The top 14 tallest peaks in the world, commonly known as the 8,000s since they are all over 8,000m in elevation, attract mountaineers and extreme athletes searching for a dangerous challenge from all over. Many adventurers make it their life goal to climb one. For some, they try to climb as many as possible.
For those seeking a challenging adventure, the ambitious life goal of climbing one of these peaks requires lots of preparation and is not something to take lightly. Tackling any of the 8000-ers is incredibly dangerous. Here are the top seven most dangerous peaks summited.
Annapurna, located in the Himalayas of Nepal, has seen 244 attempted expeditions. With a 29% death rate, Annapurna is extremely dangerous due to a mixture of reasons, including the frequency of unpredictable avalanches, the instability and challenge of the terrain, and the fluctuation of constantly changing climate resulting in high winds and snowstorms.
Kangchenjunga is the third highest peak in the world, also located in the Himalayas. With just over 175 attempted expeditions Kangchenjunga features a high death rate of 29% making it the second most deadly. Due to the lack of oxygen at the top, 66% less than at sea level as well as the severely cold temperatures, Kangchenjunga is extremely dangerous. The combination of oxygen-related illnesses and the bitter cold at the top is deadly.
K2 is one of the more well-known 8000ers. With 367 expeditions and a death rate of 29%, there are many factors as to why this trek is so dangerous. The hike out to the base camp of K2 is very dangerous in and of itself. It’s more of a trek than just a hike as explorers have to cross a glacier slick with ice and rocks as well as unpredictable snow conditions.
Dhaulagiri with 388 attempted expeditions and a death rate of 22%, is the fourth deadliest peak. Between its extreme elevation, steep slopes, and spines, climbing it can extremely deadly. Its remote location makes it a less popular and difficult peak to summit. Especially as its remoteness can make rescue exceptionally hard.
Nanga Parbat, also known as the Killer Mountain, is the fifth deadliest peak. Over 400 expeditions have been attempted and it has a death rate of 22%. This peak features three steep faces that climbers must navigate and many glaciers and unpredictable avalanche terrain. Not only is the terrain incredibly difficult but rescue can be extremely difficult as most air traffic is highly controlled by the Pakistani Government.
Mt Everest the tallest mountain in the world as well as the most popular summit challenge has seen 2,191 expeditions and has a death rate of 14%. As popular as it is there are many dangers when attempting a summit. Most deaths resulted from avalanches, lack of oxygen, falling into crevasses, exposure to harsh climates, or even earthquakes. Everest is also known for massive storms at the top, wind speeds can reach 104 mph and temperatures can drop to -163ºF.
Makalu, located on the border of Nepal and China, has seen 353 expeditions with a death rate of 13%. With a steep pyramid-like peak, mountaineers have to navigate rock and ice walls, and steep snowy fields to the summit. Not only is the climb to the summit dangerous, but the trek out to base camp can also be equally as treacherous as K2’s.