Whether people want to climb to the peak, or stand at the base and simply gaze at their beauty and grandeur, mountains have captivated humans since time immemorial.
In this article we will introduce you to the 10 highest mountains in the world. All the locations mentioned are considered independent, as opposed to the peak of another mountain.
If you are interested in visiting some of the highest peaks in the world you will likely find yourself in Central and South Asia. In fact, 8 of the top 10 highest mountains are located in the Himalayas.
- 1. Mount Everest
- 2. K2
- 3. Kangchenjunga
- 4. Lhotse
- 5. Makalu
- 6. Cho Oyu
- 7. Dhaulagiri I
- 8. Manaslu
- 9. Nanga Parbat
- 10. Annapurna I
1. Mount Everest
The tallest mountain in the world is Mount Everest, which reaches 8,848 meters above sea level. Everest’s got its name from Sir George Everest, who initially surveyed the land to locate the peak. The mountain is also called ‘Sagarmatha’ in Nepali or ‘Chomolungma’ in Tibetan. It is located on the international border between Nepal and China.
With winds that can reach over 200 mph, and a temperature that can dip to -80°F, this is by far one of the most dangerous treks in the world. This does not discourage climbers, and there are estimated to be over 200 dead bodies preserved in the snow and cold of this peak.
The first successful climbers were Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal, who reached the summit in May of 1953.
The second tallest mountain in the world is K2, also known as Mountain Godwin-Austen, or Chhogor. The name K2 is derived from the initial survey’s done by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of British India. This mountain is 8,611 meters tall and is located on the border of China and Pakistan.
K2 has been called the Savage Mountain since 1952, when it was given the name by George Bell, a climber from an American expedition. Its status as the deadliest climb in the world is proven by the fact that for every four people that reach the peak of this summit, one person dies.
There were many attempts before the first official expedition to the summit in 1954. The successful group was comprised of Ardito Desio, Lino Lacedelli, and Achille Compagnoni.
Coming in at number three is Kangchenjunga which reaches heights of 8,516 meters high. This summit is located between Nepal and India, with three of the five peaks directly on the border.
Until 1852, Kangchenjunga was assumed to be the tallest mountain in the world. Until more precise measurements were gathered as part of the Great Trigonometrical Survey, and a new list was released which placed Kangchenjunga in the number three spot.
The first successful expedition took place in 1955 by British citizens Joe Brown and George Band. It is interesting to note that all climbers of Kangchenjunga stop short of the actual summit, as part of a tradition honoring the Chohyal, or the former monarchs of the region which now comprises India.
Number four on our list is Lhotse, which is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet. In addition to the main summit of 8,516 meters, the mountain also includes the smaller peak of Lhotse Middle (8,414 m).
Interestingly, despite being shorter than the main peak, Lhtose Middle was not summited until 2001. This portion of the mountain is commonly considered to be the most dangerous climb over eight thousand meters.
The main summit was first climbed in 1956 by a Swiss expedition.
The fifth highest mountain in the world is Makalu, reaching 8,485 meters above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas, on the border of Nepal and China.
This mountain is famous not only for its picturesque pyramid shape, but also as one of the most difficult mountain treks in the world. Up close, the pyramid shape becomes steep pitches and knife-edged ridges that leave climbers with no protection from the harsh elements.
Due to this, there were many attempts to climb the mountain before it was summited. The first successful expedition was in 1955 by Lionel Terray, Jean Couzy, and Jean Franco.
6. Cho Oyu
Number six on our list is Cho Oyu located in Nepal and China. This peak stand 8,188 meters above sea level, and is located only 20 km West of Mount Everest. The name of this peak is commonly translated from Tibetan as “Turquoise Goddess”.
The first ascent of this mountain was completed in 1954 by Joseph Jochler, Herbert Tichy, and Pasang Dawa Lama. Though hardly a small feat, Cho Oyu has been rated one of the easiest 8,000 meter mountain treks due to its generally moderate slope of its Northwestern ridge.
7. Dhaulagiri I
The seventh highest mountain in the world is Dhaulagiri, which stands 8,167 meters above sea level. The name of this mountain is a combination of the Sanskrit words ‘dhawala’ (meaning dazzling, white, beautiful) and ‘giri’ (meaning mountain).
Dhaulagiri is surrounded by the tributaries of the Bheri River and Myagdi Khola. It is also said to be the highest point of the Gandaki river basin.
This peak was first summited in the 1960s by an expedition including Swiss, Australian, and Nepalese nationals.
Number eight on our list brings us back to the Napalese Himalayas, to the west-central area of Mansiri Himal. Located here is Manaslu which reaches a total height of 8,163 meters above sea level. The name of this mountain originates from the Sanskrit word ‘manasa’, meaning intellect or soul. Manaslu is often translated as “mountain of the spirit”.
Though there were recorded attempts to climb the mountain beginning in the 1950s. It was first summited by a Japanese expedition including Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu in 1956.
The geography of this mountain, with its various long ridges and valley glaciers, offer climbers a number of possible routes. The most stunning aspect of Manaslu is its peak which dominates the surrounding landscape.
9. Nanga Parbat
Number nine on our list is Nanga Parbat, also known as Diamer, which is located in Pakistan.
This mountain has a dramatic peak reaching 8,126 meters above the surrounding terrain. For climbers, this peak is known as a notoriously difficult climb. Due to a history of mountaineering deaths, this perilous climb has gained the nickname “Killer Mountain”.
10. Annapurna I
The tenth highest mountain in the world reaches over 8,091 meters and is located in Annapurna in the Himalayas of north-central Nepal.
This mountain gets its name from Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment. The word itself is derived from two Sanskrit words, ‘purna’ (meaning filled), and ‘anna’ (meaning food), and is often translated as “everlasting food”.
The peaks in this area are known for being some of the most dangerous mountains to climb in the world.
Despite the height of this mountain, it does not claim every record. For example, if we adjust our point of interpretation to instead consider the farthest point from the center of the earth, this record would go to the Chimborazo mountain in Ecuador.
Due to the fact that the Earth is not an absolute sphere, and instead has a more oblate shape, depending on where you are in the world geographically the distance between ‘sea level’ and the equator fluctuate. If you are near the equator, sea level becomes more distant from the center of the earth. So, even though Chimborazo is only 6,384 m tall, due to its geographic location, it is the farthest point from the centre of the earth.
This also affects the measurement of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. When measured from its base it reaches over 10,200 m tall, however, its base lies at the level of the mid-ocean floor. Mauna Kea only attains 4,205 m above sea level.