Mountaineering is an exciting activity but also a very dangerous one. With steep and icy terrain, altitude sickness, unpredictable weather, and other hazardous conditions, there are some mountains that are simply more dangerous than others.
In this blog post, we'll explore the 10 most dangerous mountains in the world, their risks, and why they should be taken seriously by any would-be mountaineer. From Mt. Everest to K2, these peaks have claimed the lives of many adventurers and are not to be taken lightly. Read on to learn more about the dangerous nature of these mountains.
Mountaineering accidents happen around the world every year, sadly, many of these are at the will of mother nature. Keep reading to explore a few of the most dangerous mountains in the world and what makes these peaks so tough to summit safety.
The Annapurna massif is a group of eight peaks located in Nepal, forming part of the Himalayas. It is one of the most dangerous mountains in the world (one of many mountains in Asia that make it onto this list), with an altitude of 8,091 meters (26,545 feet).
Annapurna is known as a notoriously difficult mountain to climb and has been the site of some of the deadliest mountaineering accidents in history.
Since the first successful ascent of Annapurna in 1950, more than 72 people have died attempting to climb it. This makes it one of the deadliest mountains in the world. There have been around 365 successful ascents of Annapurna I, however, which is impressive considering the challenge of the climb.
The first ascent of Annapurna was completed by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal in 1950. The two climbers were part of a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog and Lionel Terray, who had already attempted to climb the mountain twice before. Despite immense hardship and danger, Herzog and Lachenal were able to make it to the summit and become the first people ever to do so.
Did You Know? Annapurna is one of the most famous mountains in Nepal.
Since its first ascent in 1954, an estimated 377 people have successfully climbed K2, compared to over 11,000 successful summits of Mount Everest. This relatively low success rate is partly due to the difficulty of the route but also due to the notoriously unpredictable weather conditions.
K2 has earned a reputation for being the “Savage Mountain” due to the high number of fatalities that have occurred during attempts to summit.
Since it was first climbed, over 66 people have died trying to reach its peak.
Due to its notorious reputation, K2 remains one of the most elusive mountains in the world. It takes a highly skilled mountaineer with considerable experience to tackle this peak, and few have been able to achieve this feat. Despite its difficulty and danger, K2 continues to attract ambitious adventurers who are determined to reach its summit.
While not as known as some of the mountains on this list, Nanga Parbat is just as dangerous. It is known as "Diamer" locally, meaning "king of the mountains," and reaches a height of 26,660 feet (or 8,126 meters). It is one of the 14 mountains around the world that is over 8,000 meters tall.
It is estimated that around 64 climbers have lost their lives attempting to summit Nanga Parbat (over a total of 287 attempts) since 1953. It is often referred to as "Killer Mountain."
The first successful ascent of Nanga Parbat was made by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl in 1953.
Kanchenjunga is the third-highest mountain in the world. Since the first successful ascent of Kanchenjunga in 1955, more than 600 people have attempted to climb it. Sadly, at least 40 climbers have died while trying to summit Kanchenjunga since then. The most recent death occurred in 2022 when an Indian climber died on the mountain. Most deaths occur when climbers fall far above Camp 4.
For those brave enough to attempt the climb, it takes months of training and experience in mountaineering to even attempt it. If you are considering a climb of Kanchenjunga, make sure you are properly equipped and experienced in mountaineering before attempting this dangerous peak.
The Matterhorn is one of the most iconic and dangerous peaks in the world. Located in the Swiss Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn has been the cause of many tragedies since it was first climbed in 1865.
The Matterhorn is so dangerous because it is such a highly technical mountain. It is an alpine peak, meaning it is steep and exposed. The weather can change rapidly, which can make the mountain even more treacherous for climbers. Additionally, there are no easy routes up the Matterhorn, and any attempt must be made with proper mountaineering experience.
Since its first ascent, it is estimated that over 500 people have perished on the mountain, many of them being expert climbers (that's about 3-4 every year!).
The first successful ascent of the Matterhorn was made by Edward Whymper and his party of climbers in 1865. Since then, thousands of people have made their way to the summit of this iconic peak, although many have not returned alive.
Over 3,000 people a year successfully make it to the top of the Matterhorn since its first successful ascent in 1865. This number is likely to grow as more people take on the challenge of conquering this dangerous peak.
Standing at 8,848 meters above sea level, Mt. Everest is the highest mountain on earth and is known for its immense beauty and danger. The mountain lies within the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas and straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet, China.
Due to the high altitude and cold temperatures, climbing Everest is incredibly dangerous and demanding on both the body and mind. The summit is located in the death zone, where oxygen levels are too low to sustain human life. There is also a significant amount of risk due to unpredictable weather conditions and crevasses that can form in the snow and ice.
Since the first ascent in 1953, hundreds of climbers have lost their lives while attempting to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. In 2019 alone, eleven people lost their lives while on the mountain, making it one of the deadliest years in recent memory.
On May 29th, 1953, a New Zealand mountaineer named Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Since then, thousands of people have made an attempt to summit Everest, and over 4,000 have succeeded since 1953.
This mountain in South America is particularly infamous due to the story of British mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates.
In 1985, the two attempted to summit Siula Grande and ended up becoming trapped in a storm on their descent. Yates was forced to cut their rope to save himself, leaving Simpson stranded and without any resources. The event was made famous in the novel Touching the Void.
Despite the dangers of Siula Grande, it has been successfully summited several times. The first ascent was made in 1936 by Austrian alpinists Paul Kammerer and Heinrich Harrer. Since then, more than 100 people have made successful ascents.
However, the mountain has also seen numerous fatalities over the years. In total, there have been 13 recorded deaths on Siula Grande since 1936.
For experienced mountaineers looking for an extreme challenge, Siula Grande is a top contender. But it's important to remember the dangers of this peak before attempting a climb. It requires skill, experience, and a great deal of preparation to safely reach the summit.
Denali is famous as one of the 7 summits. It's the tallest mountain in North America and was renamed in 2015 (previously, it was known as Mt. McKinley). It is 20,310' and located in the Alaska Range.
Between 1932 and 2013, at least 126 people died while attempting to summit Denali. This makes it one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. Many experienced climbers are aware of the risks associated with Denali and take appropriate measures to stay safe.
Unfortunately, because the mountain is successfully climbed fairly often, many inexperienced mountaineers approach the peak with low expectations of its difficulty and danger. This has only lead to more deaths and resulted in the parks service implementing a required safety course for anyone climbing the mountain.
The Eiger is well-known in mountaineering history for attempts to climb its incredibly dangerous North Face. It is considered one of the most challenging and dangerous climbs in the world due to its sheer size, technical difficulty, and highly exposed ledges.
This face is 1,800 meters high (the entire mountain reaches 3,015') and is composed of limestone and granite. The average slope is 55 degrees, but there are sections that reach as high as 90 degrees, and a great deal of dangerous ice climbing is involved. Icefall is the most prevalent danger on the wall and the reason that more than 60 people have died just trying to climb the North Face.
The first ascent of the north face of the Eiger was an epic undertaking. The team of climbers spent more than five days on the face, battling weather and terrain conditions before reaching the summit.
It was seen as a great success, despite a tragic accident that resulted in the death of two climbers during the descent. Since then, it has become one of the most popular climbing routes in the world, with over 700 successful ascents to date.
Standing at an impressive 15,777' tall, Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and the highest mountain in Europe.
It has long been a popular destination for hikers and climbers, but its treacherous terrain means that those who attempt to summit it must be well-prepared and experienced.
The main dangers posed by Mont Blanc are altitude sickness and exposure to extreme weather. High-altitude climbing can cause nausea, disorientation, and even death if not taken seriously. And due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Mont Blanc experiences rapid changes in weather, making it a hazardous climb.
One of the most famous tragedies on Mont Blanc was in 1895 when a group of French alpinists attempted to summit via a new route. Six of them perished due to an avalanche caused by an unstable ice formation. Since then, the mountain has seen several other accidents and fatalities due to avalanches and falls.
Despite its dangers, Mont Blanc remains a popular destination for experienced climbers looking for a challenge. With proper preparation and experience, summiting Mont Blanc can be a rewarding experience for those willing to take on the risk.