Top 5 Most Dangerous Mountains on the Planet

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Mount Everest is without a doubt the most famous mountain on Earth. Virtually everyone knows about this strikingly beautiful peak in the Himalayas. But is it also the most dangerous? It seems not. Everest has been summited 8,306 times (by 4,833 different people) and 293 people have died trying from 1921 (when it was first attempted) to 2018 — a ratio of 28 successful summits for every death. Given the statistics, the peak is a very dangerous place but it doesn’t even come close to ranking among the most difficult and deadly mountains in the world to climb. Here are the top 5 deadliest mountains on the planet:

Nanga Parbat, Pakistan

Nanga Parbat Rupal Base camp, Gilgit Baltistan. Photo: Courtesy of Muhammad Ashar

Located in the Diamer District of Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region, Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world. At 8,126 meters (26,660 ft), it may not be in top 5 highest mountains but it definitely ranks higher than that for difficulty. The notoriously difficult climb and more than 22% death rate earned Nanga Parbat the nickname “Killer Mountain”.  Its vertical cliffs and unpredictable weather claimed 31 lives before it was first climbed in 1953 by Hermann Buhl .

K2, Pakistan-China Border

The north side of K2. Photo: Courtesy of Kuno Lechner

K2, at 8,611 m (28,251 ft) above the sea level, is the second highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest. The Savage Mountain, as it is also known, is extremely difficult to climb and has the second-highest fatality rate among the eight-thousanders. As of late 2016 K2 has 355 successful summits and 81 fatalities, in other words about one person dies on its slopes for every four who reach the summit. K2 is also the only mountain above 8,000m that has never been climbed in winter.

Annapurna I, Nepal

The south face of Annapurna I. Photo: Courtesy of Tanweer Morshed

At 8,091m (26,545 ft) above the sea level Annapurna I is the 10th highest mountain in the world, and it was also the first of the eight-thousanders to be climbed. Its first summit was in 1950 and it wasn’t summited again until 1970. Annapurna massif, and Annapurna I Main in particular, is widely considered the most deadly and difficult to climb mountain on earth. The ascent via the south face is considered, by some, the most difficult of all climbs. As of late 2016 it has 255 summits and 72 fatalities, giving Annapurna I a fatality rate of 28%  — the highest among all 14 peaks above 8,000m.

Kangchenjunga, India-Nepal Border

South face of Kangchenjunga seen from Goecha La, Sikkim at 4,940 m (16,210 ft). Photo: Courtesy of Ashinpt at enwiki

Located between India and Nepal Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. It rises with an elevation of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) and is well known for its unpredictable weather, extreme cold and frequent avalanches. With 332 successful summits and 48 deaths, which makes summit to death ratio of 14.5%, this mountain is not one to be taken lightly.

Mont Blanc, France-Italy Border

Photo: Courtesy of Simon Steinberger

Shockingly, the mountain with the most fatalities is neither the highest nor the most technically difficult. Mont Blanc rises  4,808.7 m (15,777 ft) above the sea level and is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of of Russia’s Caucasus peaks. The total number of people who died somewhere on the Mont Blanc Massif is between 6,000 and 8,000, more than on any other mountain. The ease of access is probably the reason why 20,000 people attempt to summit every year. At the peak of the season 300 climbers a day attempt to reach the peak, which leads to overcrowding and carelessness  resulting in around 100 fatalities each year.

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