10 insanely dangerous mountains for climbing Featured
Mountain climbing is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It's a risky activity uncluding climbing mountains the hard way with an ice axe, crampons, cams, and rope, but at the same time it's a challenge and perseverance. Climbing some of the world’s most dangerous mountains is a dream of every serious rock climber.
Before someone can even think about attempting to one of these 10 insanely dangerous mountains, needs years of training, hard work and mental preparation. Mountaineers must be competent in both rock and ice climbing techniques, able to understand snow, glacier travel, and forecast weather; and above all, they must have good judgment and common sense to stay not only safe but alive.
So what is the most dangerous mountain to climb? Is it the tallest, the steepest, the one with the slipperiest rock walls or the fewest handholds? The one with the harshest weather?
K2, located on the border between Pakistan and China, is the second tallest mountain on the planet, rising to 8, 611 meters. The mountain, known as Savage Mountain or Chogori, is one of the hardest mountain to climb, even though Everest is taller. Thousands of people have managed to ascend Everest successfully, but only several hundred climbers have ever made it up K2. K2 is very inaccessible, and even driving there to reach it is dangerous. Following the drive, there is an eight-day hike, and only then does the ascent begin. Treacherous weather and rockslides are quite normal, and the remoteness of the location means there is not going to be much in the way of backup help or supplies should something go wrong. Dozens of deaths have been recorded since 1939, most of which occurred during the descent. K2 has also never been attempted in the wintertime, which would surely result in a higher fatality rate.
Annapurna is an ancient Sanskrit word which translates to the ‘Goddess of the Harvests.’ This mountain is not as well known as Mount Everest, but it is a very tough mountain to take on in the Himalayas. It wasn’t even climbed successfully until 1950, which by itself is a pretty strong indicator of its challenge level. It was the highest mountain ever climbed until Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay took on Everest three years later. The first team to climb up Annapurna had to find their way up as they went, and it took another two decades for another team to climb the peak. Tomaz Humar from Slovenia became the first solo climber to make it to the top via the south face in 2007. With over 60 fatalities and a fatality rate of 32%, this mountain has the highest fatality to summit ratio of any mountain over 8000 metres.
Fitz Roy, Patagonia
Fitz Roy is one of the most technically difficult mountains to climb despite its relatively small size of 3, 405 metres. Mount Everest has over 100 visitors to the top every single day during the summer season, but Fitz Roy is lucky to receive even one guest per year. It is extremely isolated which creates many problems for climbers both technically and mentally. . Mountaineers must overcome sheer granite faces, while weather, and Fitz Roy's relative isolation, can also pose major problems. It was first climbed in 1952.
Mont Blanc Massif
Located in the Graian Alps through France, Italy, and Switzerland, this mountain has the highest summit in the Alps. The mountain is crossed by an 11.6 km tunnel that connects Italy to France. It’s hard to say whether this is the most difficult mountain to climb, but it is arguably the most dangerous one. The routes are tricky, the altitude is high, and rock slides are common. The first woman to reach the top of Mont Blanc was Marie Paradis in 1808.
This 3,970-metre peak in the Swiss Alps was first summitted in 1858, but no-one completed the toughest ascent, via the north face, until July 24, 1938. Since 1935 at least 64 climbers have perished on the north face, earning it the nickname Mordwand ("murder wall"). It is a technically difficult climb, with regular rockfall increasing the risk.
No discussion about challenging mountains would be complete without a mention of Everest. At 8,849 meters, Mount Everest is the tallest and most famous mountain on the planet. It is one of the most challenging for precisely this reason. The altitude imposes all kinds of challenges as far as health is concerned, and the extreme cold is just as dangerous. The difficulties associated with climbing Everest became widely known after Jon Krakauer published his 1997 account Into Thin Air. The bestseller detailed an ill-fated Everest expedition which led to the author and several other climbers being stranded while eight others were killed.
Nanga Parbat is located in Northern Pakistan, and rises to 8,125 meters. It is the ninth tallest mountain the world, and is widely considered one of the most dangerous peaks as well. At least 31 deaths were recorded before the mountain was first climbed successfully in 1953 by Herman Buhl. More than 263 people have summited the mountain since, but over the years 62 have died trying, including 10 tourists who were tragically shot and killed by local extremists. This 8,126 metre behemoth has also never been conquered during the winter time. The name Nanga Parbat means Naked Mountain in Urdu, but several deaths have earned it the more fitting title of Killer Mountain.
Found on the border between Switzerland and Italy, the 4,478-metre Matterhorn was one of the last great Alpine peaks to be climbed. It can be very easy climb or a very hard one; it all depends on the route you choose to take to the top. Novice routes can check out routes like the Horni Ridge or Lion. For a tough climb though, try one of the challenging routes such as Furggen Ridges or the North Face. Weather here can be treacherous, even during the summer. That’s why even novice climbers need to have a pretty solid grasp on what they are doing. Even the easier trails can lead to difficulties if the weather turns harsh. The first ascent, in 1865, ended in tragedy when four of the party fell to their deaths on the way down. The fatality rate is also among the highest of all Alpine peaks, with technical difficulty and the prevalence of rockfall and avalaches to blame.
This mountain on the border of India and Nepal rises to an astounding 8,586 meters and is the world's third-highest mountain. The first recorded climb to the summit was in 1955. The mountain, plagued by avalanches and inclement weather, lacks a direct route, which can make for a confusing and treacherous climb. The first part of the climb is relatively straightforward, but the last part involves a sheer climb which is almost vertical for more than 1,000 feet. And while most mountains have boasted improved fatality rates in recent years thanks to better gear and technology, Kangchenjunga is the exception. Only 187 climbers have summited.
The first time this 4,892 metre giant was seen by human eyes in 1958 after a US Navy Aircraft spotted it. It was successfully climbed in 1966, and more than 1,400 climbers have conquered it since. Many guide companies offer expeditions to the top for around $30,000 per person as it is relatively easy to climb despite its huge size.