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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.

About The Author

David DeFranza

David DeFranza has studied in China, worked in Japan, and wandered all over Asia, Europe, and North America.

  • Hal

    I saw a great IMAX documentary at the Boston Museum of Science about climbing the Eiger. Check out the trailer:

  • ccweiss

    Cool list. I've heard of many of these peaks but some are totally new names for me.

  • Cjitravels

    Mountain Climbing is great thrill. which gives us many experience in traveling. We should plan vacation so. atleast once in year we should do climbing so.

  • Aps

    Cerro Torre is physically located behind the Fitz Roy, in El Chalten (Argentina). In my opinion, it´s much more difficult than Fitz Roy. It´s more technical, has worse weather conditions than Fitz Roy, and has constant ice avalanches from the snow mushroom on its summit.
    I would place it number 9

  • cailtlin

    could you plz ad some stuff on dangerous mountain climbing after weather warning for my project due this week


  • Jeff Bartlett

    I agree with Aps’s post. Cerro Torre completely destroys Fitz Roy when it comes to danger, difficulty, and technical climbing. To summit the ice mushroomed summit of Cerro Torre is likely the most difficult low altitude climb on earth.

  • anthonius

    it’s informative,thanks for all info.

  • http://google anonoymus

    what about mt everest

  • R. Gonzalez

    Just stood below the Nordwand of the Eiger, yesterday. Wow, it is spectacular, and I thought I saw the weiss Spinne move!

  • MIke Behnken

    Thanks, I’m heading to Nepal and looking for stuff not to get myself into.

  • Oscar Gomez Barrantes

    Interesting info but I was not going to try anyway!

  • Lewis

    Great article, very informative and great images. Keep up the good work!

  • threepeakschallenge

    Mountain and Glen offer The Three Peaks Challenge Adventures. To take part visit the mountain and glen website.

  • Matt Scott

    OK, so I won’t climb these ones;) Thanks

  • Suzanm

    then where is Alborz’s place?!!

  • Scole327

    Surprised not to see Makalu on the list, as it features technical ice climbing at 8000m+, steep pitches and knife-edge aretes totally exposed to the weather.

  • Ffffff

    Gasherbrum IV, Jannu, Makalau, Mount logan, Mount St Ellias, Cerro Paine, Menlungtse
    ,Gauri Sankar, and Lhotse all could have made the list(or maybe on a “most difficult”
    rather than “most dangerous”)

  • doesnt care

    mountains are dangerous lol

  • Prettygirl12

    omg in school so bored lol

  • Prettygirl12

    im in jupiter middle school and so bored in 2d period lol but no joke

  • Samuel T. Gresty

    Is this correct? I solo climbed The Matterhorn and I’m not a professional climber, I admit I slipped a few times and thought I was going to die, but surely it’s not that bad. Also I really want to go and climb The Eiger North Face, my friends and family think thats a ridiculous idea, but it’s only one place above The Matterhorn on this list. 

    Can anyone give me any info on the comparison between the two?


    • MountClimber

      Its not the same as Matterhorn

    • Sam Sykes

      Seriously Gresty. You are hilarious. 

  • Umer Saleem Dogar

    True !

  • Umer_Saleem

    k2 and NANGA PARBAT is in PAKISTAN  :D

  • Cheryl Tong

    Dangerous yet alluring.

  • Deepak Chadha

    wow – real challenge for the real men.
    I don’t know if I can do it – would definately try some day.

  • Deepak Chadha

    Anybody listeming, who is going to these peaks – please count me in. I am willing to take this chalenge.

  • Michael Bredehoeft

    To: Samuel T Gresty: Do you have a death wish?

  • Roy Lachica

    Thanks for creating this list. I have referred to your list in my Matterhorn video

  • Vivek Baghel


  • Oscar Gomez Barrantes

    My brother was in K2 last year..I´ll do something like that one day.

  • Oscar Gomez Barrantes

    In the mean time there s nothing more than Cerro Chirripó here in Costa Rica.

  • Dino Lucas


  • Adventure Strong

    Annapurna is only the deadliest if you look at successful summits to death ratio. I don’t think that’s an accurate way to look at it. The death to summit attempt ratio is much lower. Nor does Annapurna have the highest overall death toll. Regardless, it is a dangerous mountain. Doug Scott’s story on Baintha Brakk is pretty incredible.

  • BonesDT

    FYI, I just figured out that the first picture is “Summit of Mt. Shasta, California, 2005″. That’s the best summit photo I have ever seen.

  • Randomes

    Check the heights of K2 and Kanchenjunga and Nanga parbat. They are way higher than Matterhorn and Eiger North Face.

  • Kack

    Mt Faber in Singapore. Nobody can ever summit it.Because the peak is stolen.

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