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Thread: 11 Most Dangerous Mountains in the World

  1. #1

    11 Most Dangerous Mountains in the World

    Photo: Darcy McCarty - Whenever experienced climbers and mountaineers put crampon to ice, they accept some degree of danger.
    Accidents can occur even at relatively benign roadside crags. Still, there are certain mountains that command respect from even the most experienced climbers, mountains that continue to inspire awe and anxiety decades after their first ascents.

    Here are 11 of the world’s most dangerous mountains:

    1. Annapurna

    Since its first ascent in 1950, Annapurna has been climbed by more than 130 people, but 53 have died trying. This high fatality rate makes Annapurna, the 10th highest mountain in the world, the most statistically dangerous of the 8,000 meter peaks. For more information on getting close to this mountain, check out Trekking the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal.

    2. K2

    The world’s second highest mountain is known among climbers as one of the most technically difficult in the world. Ascents of even the easiest route require crossing a complicated glacier, ascending steep sections of rock, and negotiating a path around a series of ice pillars, called seracs, which are prone to collapse without warning. The technical difficulty of this mountain makes it one of the most committing and dangerous in the world.

    Snow wall on Matterhorn. Photo by Ezzzk

    3. Nanga Parbat

    The world’s ninth highest peak, Nanga Parbat, competes with K2 in terms of technical difficulty. The route of the first ascent follows a narrow ridge to the summit. On the southern side is the largest mountain face on earth, the 15,000 foot Rupal Face. The difficulty of these routes has earned the mountain the nickname “The Man Eater.”

    4. Kangchenjunga

    When you look at the fatality rates on the world’s most dangerous mountains, you’ll see that most decrease as time goes on. One notable exception is Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. Death rates have reached as high as 22% in recent years, a reflection of the avalanche and and weather hazards that plague this dangerous mountain.

    If you are interested in seeing this mountain up close, Matador Trips has a great reference: Trekking the Mt. Kangchenjunga Circuit in Nepal.

    5. The Eiger

    The Nordwand, or north face, of this peak in the Swiss Alps is an objective legendary among mountaineers for its danger. Though it was first climbed in 1938, the north face of the Eiger continues to challenge climbers of all abilities with both its technical difficulties and the heavy rockfall that rakes the face.

    The difficulty and hazards have earned the Eiger’s north face the nickname Mordwand, or Murder Wall.

    Annapurna photo by tboothhk

    6. The Matterhorn

    This iconic mountain, which looks like a horn rising out of the surrounding valleys, has one of the highest fatality rates of any peak in the Alps. This is caused by a wide range of factors, including technical difficulty, the prevalence of avalanches and rockfall, and severe overcrowding on routes during peak climbing seasons.

    7. Mt. Vinson

    Mt. Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica, is not notable for its height, technical difficulty, or fatality rate. However, the mountain’s isolation, combined with the extreme cold and unpredictable weather on the continent, makes Vinson a very serious undertaking. Even a small accident here could be disastrous.

    8. Baintha Brakk

    Commonly known as The Ogre, Baintha Brakk is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the world. Though it saw its first ascent in 1971, The Ogre was not summited again until 2001. One of the first ascentionists, Doug Scott, broke both of his legs on the descent, forcing him to crawl through a major storm to the team’s base camp.

    This famous epic and more than 20 failed attempts on the peak have earned it a reputation as one of the most dangerous in the world.

    Matterhorn photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker

    9. Mt. Everest

    More that 1,500 people have climbed the highest mountain in the world, with as many as 50 people or more reaching the summit on a single day. This congestion, when combined with Everest’s extreme altitude, makes it an undeniably dangerous objective. Whether you plan to summit or not, trekking to Everest’s base camp is one of the 5 Best Treks in Nepal.

    10. Denali

    Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali, is the highest mountain in North America. Though its altitude is only 20,320 feet, its high latitude means that the atmosphere is far thinner than it would be at the equator. For the many people who climb Denali each year, the altitude, weather, and extreme temperature pose a serious danger.

    For these reasons, the success rate on Denali is around 50% and more than 100 climbers have died attempting the summit.

    11. Fitz Roy

    Cerro Chalten, or Mount Fitz Roy, is the tallest mountain in Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park. Fitz Roy’s summit is guarded on all sides by steep rock faces requiring difficult, technical climbing to ascend. Because of this, it was considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world for decades.

    Even today, the region’s unpredictable weather and relative isolation makes it extremely dangerous. As a result, Fitz Roy may see only a single ascent in a year: truly the mark of a dangerous, difficult mountain.


    If you’re even thinking about getting into mountaineering, avalanche safety training is fundamental. Check out Hal Amen’s piece How to Survive an Avalanche.

    Nora Dunn and Charlotte are just two of many Matador members that like to climb a mountain every now and then. Join them in the Matador Community today!

    Prefer your adrenaline rushes in armchair form? Check out the exploits of the Primal Crew over at Matador Life.

    Tagged under: climbing, dangerous, Mountains
    Filed under: rock climbing

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  3. #2
    Strange little list. Silly and weird criteria.

    Missed Mount Blanc, which, probably averages around 50 fatalities a year, every year, year after year.

    Some comments:


    Worst ratio of fatalities to success? Scary. Maybe the worst.

    The Eiger

    Lot of hype but as a mountain, climbed fairly often with no fatalities. Sure, the North Face is scary and has a reputation, but, that Ueli guys does laps on it in under 3 hours...

    The Matterhorn

    Commonly guided, commonly climbed. My bet is the fatality rate on it is much much lower than a number of peaks in the alps.

    That said, I did pass a body bag on it...

    Mt. Vinson

    How can a peak be dangerous if it doesn't kill anyone? Commonly guided and climbed as part of the seven summits, you just don't hear of folks gettin' killed on it.

    Baintha Brakk Commonly known as The Ogre

    Yeah, Doug had an epic on it. But, really, how many folks die on it a year? Any year? Ever?


    Years go by without any fatalities. And, a ton of folks attempt it a year. Very low ratio.

    Fitz Roy

    Yeah, hard, serious, but, really, how many fatalities? None?

    A mountain that kills folks every year, but, is somewhat off the radar is Aconcagua. Season we climbed it, I think 14 or 16 fatalities. And, it seems to kill folks every year.


  4. #3
    Strange little list. Silly and weird criteria.

    Missed Mount Blanc, which, probably averages around 50 fatalities a year, every year, year after year.

    Hey, didn't you disagree with me when I posted that stat?


    Worst ratio of fatalities to success? Scary. Maybe the worst
    Only the worst of the 8000 meter peaks. Gongga Shan/Minya Konka has double the fatality to success rate that Annapurna has.

    Kawa Korpo has had at least 19 deaths and no successful ascents. That would make the fatality to success rate infinity.

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    It's neighbor is also still unclimbed and considered to be a dangerous objective as well though I don't know of any deaths:

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    A mountain that kills folks every year, but, is somewhat off the radar is Aconcagua.
    Elbrus too. Same problem as Aconcagua. Ease of ascent invites mistakes and novices, plus frequent bad weather. Pik Lenin has seen the worst disaster and another of the worst disasters as well though the worst one was a freak occurance.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott P View Post
    Hey, didn't you disagree with me when I posted that stat?
    I dimly recall something along those lines, but, darned if I can recall it, or, find it. Was on bogley, though? I can't find it in a search. Dredge it up!

    Good info, though. Elbrus, yeah, I'll bet. Ditto Pic Communisim.


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