Rock climbing is a favorite hobby of many people around the world, but it is a sport that can sometimes have extreme consequences. Climbing Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, may be a bucket list item for many, but it is an extremely dangerous endeavor that has claimed the lives of many over the years. Here is a list of the top 10 most dangerous mountains in the world to climb.
1. Mount Everest
Perhaps its most famous name, Mount Everest, makes the list of the most dangerous mountains in the world. Located in the Himalayas in Nepal, Everest is 8,848 feet above sea level. A popular summit with climbers, the first confirmed ascent was in 1953. The newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II knighted the expedition duo. One of the first highly publicized disasters was in 1970 when a Japanese team tried to find a new route to ski down the mountain. This attempt resulted in 8 deaths. Over the years, Mount Everest has claimed about 280 lives as a result of avalanches and unexpected snow storms.
The Matterhorn is a mountain located in the Valais Alps, on the border of Switzerland and Italy. The top is at an altitude of 4478 meters. The shape is like a four-sided pyramid and makes for excellent photos. Despite the beautiful image, Matterhorn mountain has the reputation of being a dangerous, deadly mountain. The first successful ascent was in 1865, although it was not without the loss of four lives due to a broken rope. The mountain has since claimed more than 500 lives from spontaneous avalanches and falling rocks.
3. Vinson Massif
The Vinson massif is the highest peak in Antarctica. Yes, the avid climbers will even travel to a largely uninhabited continent for a challenging summit. Since 1966 (the first successful climb to the top) more than 1,400 people have attempted to climb this mountain. The first ascent was sponsored by the National Geographic Society and the American Alpine Club. The challenge of this mountain is actually the journey to and from Antarctica and the weather conditions. There have been no deaths yet.
4. Cerro Chaltén
The Monte Fitz Roy, also called Cerro Chaltén, is a 3,375 meter high mountain and also the only mountain on the list that is located in South America. Located in Patagonia on the border between Argentina and Chile, this mountain is dangerous not because of its height, but because of the steep granite surfaces and harsh weather. Mount Fitz Roy doesn’t have as many successful peaks as others on this list, although the first was in February 1952. On average, one climbing team per year is successful. Many photographers have died here after falling from its vertical cliffs.
Divided between Nepal and India, Mount Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. It is part of the 8,000 meter club and reaches an astonishing elevation of 8,586 m. One of the earlier climbing attempts in the area was in 1853. At the time, a group of explorers climbed the region of Kanchenjunga and reached about 5,791 meters from a neighboring mountain before determining the summit conditions were unsafe. The first deliberate climb attempt on Mount Kanchenjunga was in 1905 and was deterred by an avalanche. One of the climbers was killed during the descent. Fifty years later, after a month and ten days of grueling efforts, the first climbing team made it to the top. Over the years, 53 people have died on this mountain, most of them due to falls and unexplained disappearances.
6. Nanga Parbat
The Nanga Parbat is located on the western side of the Himalayas and runs along the Indus River. Located in Pakistan, this mountain is known as one of the “eight-thousanders” (An eight-thousanders is a mountain that is higher than 8,000 meters. There are fourteen eight-thousanders in the world.) – a highly sought-after conquest. With a height of 8,126 meters, it has earned its nickname “killer mountain”. The Nanga Parbat became popular with German climbers in the 1930s because the K2 was too difficult to reach and only the British could access Mount Everest. Several failed attempts and several deaths would occur for the first successful ascent. Bad weather and avalanches hindered earlier progress, but in 1953 Austrian Hermann Buhl made it to the top alone. He had left with a group that had given up for the summit. Cocoa tea and stimulants assisted him in his ascent and it took him 24 hours to return to camp. In 1953, the mountain had already killed 31 people.
7. Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps at 4,809 meters above sea level, has the highest number of fatalities. An attempt to climb this summit results in an average of 100 deaths per year and more than 6,000 deaths in total, making it the deadliest mountain in the region. Remarkably, the first successful attempt at Mont Blanc was in 1786, long before modern climbing technology. The first woman climbed the mountain in 1808, and the next ascent was not until 30 years later, also by a woman. US President Theodore Roosevelt also led an expedition to the summit in 1886 before taking office. Another interesting trek up was in September 2007 when a group of 20 climbers placed a hot tub on the summit.
Mount K2 is located on the border between China and Pakistan and is the second highest mountain in the world at 8,611 meters above sea level. About 300 people have successfully reached the top, but the way up is treacherous. One dies for every four climbers, and 83 have been killed since 1939. The causes of these deaths are many and include: avalanches, getting lost, falls, storms and altitude sickness. The second expedition in 1909 did not end in success for the climbers, although they did reach 6,251 m. K2 was left alone for nearly 30 years before trying another summit. That was in 1938, but no one reached the top of the mountain until July 31, 1954.
The Annapurna mountain is located in Nepal. With its 8,091 meters, it is one of the highest peaks and has attracted many climbers. In fact, the summit was reached in 1950 on the first attempt. Since then, about 191 people have successfully climbed Annapurna. Twenty-two people have died on this mountain, largely as a result of avalanches. The most recent death was in March 2015.
The mountain Eiger, which is 3,970 meters above sea level, is located in Switzerland. The first successful climb was on the western slope in 1858. However, the north side is what draws the climbers’ attention. The first attempt to climb the north face was made in 1935. However, the two climbers were killed by the stormy weather. A year later, another group tried. One died in training and the other four died from avalanches. In 1937, two more climbers attempted to climb in vain, but they returned alive. A group of four successfully climbed the north face in 1938.