The Eight Most Difficult Mountains to Climb

The most difficult mountains to climb may be the highest mountains in the world at the same time. However, there are lower mountains that also carry certain dangers.
The Eight Most Difficult Mountains to Climb

Last update: 18 April, 2020

People who love mountain climbing and extreme sports, know that there are mythical places they undoubtedly want to visit at some point. In this article, we’ll tell you about the most difficult mountains to climb on the planet.

Which are the most difficult mountains to climb?

If you’re thinking of becoming a famous climber, or if those large piles of rocks and snow that have claimed the lives of dozens of brave athletes call your attention, be sure to read the following list of the most difficult mountains to climb:

1. Annapurna, the most difficult of mountains

The first ascent on this mountain (pictured in the main image of this article) was in 1950. Since then, only 160 mountain climbers have been able to reach the top. The most chilling fact is that Annapurna has claimed the lives of over 50 climbers in less than 70 years.

The tenth highest mountain on the planet, located in Nepal, is the most dangerous one within the mountains that exceed 4.9 miles (ca. 8 km) in height.

2. K2

It’s the second-highest mountain in the world (5.35 miles), and the second most dangerous. It belongs to the Karakoram Mountain Range, in the Himalayas. People call it ‘the wild mountain’ because of how hard it is to climb. Out of every four people who’ve tried to reach the top, one has passed away trying.

The snowy k2 mountain is one of the most difficult to climb in the world

After several attempts to ascend, the first expedition that actually reached the top did it in 1954. Another interesting fact is that the K2 -on the border between China and Pakistan- is the only mountain that people can’t climb during the winter.

3. Nanga Parbat

In the local language translation, the name means ‘naked mountain’. It’s also in the Karakoram Mountain Range in Pakistan. Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world, isolated and separated from the rest. The top is perpetually covered in snow.

The perpetually snowy peak of the Nanga Parbat

The first ascent to one of the most difficult mountains to climb dates back to 1953, although the first attempts go back to 1985. Nanga Parbat has a high accident rate due to its vertical relief that it’s almost impossible to climb, among other reasons.

4. Denali

It’s the highest mountain in North America, at 3.8 miles above sea level. It’s in Alaska and is one of the most difficult peaks to ascend due to its vertical drop of 2.5 miles from base camp, low temperatures all year round, and proximity to the Arctic Circle.

The Denali mountain is one of the most difficult peaks to climb

The first ascent dates from 1913. And, another one of its dangers is that climbers suffer from altitude sickness due to the lack of oxygen.

5. Kangchenjunga

This mountain, shared by Nepal and India, is the third highest mountain in the world (5.3 miles) and its name means ‘the five treasures of the snow’. Death rates in Kangchenjunga don’t drop like those in other peaks; it stands at around 22 percent of climbers.

The Kangchenjunga mountain peaking between the clouds

Climatic changes and snow avalanches are the main dangers for climbers. The first ascent took place in 1955, but the first attempt to reach the top happened more than a century earlier, in 1848.

6. The Captain (United States)

Located within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, it’s the most characteristic peak in Texas. Being one of the most difficult mountains to climb, The Captain is surrounded by steep cliffs, with unstable rock walls and a half-a-mile vertical wall.

The Captain mountain in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park

7. Eiger, the ultimate goal of difficult mountains

This mountain is one of the most difficult to climb in all of Europe. It’s located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland and is 2.4 miles high. The first ascent happened in 1858; the Eiger has been a goal for any mountain climber ever since.

The north face of this mountain is quite a challenge, due to the heavy rocks that slide and detach easily. For this reason, it has the nickname ‘Mordwand’ or ‘killer wall’.

8. Mount Asgard

It’s located on Baffin Island, in Canada. Although it became famous because they filmed a James Bond scene there, the truth is that it’s still is one of the most difficult mountains to climb among mountaineers.

Mount Asgard is one of the most difficult mountains to climb

Mount Asgard, in honor of the home of the Gods in Norse mythology, is in the middle of the Arctic Circle. That’s precisely one of the reasons why it’s so dangerous.

Lastly, other very difficult mountains to climb are Ben Navis (Scotland), Mount Arapiles (Australia), Fontainebleau (France), Mount Matterhorn (Italy and Switzerland) and Massif Vinson (Antarctica).

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.