Most Dangerous Mountain In The World | Top 5

Statistically speaking, what is the deadliest mountain for climbers?

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Pictured: Snow at Annapurna base camp. Photo via Getty Images.

It goes without saying that climbing big mountains can be dangerous, and that some mountains are considerably more dangerous to climb than others. But what is the most dangerous mountain in the world? You might be forgiven for thinking that because Everest is the highest mountain in the world, it’s also the deadliest. However, in terms of the percentage rates of people who die attempting to summit it Everest is actually comparatively safe when you put it next to some of the other mountains on this list. Which is not to say that the world’s highest mountain isn’t without its dangers, as anyone who’s read up on the gruesome subject of dead bodies on Everest will tell you.

Anyway, based on death-to-summit ratios here are the five deadliest mountains on the planet.

1) Annapurna

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Pictured: Morning view of Annapurna from its south face base camp. Photo via Getty Images.

At 8,091 metres high, Annapurna might only be the 10th highest mountain in the world but when judged purely on fatality risk the massif’s main peak has, over the years, established itself as the planet’s most dangerous mountain.

As of 2012, Annapurna I Main (the mountain’s official title) had seen 191 summit ascents and 61 climbing fatalities. This puts Annapurna’s fatality-to-summit ratio at an astonishing 32%, meaning that for every three climbers trying to make it up and down the mountain one will die attempting it.  The south face ascent is particularly notorious, and is considered by many to be the most difficult climb in the world.

“This puts Annapurna’s fatality-to-summit ratio at an astonishing 32%”

Despite being the first of the 8,000 metre peaks to be summited, in 1950 by Frenchmen Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, Annapurna is to this day the least-climbed of all the mountains over 8,000 metres high. Everest, which is almost 800 metres higher than Annapurna at 8,848m, has been summited over 6,000 times whereas Annapurna has been climbed less than 200 times. A perfect illustration, we think, of the sheer difficulty and danger involved with climbing it.

In October 2014, at least 43 people were killed when snowstorms and avalanches hit Annapurna and the surrounding area. This is on record as being the worst trekking disaster in Nepal’s history.

2) K2

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Pictured: K2, the world’s second highest and second most dangerous mountain in the world. Photo via Getty Images.

With about one in four climbers dying in their attempts to summit it, it’s fair to say that K2 has earned its nickname the “Savage Mountain.” The second highest mountain in the world, and the mountain with the second highest death-to-summit ratio, K2 is literally right up there whichever way you look at it.

“The second highest mountain in the world, and the mountain with the second highest death-to-summit ratio”

Despite not quite hitting the same physical heights as Everest, anyone who knows anything about mountain climbing, will tell you that K2 is far more difficult to summit. Over the course of a single year, Everest, for example, might see more than 500 climbers reach the summit. Whereas K2, due to its more challenging and extremely technical nature, might go many years without anyone making a successful ascent of it. It is thought of as the “mountaineer’s mountain.”

In August of 2008, K2 saw its worst ever mountaineering accident – with 11 climbers dying, and another three suffering serious injuries. The series of deaths, that occurred over a Friday ascent and Saturday descent, were the result of a climber’s fall, subsequent attempts to rescue him, and four separate incidents involving large blocks of glacier ice breaking off.

 

3) Nanga Parbat

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Pictured: Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world. Photo via Getty Images.

At 8,126 metres, Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world. It is a notoriously difficult and dangerous mountain to climb and, thanks to its 22% fatality rate, is known in climbing circles as “Killer Mountain” and “Man Eater.”

Considered, alongside K2 (also on this list), to be one of the planet’s most technically difficult mountains; Nanga Parbat is home to the 4,600 metre high Rupal Face – the largest and most intimidating rock wall on Earth. Needless to say, deadly features of this size require huge quantities of courage, dedication, and mountaineering skill to overcome.

The Nanga Parbat Disaster of 1934, which claimed the lives of 10 climbers, was at the time it happened the worst mountaineering tragedy in history. Willy Merkl led the well financed expedition, one that was fully supported by Germany’s newly instated Nazi government.

“the worst mountaineering tragedy in history.”

Mountaineer Alfred Drexel perished early doors, with matters only getting worse for the party from that point on. When a severe storm kicked in, the climbers attempted a desperate retreat down to safety but six Sherpas and three Germans, including Merkl himself, would never make it back alive – dying from exhaustion, exposure, and altitude sickness. Last man standing, Ang Tsering spent seven days battling through the storm and was the only one who lived to tell the tale.

In Joe Simpson’s book ‘Dark Shadows Falling’, it is said that the 1934 Nanga Parbat Disaster: “for protracted agony, has no parallel in climbing annals.”

Austrian climber Hermann Buhl became the first man to summit Nanga Parbat, in July 1953. At the time of his expedition, the mountain had already claimed 31 lives. Buhl, who’d ascended by himself under the influence of pervitin (a drug based on the stimulant methamphetamine used by soldiers in World War II), lost a crampon on the way down and had to sleep upright in a bivouac while holding onto a small handhold. In the history of 8,000m first ascents, Buhl is the only person to have done one solo.

4) Kangchenjunga

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Pictured: The first light of sunrise hits Kangchenjunga. Photo via Getty Images.

Kangchenjunga’s summit is a whole 8,586 metres above sea level. It is the world’s third highest mountain. Located along the border that separates India and Nepal, the mountain is infamous for its frequent avalanches, extremely cold weather, and highly unpredictable weather patterns. As deadly as it is difficult, this is not a hill to be taken lightly.

“Their bodies have never been found.”

The Kangchenjunga fatality-to-summit ratio is about 20%; meaning that for every five climbers who make the summit one, on average, will die. Interestingly, whereas most mountains appear to be getting safer due to improvements in climbing gear recent statistics appear to suggest that this particular mountain is becoming increasingly dangerous to climb.

Back in May 2013, five climbers including Hungary’s most accomplished mountaineer Zsolt Erőss (a man who summited 10 of the 14 peaks over 8,000 metres) reached the top of Kangchenjunga but disappeared during the descent. Their bodies have never been found.

5) Dhaulagiri

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Pictured: Dhaulagiri at Sunrise from Poonhill, Nepal. Photo via Getty Images.

The seventh highest mountain in the world, the top of Dhaulagiri sits 8,167 metres above sea level. It has a fatality-to-summit ratio of about 16%, making it one of the hardest and most dangerous climbs in the mountaineering world.

“In 1969, five American climbers and two Nepalese were killed in an avalanche.”

Despite Dhaulagiri’s first successful summiting occurring in 1960, nobody to this day has been able to summit it via the the south face. Some legendary names, such as Reinhold Messner, have tried and failed to make it up this way; illustrating perfectly just how difficult this approach is. For one of mountain climbing’s greatest, yet to be overcome, challenges… look no further than Dhaulagiri’s south face.

In 1969, five American climbers and two Nepalese were killed in an avalanche. Six years later, in 1975, two Japanese and three Nepalese were killed by an avalanche as they slept at Camp I. These tragic incidents are by no means the only dark days in Dhaulagiri’s history, with the mountain suffering over 70 fatalities down the years.

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Intersport’s rental ski range includes state of the art powder skis. Photo: Intersport

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Ed Leigh demonstrating just how tasty the new Nitro Quiver series boards are. Photo: Courtesy Intersport

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“Intersport’s snowboard range this year includes Nitro’s innovative Q Series, designed by pro riders Austin Smith and Bryan Fox.”

Rental snowboards used to have a bad rep. More often than not they were an afterthought in shops run primarily for skiers, who stocked stiff, unresponsive planks with no edges left or deep gouges out of the base.

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Editor’s Letter | The Family Issue – December-January 17/18

This month is all about adventures for the whole family

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A couple of days ago I met a friend’s 6-month-old son for the first time. Amid the chat about the sleepless nights and the screaming sessions (which quite frankly didn’t sound like a lot of fun) my interest was peaked when talk turned to his first Christmas (which definitely did).

I spend the festive season with my extended family most years, but it’s been a long time since there were any little people around our tree, and I realised how much I’d missed it. My friend’s son may be too young to appreciate it fully this time around, but for the next few years he’s going to be as excitable as, well, a kid at Christmas.

“Wendy Fisher was expressing breast milk for her first child between runs at the US Extreme Skiing Championships.”

While this time of the year might be made for talking about families, at first glance adventure sports might seem an odd way to do it. After all they usually involve an element of danger, which for many parents would put them a long way down the list of preferred activities. But there are just as many people who view adventure not just as child-friendly, but an essential part of raising healthy, well-adjusted kids, and rightly so.

Take Wendy Fisher for example, who Abi Butcher spoke to for this month’s Big Interview. An “utterly badass” free-skier, she was expressing breast milk for her first child between runs at the US Extreme Skiing Championships, and now regularly takes both her young sons out on the hill.

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Wendy Fisher, who enjoys a career as a professional freeride skier, as well as being a hands-on mother to her two boys. Photo: Dave Kozlowski

She’s more aware than most of the sport’s dangers too – horrifically, she watched her older brother die in a skiing accident when she herself was just a child. “Even though my brother died, this sport is awesome,” she explains, and she wants her kids to enjoy it as she has.

It’s not like kids need slow you down either. Fisher’s two boys now often beat her down the slopes, and in fact, children can be the catalyst for their parents taking on new challenges. This was certainly the case for Jordan Romero’s family who climbed together and then, at Jordan’s instigation, summited Everest when he was just 13 years old – making him the youngest person ever to do so.

The achievement (and the family’s subsequent ascent of the rest of the Seven Summits) didn’t just put Jordan’s name in the record books, it made him closer to his father and surrogate mother, who he misses climbing with to this day.

Of course, taking a teenager up the world’s highest mountain isn’t for everyone, but you can enjoy a similar sense of collective endeavour and achievement closer to home too. This month saw features editor Sam Haddad and a friend taking their kids trekking round the bothies of the South Downs, an experience she documents amusingly for our Great British Adventures series.

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Kiwi brothers Jake & Theo, who feature in mountain bike videos together. Photo: @jaketheobike

As she found out, there’s something about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – whether that’s camping with kids in an English winter or climbing the world’s highest peaks – that brings people together. And while you don’t have to be related to each other to appreciate this (Hugh Francis Anderson had an incredible time at the inaugural IGO Morocco this month with a friend), but it definitely helps. After all, if you’re going to be huddling in a tent in subzero temperatures, or pushing yourself to the extremes of physical exhaustion, it helps to know your companions inside out before you start.

Of course, everyone has family members they’d rather not spend any more time with than is strictly necessary. The stereotypical drunken uncle or borderline racist grandmother are festive-season staples for example. But for all they can infuriate you, it’s worth remembering that the best companions for any adventure you might choose to embark on are often the ones closest to you. So it’s perhaps no wonder that my friend can’t wait until his boy’s old enough to get a snowboard for Christmas.

Here’s hoping this month’s stories inspire you to get outside with your family this festive season.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year from all of us at Mpora.
– Tristan, Editor-in-chief

To read Mpora’s December / January Family issue, head here.

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Watch replays as they happen using Worm’s unique slow mo functions. Photo: Courtesy Worm App

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Youngest Person To Climb Everest | We Speak To Jordan Romero About Summiting The World’s Highest Mountain When He Was Just 13

When Jordan Romero was nine, he saw a mural. By 15, he’d conquered all of the Seven Summits.

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You remember being 13. Your first ‘cool’ band t-shirt, your mum buying you industrial quantities of Clearasil on a weekly basis, your lunchtime kickabouts behind the sports hall; you remember it all. Those sleepovers that were all about being the best at Playstation, the tentative steps towards being adequate at bass guitar, your first embarrassing attempt at flirtatious interaction with the opposite sex; it’s all so vivid isn’t it? Now picture that adolescent version of yourself standing on the summit of Everest. Can’t do it, can you? The thought of your pubescent-self atop the world’s highest mountain is just too absurd.

Jordan Romero, now 21, was different. At the unbelievably young age of 13 years, 10 months and 10 days, he made it to Everest’s peak and, in doing so, dramatically rewrote the mountaineering record books. The feat of becoming the youngest person ever to climb the legendary mountain, the previous record holder had been a comparatively ancient 15, led to an explosion of media coverage; thrusting Jordan, and his climbing family, under the brightest of spotlights.

“My parents didn’t drag me up the mountain. If anything, it was the other way round.”

“Getting to the summit of Everest was such a surreal moment, man. I really couldn’t believe it. I was so mind-blown at the fact I was standing on top of it. It was just something that… I guess I had never been so present in the moment,” Jordan tells us via Skype.

Achieving something so impressive at such a young age would, you might think, have led to a unanimously positive reaction from observers. However, in perhaps the most extreme example of that famous old saying ‘you can’t please everyone’, there were critics who spoke out against Jordan and the adults in his life for taking a 13-year old up a mountain that, at the time of his ascent, had already claimed the lives of 217 climbers. Since 2010, this number has increased to 290.

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Screenshot of Jordan Romero’s appearance on an American talk show in 2010 (via CBS | YouTube).

“There was a lot of criticism going on about it. There were a lot of misguided assumptions that we were climbing for the wrong reasons, that we were this super rich family doing this. But, you know, we had to do a lot of crowdsourcing, and fundraising, and financing in order to make it happen. When we said we were from a small town in California, we were being honest. We were just people who wanted to travel, see the world, and experience life,” Jordan says, before adding, “My parents didn’t drag me up the mountain. If anything, it was the other way round.”

It’s worth stressing at this point that Jordan isn’t just the youngest person in history to climb Everest. He’s also the youngest person in history to conquer all of the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents). Alongside his dad (Paul Romero) and his dad’s then-partner Karen Lundgren, Jordan began ticking them off in July 2006, aged 10, when he made it to the top of Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. He completed the collection five years later when, aged 15 years, 5 months, and 12 days, he made it to the top of Antarctica’s Vinson Massif.

“In terms of moody teenage strops, I won’t deny that I had some really frustrating moments in my head…”

I picture myself climbing big mountains at that age and can easily imagine myself shouting at my parents and storming off to my tent at the slightest provocation. Surely, considering Jordan’s age at the time and the stresses he was under, there must have been some classic ‘Kevin and Perry’ type rages along the way?

“In terms of moody teenage strops, I won’t deny that I had some really frustrating moments in my head, but I never wanted to burden anyone else with my emotions. I did my best to focus on the big picture and how lucky I was to travel to these incredible locations,” Jordan says, revealing a maturity level that I, even as a full-grown adult, have yet to reach.

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Picture taken in Moab. Photo: John Dalpiaz.

I was curious to know what, if it wasn’t his parents’ influence, planted the seed of inspiration in Jordan’s mind and led him to tackling the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents before he was old enough to legally buy alcohol or drive a car.

“I don’t know if there was one single moment but this whole thing started when I was nine. I came across a mural of the Seven Summits at my school, and I was just so fascinated by it. There was a chart, and each mountain was labelled with the elevation, the continent this mountain was on, and the name of it. It just totally captured my attention and I guess you could say that was when I was dove into mountaineering head first,” reflects Jordan.

You could be forgiven for thinking, without meeting him and considering all that he’s achieved, that Jordan would be a bit full of himself. I can report though that this is definitely not the case. It’s clear, virtually right from the off, that he’s humble enough to acknowledge how important the support of his family has been.

“So, I climbed with my Dad and his long-term girlfriend. They never actually ended up getting married, but we did every single one of them together and I’m so grateful for that every day. To this day, my Dad, Karen, and my biological Mum are still killing it in life. They’re huge inspirations to me,” Jordan says.

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Shot of Jordan and his Dad up on Vinson. Photo: Karen Lundgren.

“After doing the Seven Summits, we had plans to do the adventure grand slam. Trek to the South Pole and the North Pole to see if I could be the youngest person to do that but Karen and my Dad were splitting up, and yeah that was tough to take. Karen was just such an essential backbone to our expeditions and without her nothing was really able to evolve or be followed through on. She was all about the logistics, and the finances, and you know the stuff to actually make it happen. Looking back, I really should have kept that momentum going,” Jordan tells me, when I ask him about what came after.

With his Dad now living in Hawaii, where he runs his own business, and Jordan studying Environmental Studies and Economics in Utah, it can seem from the outside looking in that this young record-holder has put the big mountain climbs very much on the backburner. Now a passionate skier, and with university studies to think of, is Jordan itching to get the band back together and summit again with the man who’s been with him since the very beginning? And, if so, would his Dad be up for it?

“Absolutely. He definitely would. I really do miss climbing with him. He was super knowledgeable about stuff. You know, he was really so good at critical decision making. My Dad was a vital component of the team. Being there. Planning stuff. Strategising what to do and when to summit the mountain. Right now, my university schedule is a little more on the priority list but hell man if we had some plane tickets to go to Nepal tomorrow for an expedition, I know I’d do it in a heartbeat and I’m sure he would too,” Jordan says.

“Find your Everest in life. Find that passion that gets you out of bed every day…”

Because of Jordan’s area of academic interest, coupled with the fact he’s American, our conversation inevitably drifts towards environmental concerns and the actions of climate change-denying President Donald J. Trump.

“Climate change is something I’ve seen first hand by going all round the world. And going to Mount Kilimanjaro and going to Indonesia, where we’re climbing next to the world’s largest gold and copper mine which is just the worst polluting source. In that area, it’s just absolutely devastating a lot of the local communities and indigenous people so there’s a lot of environmental injustices that I’ve seen first hand.

“With Trump in office, I could only imagine how scary it must be from an outside perspective. Maybe you’ve heard this but it was the U.S, Syria, and Nicaragua that were the three countries that weren’t on the Paris Climate Agreement when it was announced that we were pulling out of it. Then, Syria and Nicaragua became a part of it so now we’re the only country in the world that aren’t on board with it.

“For me, Trump is just too much of liability. Honestly, I wouldn’t care if we had a Republican President right now. But the fact that we’ve got someone who’s so incompetent and with such a large ego, and who can outright call bullshit and #FakeNews to whatever he wants. That’s an example he’s setting to a lot of people and, look, if we’re going down that route then we’re all fucked,” says Jordan, offering up his own brutally honest take on the current state of politics across the pond.

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Jordan Romero climbed Mount Everest when he was just 13 years old. Photo via Getty Images.

Ending things on such a bleak note when Jordan’s story is such an uplifting one feels wrong somehow. Weeks later, when putting this piece together, one particularly optimistic response Jordan gives, about midway through our chat, stands out above the rest: “Find your Everest in life,” he tells me, “Find that passion that gets you out of bed every day because if you have the right tools, and the right mindset, you can do anything you want to do.”

Delivered with Jordan’s sunny Californian accent, it feels like a line straight out of a motivational quotes coffee table book; one that wouldn’t look out of place inside a generic landscape image on your mum’s Facebook feed. Said by anyone else it would feel like too much of a cliche. In the case of Jordan, however, a man who accomplished so much so young and who is insanely modest about it all to boot, I can’t help but warm to its underlying message that age is just a number and that no adventure is impossible – especially if you’ve got a big imagination and a willing family unit to back you up.

To read the rest of Mpora’s December ‘Family’ Issue head here

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