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Top 10 Highest Nepal Mountains

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There are just 14 mountains above 8,000m on our planet and 8 of them are on or within Nepal’s borders. Each of these giants has its own story, with legends dating back centuries. It’s no wonder that Nepal is the world’s mountaineering capital, drawing in explorers from across the globe.

We look at the top 10 highest Nepal mountains, together with their statistics, dangers and stories.

Views on the Everest flight

Highest Nepal Mountains

10. Annapurna 2

  • Nepal ranking: 10th
  • World ranking: 16th
  • Elevation : 7,937 m (26,040 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 2,437 m (7,995 ft)
annapurna 2
The northeast wall of Annapurna II (cr. Markus Beudert)

The 2nd highest peak of the Annapurna Range is notable for the skull-like image on its northeast face, which seems fitting considering the danger it presents for climbers. Avalanches, rock slides, ice overhangs and violent storms are commonplace, meaning expeditions here are comparatively rare.

You can see spectacular views of Annapurna II, along with Annapurna I, Machhapuchhare anda number of other famous peaks as part of the Annapurna Circuit Trek.

9. Gyachung Kang

  • Nepal ranking: 9th
  • World ranking: 15th
  • Elevation : 7,952 m (26,089 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 700 m (2,300 ft)
gyachung Kang
Gyachung Kang (cr. Miguel Amaral)

Coming in just shy of the 8,000m mark and without the dramatic prominence that makes peaks like Everest so awe inspiring, Gyachung Kang is a relative unknown internationally. It’s still a fearsome challenge for mountaineers though, forming part of the Mahalangur Himal region that is home to both Everest and Cho Oyu, and straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet.

8. Annapurna 1

  • Nepal ranking: 8th
  • World ranking: 10th
  • Elevation : 8,091 m (26,545 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 2,984 m (9,790 ft)
Annapurna Peak (cr. Raimond Klavins)
Annapurna Peak (cr. Raimond Klavins)

With a climbing fatality rate of 32% up until 2012, Annapurna has become one of the most feared peaks in the world. In recent years, this has improved to around 20%, but it’s still not for the feint-hearted.

Maurice Herzog made Annapurna the first eight-thousander to be successfully scaled back in 1950, and since then a further 364 people have made it to the summit. 72 people have died trying, making Annapurna one of the world’s most deadly mountains statistically. The routes up are highly prone to avalanches and unpredictable storms, and contain some of the steepest and most challenging climbing sections you’ll find anywhere on earth. Sitting in the Annapurna Range to which it gives its name, most visitors choose to admire from afar and enjoy the beautiful landscapes surrounding it.

You can get up close and personal with Annapurna by taking on the Annapurna Base Camp trek with Royal Mountain Travel.

7. Manaslu

  • Nepal ranking: 7th
  • World ranking: 8th
  • Elevation : 8,163 m (26,781 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 3,092 m (10,144 ft)
Mount Manaslu
Mount Manaslu (c/o Royal Mountain Travel)

Arguably one of the most beautiful mountains in Nepal, Manaslu’s jagged peak soars above the skyline in the Gorkha District of the northern Himalayas. It’s  surrounded by one of Nepal’s most popular trekking regions, made up of sub-tropical foothills and arid high pastures around the Tibetan border – the Manaslu Circuit Trek in particular draws a steady stream of trekkers throughout the high season. For mountaineers, an enticing but dangerous challenge awaits, with a fatality rate of almost 18%.

6. Dhaulagiri

  • Nepal ranking: 6th
  • World ranking: 7th
  • Elevation : 8,167 m (26,795 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 3,357 m (11,014 ft)
Distant view of Dhaulagiri
Distant view of Dhaulagiri (cr. K. Rahul)

Sitting 34km east of Annapurna I, Dhaulagiri is the highest mountain you’ll find contained entirely within Nepal, with most others sitting on the border with Tibet. Its name originates from Sanskrit, translating as “beautiful white mountain”, and until the 1800’s it was thought to be the world’s highest mountain. There have been some notable disasters on the mountain since it was first scaled in 1960, with 70 climbers losing their lives and a fatality rate of around 16.2%.

5. Cho Oyu

  • Nepal ranking: 5th
  • World ranking: 6th
  • Elevation : 8,188 m (26,864 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 2,340 m (7,680 ft)
Cho Oyo
Cho Oyu (cr. Sami Abusamra)

Lying just 20km west of Mount Everest, Cho Oyu (meaning Turquoise Goddess in Tibetan) forms part of the Mahalangur Himalaya and lies close to Nangpa La pass – an ancient glaciated trading route used by Tibetans and Sherpas. This pass makes the mountain one of the most accessible eight-thousanders for climbers, and is often used as a starting point for people looking to get into high-altitude mountaineering. Its fatality rate of 1.4% is the lowest among the world’s 14 8,000m mountains.

4. Makalu

  • Nepal ranking: 4th
  • World ranking: 5th
  • Elevation : 8,463 m (27,766 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 2,386 m (7,828 ft)
Mount Makalu
Mount Makalu (cr. Bisesh Gurung)

19km southeast of Everest, Makalu is a striking, isolated peak with a very classical four-sided pyramid shape. In years gone by (and occasionally in modern times) it was believed to be the stomping ground of the mythical Yeti. For climbers, it is one of the most technically difficult mountains to conquer out of all the eight-thousanders, with steep faces, razor thin ridges and a final ascent that requires rock and ice climbing. The fatality rate for the mountain is around 9%.

3. Lhotse

  • Nepal ranking: 3rd
  • World ranking: 4th
  • Elevation : 8,516 m (27,940 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 610 m (2,000 ft)
Lhotse, Nepal
Lhotse (cr. Alan Hopin)

Forming part of the Everest massif, Lhotse translates from Tibetan as ‘South Peak’ and is joined by a ridge (South Col) to the world’s highest mountain. Climbers often use the same approach for both mountains, and they are regarded as similarly difficult peaks to summit, at least on the common routes. Lhotse’s steep South Face is an exception, thought to be one of the hardest climbs in the world and tackled by only a handful of people. The mountain has 4 distinct peaks and a relatively low prominence due to the height of South Col.

You can see the might of Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Everest from the comfort of a helicopter tour throughout most of the year.

2. Kanchenjunga

  • Nepal ranking: 2nd
  • World ranking: 3rd
  • Elevation : 8,586 m (28,169 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 3,922 m (12,867 ft)
Kanchenjunga
Kanchenjunga (cr. Labun Hang Limboo)

In the far east of Nepal, Kanchenjunga lies on the border with India and its transboundary landscape stretches into Bhutan and China. It was thought to be the world’s highest mountain until 1852, and consists of 5 peaks, with 4 over 8,000m. Its name translates as ‘The five treasures of high snow’ and local legend suggests that the mountain holds precious treasures including gold and invincible armour.

Climbing-wise it’s incredibly tough, with a fatality rate of around 20% making it one of the world’s deadliest mountains.

For something a little less extreme, Kanchenjunga Base Camps Trek takes you as close as you can get to the mountain without climbing.

1. Mount Everest

  • Nepal ranking: 1st
  • World ranking: 1st
  • Elevation : 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)
  • Prominence (height compared to immediate landscape): 8,848.86 m (29,031.7 ft)*

*Prominence is calculated using the nearest higher peak for measurement. For Everest there is nothing higher, of course.

View of Mount Everest Mount Everest (cr. Tashi Dai)
View of Mount Everest (cr. Tashi Dai)

In 1852, Everest (or Sagarmatha in Tibetan) was officially recognised as the world’s highest mountain, and has fascinated adventurers ever since. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first ascent in 1953, and since then there have been over 9,000 successful summit climbs (with around 300 fatalities). In recent years, the problem of overtourism on the mountain has entered the public eye, highlighted by a famous photo posted by Nirmal Purja in 2019 which shows a huge queue waiting to reach the peak.

The appeal of the mountain is obvious, both in terms of the achievement it offers and its sheer beauty and size.

You can experience the famous journey to the mountain as part of the Everest Base Camp Trek, operated by our partners at Royal Mountain Travel.

Is Everest really the highest mountain the world?

There is some debate over the world’s highest mountain title, with Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador also staking a claim. The reason is the Equatorial Bulge – Earth is not a perfect sphere, and bulges around the equator where Chimborazo lies. This makes Chimborazo the furthest you can get from the centre of the earth and the closest landpoint to moon (depending on the time of day, of course).

However, Everest is the highest point above sea level, some 2,500m higher than Chimborazo. This puts it comfortably on top of the list geographically speaking. Everest also looks a lot bigger, if that matters…

mount chimborazo in Ecuador
Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador (cr. Joris Beugels)

There they are, the top 10 peaks in the land of mountains. If you’re keen to see some of these giants in real life, you can get in touch with the Travel Nepal team for advice, planning help and direct bookings with our local partners.

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