Top 5 highest mountains in the World
The highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest. It’s pretty famous. Big pointy thing in the in Nepal. Sits up at 8,848m. It’s a real high mountain. Everyone knows about Mount Everest. Most people also know the second-highest mountain in the world is K2. But very few people know the third highest mountain in the world is called Kangchenjunga. Or how to spell that. It’s not quite as simple as ‘K2’, that’s for sure. So how many of the highest mountains in the world do you really know?
By the time you get onto the rest of the 10 highest mountains in the world, most don’t have a clue. Why would you? Mount Everest is hogging all the fame. And the more commonly known Seven Summits – the highest mountains on each of the seven continents in the world – don’t make much of an appearance on this list. A top 10 of the world’s highest mountains contains itself exclusively to Asia.
So let’s do this. Let’s help you learn the top 10 highest mountains in the world. Let’s help you cheat in this pub quiz you’re probably competing in right now, phone under the table, connected to dodgy Wi-Fi. Don’t feel bad. Everyone’s doing it. That team with the dog were definitely cheating in the music round. Here are the 10 highest mountains in the world.
1. Mount Everest, Nepal/Tibet Autonomous Region, China – 8848m
First climbed by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, Mount Everest is, of course, the highest mountain in the world. Everest has come under a lot of scrutiny recently. Photographs showing enormous queues near the summit have opened a huge debate about overcrowding on Everest.
One thing’s for sure though, the inherent draw of Mount Everest is not going to go away any time soon. Mankind is drawn to the mountain like moths to a flame. As well as those looking to take the route from Everest Base Camp to the summit, trekking to Everest Base Camp itself is also hugely popular. In fact, it’s become one of the world’s most famous multi-day treks.
P.S. If you are currently cheating at a pub quiz on the question “what is the highest mountain in the world?”, then we would suggest that it’s relatively unlikely you’re going to win the quiz. Unless you cheat a bunch more.
2. K2, Karakoram, Pakistan/China – 8611m
The second highest mountain in the world is K2. The mountain took its name from the notation used by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of British. At the time, there wasn’t an apparent local name for the mountain, and so it stuck. K2 is also nicknamed the ‘Savage Mountain’, which is cool in a slightly Point Break, over-the-top extreme kind of way. It is fitting, though, too. The mountain is typically considered one of the toughest mountains in the world to climb, notoriously harder than Mount Everest. K2 actually has the second highest fatality rate per summit attempt of all mountains over 8000m, with around 300 successful summits and 77 deaths. The highest fatality rate is that of the tenth highest mountain in the world (spoiler alert), Annapurna I in Nepal. Unlike Annapurna though, K2 has never been summited in winter.
3. Kangchenjunga, Nepal
So you knew Mount Everest was the highest mountain in the world. You even knew K2 was the second highest. But we’re betting if you asked most people what Kangchenjunga was, they’d guess it was some kind of street food. It is not. Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. It can be found between Nepal, with three of the peaks on the border and the other two in the Taplejung District of Nepal.
Kangchenjunga was actually thought to be the highest mountain in the world until 1852. This wasn’t because people didn’t know about Mount Everest, but because they had done their calculations wrong. After further homework by the Great Trigonometrical Survey, it was discovered that actually Kangchenjunga was the third highest mountain in the world, and children around the world breathed a sigh of relief that they would be primarily learning about Mount Everest instead, a mountain which is significantly easier to both say and spell.
4. Lhotse, Nepal/Tibet Autonomous Region, China – 8516m
Lhotse is one of the more famous mountains on any list of the top 10 highest mountains in the world, largely because of its proximity to Mount Everest. The route up Lhotse is the same as that up Mount Everest from Everest Base Camp until you pass Camp 3 and then depart to the Reiss couloir from the Lhotse Face, from where the peak of Lhotse is reached.
Lhotse is a little like the neglected younger sibling of Mount Everest. Everest gets all the attention while Lhotse, though often considered more visually attractive, is significantly less busy. While the main summit of Lhotse was first climbed in 1956, the Lhotse Middle actually remained the highest unclimbed, named point on Earth for decades. It was eventually first scaled in 2011 by a Russian expedition.
5. Makalu, Nepal/Tibet Autonomous Region, China – 8485m
Makalu is the third of the four 8000m-high mountains in the Everest Massif in Nepal. It was first summited by a French expedition led by Jean Franco in 1955. Their ascent was most notable for the fact that a full ten members of the expedition team summited the mountain on the trip. In those days, it was normally only one or two climbers from each team who reached the top of the mountain on an expedition, so this was a huge deal at the time, and generally, it’s just quite nice, isn’t it? The first two summited on 15 May 1955, then four more went up the next day, then four more went up the day after that. Just very wholesome mountain climbing, really.