Top 10 Highest Mountains In The World

Last updated on January 10th, 2023

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