Some people like it rough. They don’t care about easy hiking and family stroll to a peak of a hill. Travelers want a challenge – the route that will require all possible strength and skills.
They need something to fight with, to feel a constant thrill, an exciting kind of fear (sometimes terrifying at the same time). They dream about reaching the stars and there are those who almost literally try.
That’s why, ever since the 1950s when the first daredevils ascended the highest mountains in the world, people continue to seek even more challenging ways to do it. Here are some of the hardest peaks to climb in the world:
1. Annapurna, Nepal
It may not be the highest (it’s 10th, actually), but it certainly has one of the most challenging routes of all. How do we know it? Well, it has the highest mountain climbing mortality rate in the world – doesn’t sound too encouraging, right? Well, for some people it’s one more reason to try, but if you don’t feel like climbing all of over 8000 meters, there are always circuit routes – maybe you should try this out.
2. K2, Pakistan/China
The second highest mountain in the world has also claimed its share of lives, especially that avalanches and snowstorms are very often a part of the deal; there’s a reason why it’s the only mountain over 8000 meters that has never been climbed in winter. However, the majority of these deaths happened while taking an extremely dangerous shortcut to the peak. Haste makes waste – sometimes quite literally and horribly.
3. Kanchenjunga, India/Nepal
Most people who died climbing the third highest mountain in the world lost their lives due to avalanches or hypothermia. Still, around 200 successes have been recorded so far so it certainly is doable. The scariest part is probably a vertical wall of over 300 meters where a lot of people lose their minds after looking down.
4. Matterhorn, Switzerland/Italy
Maybe it is only a bit less than 4500 meters high, but it holds the title of one of the most deadly mountains in the Alps. Sadly, a lot of deaths while climbing Matterhorn only happen because people tend to underestimate it because of its height.
If you really set your eyes on this one, consider going there off-season – sometimes there are so many people that those who are higher create small avalanches that hit those below them.
5. Everest, Nepal/China
This really is the king of the mountains, the highest there is, maybe not the most dangerous, but still deadly, especially if you come without preparation.
There have been numerous attempts and over 7,500 of them were successful but for every 100 summits, over one ended in some fatalities. However, people tend to care only about the first number, so Everest has been a bit overcrowded for the last years.
Denali, or McKinley, how it’s sometimes called, is a bit higher than 6,000 meters, but only half of the attempts actually reach the summit. Not only its weather is not very friendly (it’s close to the North Pole), but the area is known as prone to earthquakes – it’s not exactly something you want to experience while hanging on the climbing wall.
7. Nanga Parbat, Pakistan
It’s called a Man-Eater for a reason – over 5% of all the climbers attempting to climb this mountain lost their lives there. It has the largest mountain face in the world and the weather isn’t exactly warm and sunny even in the summer – it’s covered in snow and slippery ice; that’s why it’s almost impossible to climb it in winter.
8. Mont Blanc, Italy/France
The high altitude of the highest mountain in Europe is one of the most common reasons for failed attempts; rock slides have their share of every year’s several dozens of deaths as well. Still, it draws a crowd of climbers. Unfortunately, they’re very often unprepared, that’s why the total death toll of Mont Blanc is estimated between 6,000 – 8,000 persons.
9. The Eiger, Switzerland
Or the Ogre, if you prefer, is sometimes called a mini-mountain – it doesn’t reach 4,000 meters, but it still is extremely dangerous with the largest North face in the Alps. Almost 4,000-meter wall of rocks and ice – sounds quite impossible and it did send a lot of climbers down to a horrible death. The Murder Wall, they call it.
10. Baintha Brakk/Pakistan
Also called an Ogre, but located far from the previous one. It has only been summited three times, and not because of the lack of attempts. It’s extremely steep which cost lives a lot of climbers – and hurt badly many more. People who succeed barely made it back to the basecamp – one with broken legs, the other with heavy pneumonia and broken ribs.
Encourage or discourage? It certainly is not an adventure for everyone. But if you like to live dangerously, just make sure you’re prepared, fully-equipped, extremely careful and reasonable. And good luck!