5 Mountains Deadlier Than Everest
© Keren Su/CORBIS
Hundreds of climbers have lost their lives trying to conquer Everest, including four last weekend. But the tallest mountain in the world is not actually the most lethal. Approximately 3,000 climbers have successfully reached Everest’s peak, including a 13-year-old, a blind person, and a 73-year-old woman who this month broke her own record for oldest female climber. Here are five mountains considered to be more challenging and deadly than Everest.
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Climbers attempted to scale Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, for fifty years before finally reaching its peak in 1955. The mountain, plagued by avalanches and inclement weather, lacks a direct route, which can make for a confusing and treacherous climb. And while most mountains have boasted improved fatality rates in recent years thanks to better gear and technology, Kangchenjunga is the exception. Death rates since the 1990s have reached as high as 22 percent. Only 187 climbers have summited Kangchenjunga.
Located between China and Pakistan
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K2 kills one climber for every four who summit. Conquering the “holy grail of mountaineering” means dealing with steeper, icier slopes and less predictable weather than on Everest. Some 280 people have summited K2 since 1954, when it was first conquered. Dozens of deaths have been recorded since 1939, most of which occurred during the descent. While the overall death toll is reportedly less than Everest’s, the proportion of those killed to the number of people who have attempted climbing K2 is significantly higher. The death rate recorded since the 1990s sits just below Kangchenjunga’s at 19.7 percent.
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Since the first ascent in 1950, Annapurna has only been climbed by about 130 people, and approximately 53 have died trying. It may be only the 10th highest mountain peak in the world, but with a death rate of 41 percent, it is statistically the most dangerous.
4. Nanga Parbat
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Known affectionately as the Man Eater, Nanga Parbat is the ninth-largest mountain in the world. But its mountain face, at 15,000 feet, is the highest on the planet. This wall of ice on its southern side has mesmerized climbers since its first successful ascent in 1953. More than 263 people have summited the mountain since, but over the years 62 have died trying. Since the bulk of those deaths occurred before 1953, however, the mountain’s recent death rate is much improved at 5.5 percent, just above Everest’s 4.4 percent.
5. The Eiger
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The Eiger, German for ogre, is nowhere near the tallest mountain, but it still has one of the most daunting reputations in the climbing world thanks to its infamous north face. Nicknamed Death Wall, the 6,000-foot face is so dangerous that it’s actually safest to climb during the coldest months of the year because fewer rocks will fall with the melting ice. The mountain was first summited in 1938 and at least 64 climbers have died attempting to do the same.
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