd (the second-highest mountain on Earth)
LocationSolukhumbu District, Province No. 1, Nepal;
Tingri County, Xigazê, Tibet Autonomous Region, China.
Coordinates35°52′57″N 76°30′48″E
CountriesPakistan-administered Kashmir and China-administered Kashmir
First ascent31 July 1954
First ascent by Achille Compagnoni (nationality - Italian) & Lino Lacedelli (nationality - Italian)
Isolation1,316 km (818 mi)
(the topographic isolation of a summit is the minimum distance to a point of equal elevation, representing a radius of dominance in which the peak is the highest point)
Prominence4,020 m (13,190 ft), Ranked 22nd

(In topography, prominence (also referred to as autonomous height, relative height, and shoulder drop in US English, and drop or relative height in British English) measures the height of a mountain or hill's summit relative to the lowest contour line encircling it but containing no higher summit within it. It is a measure of the independence of a summit)

Topographic isolation and prominence.svg

Parent rangeKarakoram
Easiest routeAbruzzi Spur
The first woman to reach the summit of K2Wanda Rutkiewicz (Polish)
The oldest person ever to summit K2Carlos Soria Fontán (he is the only mountaineer to have ascended ten mountains of more than 8,000 meters after turning 60)
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

3. Kangchenjunga

Kangchenjunga is not as famous as Mt. Everest or as popular as K2. As the world’s third highest mountain, it should be part of most colloquial expressions and myths by now but no. The stunning mountain range is still dwarfed by the fame of Mt. Everest and the romance of K2. Here are interesting facts about Kangchenjunga to help you develop better appreciation about this under-appreciated mountain.

1. Kangchenjunga is sometimes called Kanchenjunga or Kinchinjunga. Part of the mountain is found in Sikkim, India and the other part is in Nepal. It is part of the Himalaya range. Kangchenjunga is considered the tallest mountain in India. In Nepal, it is second only to Mt. Everest.

2. Kangchenjunga is a Tibetan term that means “Five Treasuries of the Great Snow”. Kang means snow, chen means big, dzo means treasure or treasury, and nga means five. The number five refers to its peaks – Kangchenjunga Main, Kangchenjunga West, Kanchenjunga South, Kangchenjunga Central, and Kangbachen.

Kangchenjunga from the Gangtok lookout point. The world's third-highest mountain
Kangchenjunga from the Gangtok lookout point. Image credit – teckky

3. The first map made of Kangchenjunga was created by explorer Rinzin Namgyal in the mid-19th century. In 1899, English explorer Douglas Freshfield circumnavigated the mountain. He was accompanied by Rinzin Namgyal. The expedition helped confirm the extensive glaciation of the mountain, which explains party why it is such a challenge to climb.

4. Circuiting the mountain, Freshfield wrote about his difficulties and frustrations, stating that the mountain may have been built by the “Demon of Kangchenjunga” who made the mountain difficult for humans to ascent.

5. The first attempt to summit Kangchenjunga was made in 1905 by no other than British occultist and magician Aleister Crowley. His party took the South-West Face route but was assaulted by an avalanche that caused the death of several men. One of the surviving men declared that the deaths were a form of sacrifice for the Demon of Kangchenjunga but the team decided to abort the climb.

6. Ironically, the first successful climb occurred 50 years later in 1955 via the same route the Crowley team took – the Yalung Face. After an unsuccessful attempt at another climbing route, the British expedition finally summitted. The top of the mountain was finally conquered on May 25, 1955 by George Band and Joseph Brown.

7. In spite of the successful first climb, Band and Brown did not actually reach the summit of the Kangchenjunga. The Sikkim authorities had asked that climbers not trod on the summit itself, so Band and Brown stopped just 5 feet from the very top.

look at the four summits of Kangchenjunga
Another look at the four summits of Kangchenjunga: Yalung Kang (8505m), Main (8586m), Central (8482m) and South (8476m). Image credit – Mark Horrell

8. The second ascent occurred in 1977 by a team from India. The expedition leader was Col. Narendra Kumar. The team conquered the northeast spur, the ridge that 1929 and 1931 German expeditions failed to complete.

9. The third ascent was made on May 16, 1979 by Doug Scott, Joe Tasker, and Peter Boardman. The team not only established a new route using the North Ridge but also made the first climb on the mountain without using supplemental oxygen.

10. The first solo ascent was made by Pierre Beghin in 1983. He did so without supplemental oxygen.

11. Kangchenjunga is not a favorite peak among climbers. This may be due to the fact that it is considered too remote to climb, even for experienced climbers. To reach the Base Camp, climbers must contend with a difficult approach that could take about 15 days. The absence of roads and lodges also makes it undesirable for many climbers and there is always the danger of avalanches.

12. Another thing that puts off climbers from conquering Kangchenjunga is that the mountain is located in an area that has no tourist spots or Sherpa porters. Climbers simply have to climb on their own without assistance from the experienced locals. This, along with the difficult terrain, is why many climbers avoid Kangchenjunga.

13. Kangchenjunga has four climbing routes: the North Face, the Northeast Spur, the Southwest Ridge, and the Southeast Ridge.

14. Every climbing season, no more than 20 to 25 climbers attempt to summit Kangchenjunga. The most number of attempts were around 34. This figure is just 10% of the number of people that attempt to summit Mt. Everest.

Mountain nameKangchenjunga
Elevation8,586 m (28,169 ft)
Rank3rd (the third-highest mountain on Earth)
First ascent25 May 1955
First ascent byJoe Brown and George Band on British Kangchenjunga expedition
First winter ascent11 January 1986 by Jerzy Kukuczka and Krzysztof Wielicki
Coordinates27°42′09″N 88°08′48″E
Isolation124 km (77 mi)
Prominence3,922 m (12,867 ft)

Ranked 29th
LocationTaplejung District, Nepal;
Sikkim, India
Parent rangeHimalayas
Easiest routeglacier/snow/ice climb
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

4. Lhotse

Lhotse lies along the border of Tibet and Nepal. The name means “South Peak” in Tibetan as it is located south of the Everest massif. The mountain has three peaks with Lhotse Main at 8,516 m above sea level while the slightly lower peaks are called Lhotse Middle and Lhotse Shar. This is considered as an excellent preparation for an Everest climb due to proximity, elevation, cost, level of difficulty, and spectacular views. Below are some of the most interesting facts about Mt Lhotse:

Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. The world's fourth-highest mountain
Everest smaller than Nuptse? Since Nuptse is real close and in front – Everest looks smaller than Nuptse. But head is seen because it is higher… Lhotse on the left is also higher than Nuptse. Image credit – cksom

1. First Attempt

The first recorded attempt to climb Lhotse was made by the 1955 International Himalayan Expedition. They were able to reach 8,100 m before strong winds and low temperatures forced them to retreat. The members completed the Everest area’s first map.

2. First Ascent

In 1956, the Swiss Lhotse Expedition led by Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger made the first successful ascent to the main summit. They built camps high up the mountain with their last push starting from Geneva Spur at around 7,600m.

3. Speed Record

On May 10, 1996, Anatoli Boukreev registered the world speed record from the Base Camp to the Lhotse summit at 21 hours and 16 minutes. He did this as a solo attempt without supplemental oxygen.

4. 8000 m Ascent Record

Reinhold Messner is an Italian mountaineer known for being the first to reach the summits of all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters. The entire project lasted 16 years from 1970 to 1986. He started with Nanga Parbat and ended with Lhotse.

5. Youngest Climber

Arjun Vajpai holds the distinction of being the youngest climber to ascend the mountain. His did it in 2011 when he was 17 years and 11 months. He also holds the same record for Mt Manaslu.

morning view of Lhotse and Island Peak. Top ten highest mountains in the world
Around Dingbuche – morning view of Lhotse and Island Peak. Image credit – Paul

6. First Female

Chantal Mauduit became the first female to finish a solo climb of Lhotse in 1996. She was also able to climb K2, Shisha Pangma, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, and Gasherbrum II in the Himalayas. Mauduit did not rely on supplemental oxygen for these expeditions.

7. Standard Climbing Route

The Lhotse standard climbing route and the Everest South Col route start the same way. They follow an established path from the Base Camp to the Yellow Band beyond Camp 3. At this point, they will diverge with Everest climbers going left and Lhotse climbers going right.

8. Fatality Rate

Climbing mountains is a dangerous pursuit. The fatality rate in Lhotse is 2.8% which represents 27 deaths so far. This is relatively low compared to other 8,000-meter peaks such as Annapurna with 38% fatality. Meanwhile, the success rate at Lhotse is 67%. The safest times to climb are before and after the monsoon season.

9. Cost of Climbing

Most climbers go to Lhotse through the Nepal side. They can fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and trek for days to the base camp. Each person pays between $7,000 and $21,000 to join an expedition. This takes care of the guides, permits, trash fees, food, sherpas, accommodations, plane tickets, and other necessities.

10. Skiing from the Summit

In 2012, Hilaree Nelson became the first woman to summit Everest and Lhotse within 24 hours. She returned in 2018 with Jim Morrison to become the first people to ski down from the summit of Lhotse.

Quick facts and statistics about Lhotse

Mountain nameLhotse
Elevation8,516 m (27,940 ft)
Rank4th (the world's fourth-highest mountain)
LocationChina (Tibet Autonomous Region)
Province No. 1, Nepal (Khumbu)
Coordinates27°57′42″N 86°56′00″E
First ascent18 May 1956
First ascent byFritz Luchsinger, Ernst Reiss
First winter ascent31 December 1988 Krzysztof Wielicki
Isolation2.66 km (1.65 mi)
Prominence610 m (2,000 ft)
Parent rangeMahalangur Himal
Easiest routeglacier/snow/ice climb
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

5. Makalu

The interesting facts about Mt Makalu begin with its name, which means “God.” The mountain is the fifth highest peak in the world, and the isolated peak forms a four-sided pyramid, which makes the coating ice difficult to scale. Located near the border of Tibet and Nepal, the area ranks as one of the remotest in the world. Mt Makalu is known for its unspoiled natural beauty.

1. The first documented successful climb that happened in winter only recently occurred on February 9, 2009 by Simone Moro, an Italian, and Denis Urubko, a Kazakh. The first-ever successful climb occurred in 1955 when an expedition led by Jean Franco reached the summit on May 15, 1955. The climb is ranked as one of the most difficult in the world by experts who cite the knife-edged ridges and steep pitches as major problems.

2. The Makalu area features broad vistas and spectacular views of Mt Chamlang, Mt Baruntse, Mt Makalu and Mera Peak among other famous Nepal Peaks. Flora includes 5 species of rhododendron, 47 species of orchids and 56 rare plants among the natural cover. These are eaten by the natural fauna of the region that include red panda, musk deer, snow leopard and wild boar.

Mount Makalu in the Himalayas. The world's fifth-highest mountains
Mount Makalu in the Himalayas is pictured in this Copernicus Sentinel-2B image from 9 December 2017. Image credit – European Space Agency

3. The summit of the mountain lies directly on the international boundary. The region is currently governed by China, and the name derives from the Sanskrit phrase “Maha Kala,” which names the Hindu god Shiva and translates as “Big Black.” The mountain is part of a national park area called Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area, which occupies 580 square miles of territory. The park protects an area of astonishing beauty and rare ecosystems of the Alpine Tundra, which feature a great diversity of plant life.

4. Parts of Mt Makalu are relatively easy to climb despite the risks of reaching the summit. The basic glacier affords well-established paths on the lower slopes. There are also two subsidiary summits: Chomo Lonzo and Kang Chun Tse or Makalu II. This makes the mountain less crowded than trying to scale Everest and other nearby mountains.

5. The Makalu-Barun Valley is situated at the base of the Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal, which is a study in sharp contrasts. You can view steep gorges and high waterfalls that cascade over them. Lush green forests bloom in spring and summer with colorful blossoms against snowy backdrops. This environment protects rare plants and animals from the encroachments of civilization. It’s one of the few surviving Arctic ecosystems where plant and animal life flourish in an unspoiled state. You can conduct strict viewing only sessions or interact with the wildlife if you prefer.

6. The Makalu Base Camp offers stunning views, unspoiled nature, quiet trails for hiking and terraced farmland of the natives of Nepal. It’s an ideal adventure for those who want to explore a variety of landscapes, cultures and uncommon views of the world’s highest mountains. Deeper in the mountains, you might meet the Rai people who live in the hills of Nepal and work on their terraced farms.

Mt. Makalu. List of highest mountains in the world
Mt. Makalu. Image credit – melanie_ko

7. The Makalu base camp is an ideal destination for those who enjoy independent study and trekking. The base camp reveals astonishing scenery, and the area has considerably less human traffic than the base camps in the area because there are no tea houses and other facilities.

8. The Arun River provides great whitewater rafting adventures for visitors to Mt Makalu. A tributary of the Sapta Kosi River, the Arun River has more than 70 kilometers of water perfect for rafting at a challenging Grade 5 rating. Encountering wild rafting in the peaceful setting is just one more of the startling contrasts that Mt Makalu provides visitors seeking adventures and experiences off the beaten path.

Quick facts and statistics about Makalu

Mountain nameMakalu
Elevation8,463 m (27,766 ft)
Rank5th (the world's fifth-highest mountain)
LocationProvince No. 1 (Khumbu), Nepal / Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Coordinates27°53′23″N 87°05′20″E
First ascentMay 15, 1955
First ascent byby Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy
First winter ascentFebruary 9, 2009, by Italian Simone Moro and Kazakh Denis Urubko
Isolation17 km (11 mi)
Prominence2,386 m (7,828 ft)
Parent rangeMahalangur Himal
Easiest routesnow/ice climb
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

6. Cho Oyu

The kind of anxious optimism and mysticism surrounding Mount Cho Oyu isn’t anything about it being just -in terms of mountain size- a stone throw away from Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. In fact, it being a great geological formation on the Himalayan range of mountains is a tip of the iceberg of the culture of the surrounding landscape. You come from driving through bustling business centers, to driving patiently through semi arid landscapes of unbearable, soaring heat, then approaching a white world of ice and cold. When EVERYTHING around you is brought into its proper perspective, it’s more than reaching the summit of Mount Cho Oyu, but learning more about the native, indigenous ways of life. Below is a short list of interesting facts about Cho Oyu that will give you all the more reason to visit some of the least appreciated parts of the world.

1. The Nepalese Way Of Life

A visit to Mount Cho Oyu without a momentary glimpse into the Nepalese way of life is outright impossible. This is because it’s too obvious to miss, as the trek up the mountain almost inevitably begins there. A diverse community of people comprising multiple languages, different ethnic groups, religions and cultures, Nepal consists of three interesting regions, and climatic weather conditions: a low-lying hot jungle, a semi arid hill country, and the Himalayan regions of brutal cold, snow and glacial geography. From that backdrop the geographic and economic significance of Mount Cho Oyu can never be underestimated. Politically, the kingdom is a monarchy with a king, and of course, a thriving democracy of different political parties supporting constitutional democracy.

2. Mount Cho Oyu And Its Climbing History

The very first pioneering expedition that set forth to conquer this sleeping giant was led by a team consisting of the famous Edmund Hillary, who is famed for being the first person to reach the highest point on earth, Mount Everest. This was in 1952, a somewhat practice run for the more challenging task that lay ahead of mounting Everest. Though this expedition was not successful at the end for obvious reasons, the summit was eventually reached 2 years later by Herbert Tichy and Joseph Jöchler.

Cho Oyu. The world's sixth-highest mountain
Cho Oyu. Image credit – Donald Macauley

3. A Joy To Behold

In the years that followed, to date, it is considered as the easiest of the ‘8 Thousanders’ to climb, a group of mountains at peaks of 8,000 feet and above. With a predominantly flat summit, it is a perfect place to relax after a long and arduous climb, unlike those with sharp peaks and unnerving deep crevices. And not only that, unlike most of the other 8 Thousanders, it is one of the few that can be climbed without supplemental oxygen, possibly because of the thin air.

4. The Expedition Itself

The expedition to the summit has been known to last about 10 weeks or more, depending on your general fitness. When you arrive you’ll find that here are several expedition parties comprising seasoned Sherpas -native climbers- and commercial parties. In an area that borders with Tibet, you’re bound to experience a mix of cultures that is quite rare.

Quick facts and statistics about Cho Oyu

Mountain nameCho Oyu
English translation of its nameTurquoise Goddess
Language of nameTibetan
Elevation8,188 m (26,864 ft)
Rank6th (the world's sixth-highest mountain)
LocationNepal (Province No. 1)–China (Tibet)
Coordinates28°05′39″N 86°39′39″E
First ascentOctober 19, 1954
First ascent byHerbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler, Pasang Dawa Lama
First winter ascent12 February 1985 Maciej Berbeka and Maciej Pawlikowski
Isolation29 km (18 mi)
Prominence2,340 m (7,680 ft)
Parent rangeMahalangur Himal, Himalayas
Easiest routesnow/ice/glacier climb
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

7. Dhaulagiri

The Dhaulagiri massif is the highest mountain that is completely within Nepal as other tall peaks are located along its borders. Its name means “beautiful white mountain” in Sanskrit. In clear weather, the peak of Dhaulagiri can be seen from as far as the northern plains of India. Most climbers pass by the town of Pokhara to gather supplies before embarking on their expedition. Below are 8 interesting facts about Dhaulagiri:

1. First Successful Ascent

Major attempts to climb the mountain began in 1950 with a French team led by Maurice Herzog. None were successful until 1960 when Swiss, Austrian, and Nepali climbers joined forces to ascend via the northeast ridge. Among them is Kurt Diemberger who is the only person with two first ascents of 8,000 m peaks under his belt.

2. Ascents from Different Routes

Since then, multiple routes have been established by different groups. In 1978, a Japanese team led by Takashi Amemiya was able to reach the summit through the southwest ridge. In 1984, a Czech team completed the climb via the west face. In 1988, a Soviet-Czech team performed a technical climb via the southwest buttress.

3. First Woman on the Summit

In 1982, a Belgian-Nepali team split into two while taking the standard northeast ridge. The first group made it to the summit on May 5. The second group did the same feat the next day and among them is Lut Vivijs who is listed as the first woman to reach the summit of Dhaulagiri.

4. First Winter Climb

Most mountaineers go out in the spring when the weather conditions are favorable but the Polish team led by Adam Bilczewski wanted to do the first Dhaulagiri winter climb. They had to face temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius and hurricane level winds for weeks before completing the ascent on January 21, 1985.

The Burning Dhaulagiri, The world's seventh-highest mountain
The Burning Dhaulagiri. Image credit – Neil Young

5. Fastest Ascent Record

Anatoli Boukreev is an accomplished Russian mountaineer who made 7 ascents of 8,000 m peaks without using supplemental oxygen. In 1995, he set the fastest ascent record on Dhaulagiri at 17 hours and 15 minutes. He also holds the speed record on Mt Lhotse.

6. Fatality Rate

A statistical analysis of Himalayan mountaineering in 2007 revealed a summit to fatality rate of 16.2% from 58 deaths and 358 successful ascents. If we include all of the expedition members and staff who went above the base camp, then the fatality rate is only 2.88%. The major culprits are falls and avalanches.

7. Avalanche Strike

Death doesn’t just come for people on the move. In 1998, the French climber Chantal Mauduit and the Nepali Sherpa Ang Tshering died while sleeping inside their tent because of an avalanche. A charity foundation was created in her honor to improve girls education in Nepal.

8. Dhaulagiri’s South Face

In 1999, Slovenian Tomaz Humar got close to reaching the summit via the south face but he had to abandon the ascent at 7,300 due to loose rocks. The dangerous conditions forced him to traverse the southeast ridge and switch to the familiar northeast ridge for a safe descent. Multiple attempts have been made to conquer Dhaulagiri’s south face but the deadly route remains unclimbed to this day.

Dhaulagiri from Muktinath. world's highest peaks
Dhaulagiri from Muktinath. Image credit – Richard Weil

Quick facts and statistics about Dhaulagiri

Mountain nameDhaulagiri
Elevation8,167 m (26,795 ft)
Rank7th (the world's seventh-highest mountain)
Coordinates28°41′54″N 83°29′15″E
First ascent13 May 1960
First ascent byKurt Diemberger, A. Schelbert, E. Forrer, Nawang Dorje, Nyima Dorje
First winter ascent21 January 1985 Jerzy Kukuczka and Andrzej Czok
Isolation318 km (198 mi)
Prominence3,357 m (11,014 ft)
Ranked 55th
Parent rangeDhaulagiri Himal
Easiest routeNortheast ridge
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

8. Manaslu

1. The Mountain of Spirits

The name manaslu comes from the Sanskrit word manasa, which translates to soul or intellect. Mount Manaslu, therefore means the mountain of the spirit.

2. Conquered in 1956

Mt. Manaslu was first conquered by Japanese mountain climbers Gyalzen Norbu and Toshio Imanishi on may 9, 1956.

3. A Japanese Mountain

Since the British consider Mt. Everest their own mountain because of the numerous unsuccessful attempts to scale it before a New Zealander conquered the mountain, Mt. Manaslu is also considered a Japanese mountain.

4. Topography

The mountain has favorable topography with glacial valleys and long ridges, which provides climbers with multiple routes for climbing.

5. Glaciers

The mountain has a special feature, Larkya La, which is a glacial saddle on the north of Manaslu with an elevation of 5,106 meters.

6. Peaks

Mt. Manaslu has three important peaks that climbers usually try to conquer. These are the Ngadi Chuli, Baudha and the Himalchuli.

7. Boundaries

The main peak is bounded by Buri Gandaki and Ganesh Himal River gorge on the east and by deep fissures of the Marysyangdi Khola on the west as well as the Annapurna range of hills. On the southern part of the mountain sits Gorkha town, which lies on the foot of the mountain. This is where trekking is done during the climbing season.

8. Distance from Foot to Peak

Mountain climbers have to cover at least 48 kilometers, which is the distance from Gorkha town to the peak.

9. Trek Routes

Over the years, a total of six trekking routes have been established. The most difficult route for climbing the mountain lies to the south face.

Mount Manaslu. The world's eight-highest mountain
Manaslu. Image credit – Petr Meissner

Quick facts and statistics about Manaslu

Mountain nameManaslu
Native nameमनास्लु (Sanskrit)
English translationMountain of the spirit
Elevation8,163 m (26,781 ft)
Rank8th (the world's eighth-highest mountain)
LocationGorkha District, Manang-Gandaki Province, Nepal
Coordinates28°32′58″N 84°33′43″E
First ascentMay 9, 1956
First ascent bya Japanese team
First winter ascent12 January 1984 Maciej Berbeka and Ryszard Gajewski
Isolation106 km (66 mi)
Prominence3,092 m (10,144 ft)
Ranked 80th
Parent rangeMansiri Himal, Himalayas
Easiest routesnow/ice climb on NE face
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

9. Nanga Parbat

Mt. Nanga Parbat is a truly breathtaking spectacle located in the Pakistan-administered region of Kashmir. The mountain attracts thousands of tourists every year, with some of these tourists visiting as climbers. Among the things that make the Nanga Parbat really spectacular are the rock buttresses and long-winding paths. Speaking of terrains, they don’t come tougher than the slopes of Mt Nanga Parbat. This mountain has for long been the marker of mountain climbers’ abilities.

1. Did you know Nanga Parbat means naked mountain in the local dialect? Nanga Parbat is derived from the Sanskrit words nagna parvata, meaning “naked mountain. The reason for the name is the mountain’s south face exposed rock buttresses. The northern side is equally spectacular, with broad barriers of seracs and snowy faces.

Panaromic view of Nanga Parbat. The world's ninth-highest mountain
Nanga Parbat. Image credit – UltraView Admin

2. For a very long time, particularly before the second world war, climbers to this mountain believed the only viable route to the summit was via the northern side. This route followed the Rakhiot Peak located between the Silberzaken summits, hence avoiding the treacherous north face.

3. Mt. Nanga Parbat has had other acronyms besides the naked mountain. Other names include Killer Mountain. This moniker was attributed to the mountain’s notoriously difficult routes and harsh weather. These two conditions conspired to create a nightmarish situation for climbers. The death of 31 climbers cemented the killer mountain tag.

4. Over the years, there have been hundreds of mountain climbers attempting to scale this legendary mountain. British climber Albert F. Mummery is regarded as the first climber to make an attempt to ascend Nanga Parbat in the year 1895. He was unsuccessful, as he met his death while at it.

5. Albert said this of Nanga Parbat, “The astounding difficulties of the southern face may be realized by the gigantic rock-ridges, the dangers of the hanging glacier and the steep ice of the north-west face—the most terrifying faces of a mountain I’ve ever seen—are preferable to the south face.”

Nanga Parbat at a distance. tallest mountains on Earth
Nanga Parbat at a distance. Image credit – Ahmed Sajjad Zaidi

6. It wasn’t long before the Nanga Parbat was conquered by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl on 3rd July 1953. For Buhl, the climb started as a group activity, but the other climbers couldn’t endure the rigours and had to turn back. Buhl soldiered on, reaching the summit at seven o’clock in the evening.

7. It’s said that what a man can do, so can a woman. Nothing demonstrates this gendered perspective as the climb up the Nanga Parbat by the first female climber. Lillianne Barrard, a French climber, conquered the ascent on this mountain in 1984, nearly three decades after Hermunn Buhl paved the way.

Quick facts and statistics about Nanga Parbat

Mountain nameNanga Parbat
Native nameننگا پربت (Urdu)
Elevation8,126 m (26,660 ft)
Rank9th (the world's ninth-highest mountain)
LocationGilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan
Coordinates35°14′15″N 74°35′21″E
First ascent3 July 1953
First ascent byHermann Buhl on 1953 German–Austrian Nanga Parbat expedition
First winter ascent16 February 2016 by Simone Moro, Alex Txicon and Ali Sadpara
Isolation189 km (117 mi)
Prominence4,608 m (15,118 ft) Ranked 14th
Parent rangeHimalayas
Easiest routeWestern Diamer District
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021

10. Annapurna

The Himalayas are among the most dynamic geological features on the earth and the mountain chain Annapurna is no exception. It is a massif, meaning that it is a structure of rock different from the rock that was originally around it and it stuck out because it had more durable properties. It is in the north and center of Nepal and has one peak that exceeds 8000 meters in height.

Annapurna 1. The world's tenth-highest mountain
Annapurna 1. Image credit – Brigitte Nau

1. The other mountain peaks include thirteen that exceeds 7000 meters and sixteen that are at least 6000 meters high. This is extraordinary by world standards, but mountains in the Himalayas tend to be very high since they are supported by the extra height of a plateau and are young and growing geological features. In comparison, the mountains of Alaska are growing at a slower rate and are not as high as the Himalayas.

2. The Annapurna massif as a whole is 55 kilometers long and has the Kali Gandaki gorge on its west flank while the Marshyangdi River flows around the north and eat. The Pokhara Valley sits on the south; it is the product of the massif while the massif itself is influenced by the river ranges. The valley is a preserve named after the mountain chain.

3. The highest peak is called the Annapurna 1 Main and is considered the tenth highest mountain in the world. It stands at 8,091 meters or 26,545 feet above sea level. It was explored by Maurice Herzog in 1950, and he scaled the north side.

4. The entire mountain system and the valley are protected by law and was the first conservation project created by the state of Nepal. While travel and human activity are restricted, some world famous trails are in the reserve. Aside from the trails, the mountains are historically famous for being the highest peak successfully climbed until Mt. Everest was scaled some three years later.

Quick facts and statistics about Annapurna

Mountain nameAnnapurna
Elevation8,091 m (26,545 ft)
Rank10th (the world's tenth-highest mountain)
LocationGandaki Province, Nepal
Coordinates28°35′46″N 83°49′13″E
First ascent3 June 1950
First ascent byMaurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal
First winter ascent3 February 1987 Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer
Isolation34 km (21 mi)
Prominence2,984 m (9,790 ft)
Ranked 100th
Parent rangeHimalayas
Easiest routenorthwest face
Table last updatedDecember 2, 2021