No matter how sophisticated you may be, mountains speak in silence to the very core of your being.
Visiting the top highest mountain peaks in the world is a rewarding and enriching travel experience. Mountain climbing is an exhilarating challenge of strength, willpower, and endurance. For some, it’s an almost spiritual pursuit, while for others it’s great fun.
1. Mount Everest
The highest mountain peak of the world at a lofty height of 29,029 feet. Located at the border between Nepal and China, Mount Everest was named by the British after the Surveyor General of India, George Everest. Geological experts say that Mount Everest is still growing at 3 to 6 millimetres per year!
2. K2, Baltoro Karakoram Mountains
The K2, Baltoro Karakoram Mountains, is the second-highest peak at 28,251 ft. The Karakoram Mountain range runs along the borders between India (Ladakh), Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan) and China (Xinchiang). The Karakoram Mountains are among the most heavily glaciated region, second-to-the poles!
3. Kanchenjunga, Himalayas
The Kanchenjunga’s magnificent peaks are situated at a dizzy height of 28,169 feet and the mountains nestle along the border between India and Nepal. The stunning landscape leaves you speechless with awe and you may be lucky to see the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, or even the rare Assamese macaque.
4. Lhotse, Himalayas
Lhotse is located between the borders of India and Pakistan and is the world’s fourth highest peak. It soars up at 27,190 feet. The peak was not noticed until Mount Everest was first climbed. Mount Everest and Lhotse are linked by a long east-west crest that runs all the way at no less than 8,000 metres.
Yet another mighty Himalayan mountain, the Makalu climbs to 27,838 feet and is situated at the border between China and Nepal. Makalu is actually a double-peaked mountain (the other peak is called ‘Chomolonzo’) and is named after the Hindu God ‘Shiva’ (Big Black One). The mountain is almost a perfect pyramid with four sharply marked ridges. The surroundings are endowed with spectacular sceneries and landscapes making this one of the most beautiful mountains ever.
6. Cho Oyu
Tucked away in the lush environs between Tibet and Nepal, the Cho Oyu has a height of an impressive 26, 864 feet. Located about 20 kilometres to the West of Mount Everest, visitors to Cho Oyu can enjoy the quaint tinkling of caravans drawn by the yak. The word ‘Cho Oyu’ means ‘Turquoise Goddess’ in Tibetan. The easiest way to reach Cho Oyu is from Kathmandu from where visitors have to go to the village of Tingri to get to base camp.
The first expedition to conquer the 26,795 feet Dhaulagiri Mountains was back in 1960 when a Swiss-Nepali team set out to climb the mighty mountains. The word ‘Dhaula’ in Sanskrit means dazzlingly white and beautiful. Dhaulagiri is located entirely in Nepal and is known for its myriad topography of glaciers, sharp ridges and icy cascades. Four stately peaks rise along the crest at 25,000 feet. Dhaulagiri is particularly known for its massive south peak.
The massive Manaslu Mountains are also situated in Nepal and tower up to 26,781 feet high. The mountains are known for their spectacular two-horned peaks: The Ganesh Himal (named after the elephant-headed Hindu God, Ganesha) and Himalchuli. Visitors pass unspoiled, serene Buddhist and Hindu villages nestled between the two massive peaks. You can also enjoy a culturally stimulating stay with the ‘Tamangs'; the original horse traders in the area. A further climb brings you to Tiru Danda from where you actually experience a ‘walk in the clouds’ and panoramic views.
9. Nanga Parbat (also called Diamir- King of the Mountains)
Standing high at an awe-inspiring 26,660 feet high, Nanga Parbat is located in Pakistan and like K2, Karakoram, has never been climbed during harsh winter months. The icy, slippery surface and the forbidding beauty of its glacial depths continues to attract daring climbers from the West. The Nanga Parbat is drained by two huge rivers: The Indus and the Astore.
Nestled in Nepal, the deadly Annapurna Mountains are known for their picturesque grandeur and stunning views as the sunlight kisses the icy, limestone peaks. The powerful ‘Gandaki River’ has carved one of the deepest gorges in the world and this gorge separates Annapurna from Dhaulagiri. There are no less than 14 peaks that tower over 8,000 feet high in the Annapurna Mountains!
The 10 top highest mountain peaks of the world are all located in the Himalayas (with the sole exception of K2, Karakoram). Visiting the world’s highest mountains is a liberating and life-changing experience.