The highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest. It’s common knowledge, it’s mainstream, it’s not much of a secret. How many people though do you think know what the world’s sixth highest mountain is? Or, for that matter, what the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth highest mountains in the world are. Exactly. That’s the sort of trivia only real mountaineering hipsters have. Thankfully, and big shoutout to Google here for helping us in our hour of need, we can now all be mountaineering experts together.
1) Mount Everest
As we’ve already said, and as you already knew, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Its peak is an eye-watering 8,848 metres above sea level, making it well over eight times taller than the highest mountain in Wales (Snowdon, at 1,085 metres above sea level).
Everest is situated on the border between Nepal and the autonomous region of Tibet. Officially speaking, the first successful Everest climbers were Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. It is estimated that there is well over 200 dead bodies on Everest, all of them remarkably well-preserved because of the extremely cold temperatures.
Everest is part of the Seven Summits. The Seven Summits is a list made up of the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. Climbing all seven of the Seven Summits is one of the ultimate achievements in the sport of mountaineering.
In recent years, a lot has been made of overcrowding and human traffic jams on Everest. One photo in particular, taken by mountain climber Nirmal Purja in 2019, illustrated just how bad the problem with overcrowding has become. The dangers of queueing in Everest’s scary sounding ‘Death Zone’ has been underlined by last year’s higher than average death count on the mountain. Off the back of this grim year for climbing, we asked a number of mountaineers for their opinions on how they think the Everest overcrowding problem can be fixed.
K2, also known officially as Mount Godwin-Austen or Chhogori, has a summit 8,611 metres above sea level. It is located on the border between China and Pakistan. The Chinese side of the mountain is widely considered to be the more difficult and hazardous side, so the summit is usually attempted from the Pakistan side.
Behind Annapurna, K2 has the second highest fatality rate of any mountain with a height over 8,000 metres. Approximately speaking, there’s one death for every four successful climbs; justifying its nickname as the “Savage Mountain.”
Unlike many of the other 8,000 metre peaks, nobody has ascended K2 in winter – although that could be set to change. It was recently announced that a winter expedition to K2 has been organised – it will run from December 2019 to January 2020.
The mountaineering community is still coming to terms with the first ski descent of the world’s second highest mountain, made by Polish skier Andrzej Bargiel in 2019. Watch it below.