Did you know that K2 is thought to have a curse against women? Or that Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is more dangerous, stats-wise, than Denali?
Take it or leave it, this morbid article on the climbing world’s most dangerous mountains has a few interesting nuggets. Read on for the full scoop, a list of the World’s 10 Most Dangerous Mountains for Climbing.
Most Dangerous Mountains
1. ANNAPURNA, Central Nepal (26,545 ft.)
On this mountain, the 10th highest in the world, about 130 climbers have summited the avalanche-prone peak, but 53 have died trying — making Annapurna’s fatality rate of 41% the highest in the world.
2. NANGA PARBAT, Gilgit-Batistan (26,657 ft.)
Known affectionately as the Man Eater, this craggy monster in Kashmir is an enormous ridge of rock and ice. The peak is the ninth highest in the world and its southern side features the tallest mountain face on the planet. Nanga Parbat claimed 31 lives before it was conquered by Austrian Herman Buhl in 1953.
3. SIULA GRANDE, Peruvian Andes (20,814 ft.)
In 1985, the duo of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, whose journey was chronicled in the book and film Touching the Void, attempted the western face of Siula Grande: a sheer, vertical ascent that had never been completed. They made it to the summit but Simpson fell during the descent, breaking his leg. Then Yates, lowering the injured Simpson down by rope, lost sight of him over a cliff. After an hour passed, with his position slipping away, and Simpson unable to secure himself, Yates cut the rope. Incredibly, Simpson survived the 100 ft. fall into a crevasse. Over the next three days he subsisted on melted snow and hopped the five miles back to camp, arriving shortly before Yates, assuming Simpson had perished, was due to depart for home.
4. K2, border of Pakistan and China (28,251 ft.)
The second highest mountain in the world, this peak has a nasty reputation, especially when it comes to female climbers. The first woman to reach the summit was the legendary Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz, who got to the top in June 1986. Over the next 18 years all five female climbers who summited this peak were killed. Three died during the descent down K2, two others on nearby mountains. Rutkiewicz also perished close by, on Kangchenjunga in 1992. The curse was finally broken in 2004 by Edurne Pasaban, a 31-year-old Spanish mountaineer, who remains alive to this day.
5. KANGCHENJUNGA, border between India and Nepal (28,169 ft.)
In 1999, a new James Bond novel found the uber-agent trekking up its dramatic ridges. James may have stopped to admire the gorgeous view, but, as our hero knows well, looks can be deceiving. Avalanches and bitter colds have made this one of the deadliest mountains in the world.
6. THE MATTERHORN, border between Switzerland and Italy (14,691 ft.)
These days the principle danger on the Matterhorn is its popularity, with overeager tourists sending loose rocks onto the heads of fellow climbers below.
7. EVEREST, border between Nepal and China (29,029 ft.)
With its marquee status, it would be easy to assume that this is the deadliest mountain of them all. But pound for pound, Everest claims a fairly small percentage of climbers (9%), considering the number that attempt it every year.
8. MT. WASHINGTON, New Hampshire (6,288 ft.)
To experience a killer mountain a little closer to home, look no further than this New Hampshire peak. The rapidly shifting weather, hurricane force winds, and summer ice pellets scouring this slope have claimed more than 100 lives. Temperatures at the peak can descend to -50 degrees Farenheit. In fact, the strongest wind gust ever measured on Earth was recorded on this peak, a gale of 231 mph.
9. DENALI, Alaska (20,320 ft.)
The mountain is prone to earthquakes. And the combination of high altitude and extreme latitude also means altitude sickness kicks in much faster. (At the equator, a peak this size would have about half as much oxygen at the summit than at sea level; because of the latitude, the percentage on Denali is far lower.)
10. Mt. Fuji, Japan (12,388 ft.)
Sometimes you don’t have to be a tall mountain to be a lethal one. Take Mt. Fuji, for example. At its base sits the Sea of Trees, a large expanse of cedar, pine, and boxwood trees that was the only area not overrun by lava and ash during a massive eruption in 1707.
This forest, know as Aokigahara, has attained cult status among Japanese as the perfect place to die. Rumors about the woods abound: locals speak of magnetic fields that disorient search and rescue operations; the forest’s population is said to consist of snakes, wild dogs, and the occasional demon.