11 Of The World's Hardest Mountains To Climb

11 Of The World’s Hardest Mountains To Climb

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It takes more than height for a mountain to top the world’s most challenging climb list. However, every mountain climber aspires to conquer the most challenging peaks in the world. In this post, you can learn about 11 of the world’s hardest mountains to climb and how they are meant to be challenging.

Although most of these peaks are located in the highest mountain ranges of Asia, you will realize that it is not necessarily the tallest mountain that is the hardest to climb. A grueling path could make a peak more challenging to conquer, passing rocky terrains and strong winds.

Let’s dive into the most demanding peaks to conquer in the world.

11 Of The World’s Hardest Mountains To Climb

Some of these mountains are colossal, which makes them difficult to conquer. However, others with lesser heights may still be a challenging trek due to geographical placements, strong winds, and various other reasons.

1. Annapurna, Nepal

Height: 8091 m

Average time to summit: 40-50 days

Annapurna in Nepal may be shorter than most other peaks in this list, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging. Although it’s the tenth highest mountain in the world, it’s a technically challenging trek with a nearly 40% summit fatality rate.

A mountaineer has more chance of dying on this summit than on any other 8000 m climb. It is one reason it is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the world.

The trek becomes more challenging with the threat of avalanches and storms that loom over the mountain peak.  

The south phase is known to be the most gruesome and is the most dangerous climb in the world.

Helicopter tours have made expeditions possible from the base camp without the strenuous trek along the challenging path.

Annapurna
Annapurna

2. K2, China, And Pakistan

Height: 8611 m

Average time to summit: 60 days

Standing at a massive height of 8611 m, K2 is only second to the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. Being the second tallest mountain in the world, it also ranks second in place for the most demanding climbs.

A section of the ‘Bottleneck’ is renowned for a demanding climb requiring traversing massive, unstable glacial ice overhangs. 

The fastest route for traversing K2 is via the “death zone,” at an elevation of 8000 m, where human life can hardly sustain. The seracs here fall down quite often, burying climbers along the way.

K2
K2

3. Kangchenjunga, India, And Nepal

Height: 8586 m

Average time to summit: 40-60 days

With the advancements in mountaineering equipment and technical advances, there is a decline in the average death rate of mountaineers. However, Kangchenjunga is an exception, taking more lives as time goes on.

The mountain is regarded as the home of a rakshasa, or man-eating demon, according to Indian folklore. 

Only a mere 187 mountaineers have managed to conquer the peak. It bears immense religious significance among Buddhist devotees. Nevertheless, climbers have always stopped short of the summit due to its challenging traversing paths.

Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga

4. Baintha Brakk, Pakistan

Height: 7285 m

Average time to summit: undetermined

The colossal mountain Bantha Brakk of Pakistan is commonly called ‘The Ogre’ and has only been conquered by a handful of mountaineers. 

Its massive height, intricate shape, and harrowing incline have all made conquering it a hardcore mountaineer’s biggest dream. Its steep rocky nature makes it a challenging climb from the start till the end.

The mountain stands in similarity to a violin standing upright and like a steep granite tower. The expedition starts at a storm-battered base camp, and the climb is dangerous from there onwards. 

Central Karakoram
Central Karakoram

5. Mount Everest, Nepal, And Tibet

Height: 8848 m

Average time to summit: 54 days

The tallest mountain in the world also makes it to the list of hardest climbs. Mount Everest is a demanding climb with deadly storms and avalanches that have claimed dozens of lives in the recent past.

Today, climbing Mount Everest has been commercialized, which has made it easier to conquer. Climbers can hire local sherpas to carry their bags and employ chefs to prepare food. A personal medic at the Base Camp also attends to injuries.

Today, hundreds of climbers attempt to conquer the summit and run into traffic-jam-like queues. 

Local experts in Nepal and sherpas assist mountaineers in taking up this challenging trek.

Mount Everest
Mount Everest

6. Denali, Alaska

Height: 6190 m

Average time to summit: 21 days

Moving out from the Asian giants, the list has now turned towards the west, with Mount Denali in Alaska coming in at sixth. 

North America’s tallest mountain has become a challenging trek due to the altitude, gruesome weather conditions, punishing temperatures, and relative isolation. Its high degree of latitude is responsible for a very thin spread of atmosphere and oxygen.

The summit has a 50% success rate but is still a mountaineer’s dream. One of the first climbers of Mount Denali, or Mount Mckinley as it was then known, Robert Tatum, refers to it as looking out the windows of Heaven.

As a centerpiece of the National Park and Preserve, it is the third most isolated peak on Earth, which is also why most mountaineers look forward to climbing it.

The mountain has two summits, north and south. The south summit is the highest one and the most attempted climb of the two.

Denali
Denali

7. The Eiger, Switzerland

Height: 3970 m

Average time to summit: 2-3 days

Switzerland is home to many peaks, out of which The Eiger stands tall and challenging. Its north face has earned fame for being a demanding climb, calling it “Murder Wall.”

Conquering this mountain means you’ve to have the required technical skills and ice-ax finesse. Its sharp overhang, 1800 m face, and the threat of falling rock and ice have been the reason for at least 64 deaths since its first successful ascent in 1938.

The Eiger
The Eiger

8. Cerro Torre, Argentina, And Chile

Height: 3128 m

Average time to summit: 4-7 days

A jagged spire jutting out of the Patagonian Ice Field’s mountains, Cerro Torre is another dream climb for many mountaineers.

Standing at a height of 3128 m, it has a notorious sheer with a snow-capped peak woven in layers of ice formed by battering winds. It makes climbing the summit challenge, where climbers must also tunnel through the ice and deal with vertical and overhanging areas.

Cerro Torre
Cerro Torre

9. Matterhorn, Switzerland

Height: 4478 m

Average time to summit: 5 days

The wizard’s-hat peak, widely seen in the packaging of the famous Tobelorone chocolate, is an icon of the Alps. This peak in Zermatt, Switzerland, is tackled successfully by hundreds of climbers every year.

However, it is not to be mistaken to be an easy climb. It has claimed over 500 lives since its first successful attempt in 1865. 

Falling rocks and extreme weather conditions are what make this climb demanding. Therefore, crowds prefer conquering this mountain during the Swiss summer.

Those who want a less challenging climb should take the easier route: the Gornergrat Bahn from Zermatt. A bonus is that the trail provides fantastic views of the Swiss Alps, letting mountaineers enjoy the climb.

Matterhorn
Matterhorn

10. Vinson Massif, Antarctica

Height: 4892 m

Average time to summit: 7-21 days

Vinson Massif in Antarctica was first conquered in 1958. Since then, about 1400 people have conquered the peak overcoming extreme weather conditions that pose a threat to climbers.

The region has some of the coldest temperatures in the world, coupled with winds that surpass 80 km per hour. These factors quickly challenge climbers who want to conquer this mountain.

This excursion sounds more dangerous because it could take weeks to get to a good hospital in case of an emergency. It is one of the reasons that this mountain is less-attempted to conquer and has taken many lives in the past years.

Remember that getting to Antarctica is also going to cost a lot! 

Vinson Massif
Vinson Massif

11. Mont Blanc, Italy, And France

Height: 4808 m

Average time to summit: 2 days

Mont Blanc is conveniently positioned at the border of Italy and France, making it a famous mountain to conquer. However, it is a very challenging climb that has killed more people than any other mountain.

Approximately 8000 lives have been lost trying to conquer this giant, especially novices. Being the highest mountain in the Alps, its power should not be taken lightly, at any cost.

Glaciers are extreme weather conditions that make the climb more challenging than ever.

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc

Mountaineering Checklist 

Mountaineers need to be well-prepared when climbing these colossal peaks. Here are some essentials to pack when conquering these giants.

  • Rope
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Ice tools, including ice ax
  • Snow protection gear
  • EDC torches and extra batteries
  • Map
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellphone
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pads
  • Backpacking stove
  • Fuel
  • Bowls and utensils
  • Soap
  • Towel
  • Water
  • Meals & snacks
  • Clothes for warm and cool climates
  • shoes/ boots
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Knife
  • Tool kit
  • Cash

Hardest mountains to climb

Conclusion

These 11 mountains take sheer determination and skills to conquer. They are colossal and are constantly wrapped in adverse weather conditions, which makes them even more demanding climbs.

Conquering these giants is possible with proper planning, equipment, and skills. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Challenging Mountain To Climb?

The main peak of Annapurna in Nepal is the most challenging climb, with a 29% fatality rate.

Which Mountain Has Never Been Climbed?

Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan is considered the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. It stands at a height of 7570 m.

Take a look at this video about the 10 deadliest mountains on the Earth:

Check some travel books about mountain climbing:

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This is a chart of 11 of the world's hardest mountains to climb with some basic geographical and practical information. This is a chart of 11 of the world's hardest mountains to climb with some basic geographical and practical information. This is a chart of 11 of the world's hardest mountains to climb with some basic geographical and practical information.

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