Reach for the Top: The 10 Highest Summits in the World

Exploring the highest mountains in the world and the first adventurers to reach summit


Every year, avid climbers, hikers, and adventurists explore the world of high altitude climbing. It is not for the faint of heart, as within that high number of people who try to reach summit, some will not survive.

Slideshow: Highest Summits

But, the risk makes the reward that much sweeter for climbers, and reaching some of the highest summits in the world is a fantastic feat on any thrill-seeker’s bucket-list. And high these altitudes are, reaching far over 20,000 feet, but, these mountains actually are not the tallest of the world. There is an extreme difference comparing tallest to highest.

Related: WATCH: Stunning Time-Lapse of Mount Everest

When we look at the highest mountains in the world, we are measuring the highest altitude. That means that the number of feet they are measured at, is above sea level.

But, there are mountains not listed that actually go beyond our #1 highest mountain, in height. For instance, Mauna Kea has an altitude of only 13,796 feet, which comes in much lower than even the number 10 highest summit. But, when measured from ocean floor, from the actual bottom to top, Mauna Kea is over 32,000 feet. When it comes to hiking, it may be a bit difficult to start at the ocean floor to reach that final summit, so this list focuses on the top 10 highest mountains, in relation to their altitudes.

Other than K2, all of the mountains which measure in the top 10 highest mountains of the world are found in the Himalayas, located throughout Nepal, Tibet, India and Pakistan. All had their first successful ascend between 1950 and 1960, and most data on the first people to summit is unanimous.

That is, except for Mount Everest. It is still debated that Mount Everest was originally climbed successfully by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924. Both climbers were last scene climbing the Second Step and nearing the base of the summit pyramid. Soon later, the climbers were considered to be lost. Later years have found clues that hint at the climbers success, but the climb was credited to another expedition almost 30 years later.

Many are lost on these mountains, but many also make their way to the top. The gorgeous views, the natural rush, and the reward that comes along with completing an ascend of any one of these 10 highest mountains of the world are a story that few incredible people can call their own.

#10 Annapurna I–26,545 ft
Location: Nepal
As the first 8,000-meter peak ever climbed, Annapurna is a very special feat. In 1950, the first summit was completed by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, members of a French team which included many other great climbers. Both suffered severe frostbite from the expedition.

#9 Nanga Parbat–26,658 ft
Location: Pakistan
The legendary Austrian climber Hermann Buhl completed the first ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953. After his companions turned back, he continued up to summit where he had to bivouac standing up on a narrow ledge with one hand clasped to a handhold.

Click here to see more of the top 10 highest mountains in the world and the first to climb them.


No votes yet

Let's Be Friends. Follow The Active Times on Facebook!