4 years, Australia
Since there appeared commercial tours to Mount K2, almost everyone knows which guided expedition should be the best of this ranking. But trust us - the other 9 peaks aren't less interesting. Take a moment to discover the top ten challenging guided climbs of the world.
What factors affect the complexity of guided climbs? You will say route complexity and mountain height, but there are many other factors. The Mountain Planet Project conducted a survey among the guides registered on mountainpalnet.com, and found out what factors affect the toughness of a guided climb:
Mountain Planet offered its members to rank the existing commercial climbs based on each of these factors from 1 to 10. On the basis of the survey, we created the world's top ten hardest guided climbs.
Let's take a look at world's TOP-10 toughest guided expeditions according to mountainplanet.com:
Climbing Mount Huascaran is not considered technically difficult, but a serious height and the presence of areas that requiring climbing equipment, is worth a professionals’ attention. Huascaran height (as well as on equatorial latitudes) is perceived much easier than in northern or southern latitudes. This makes it easier for participants who don't have significant experience in high-altitude mountaineering. But you still need full acclimatization and a perfect rope and ice equipment techniques in your possession in order to climb Huascaran. The commercial expedition has a 9 days average duration. Difficulty of the route: 7/10. Unpredictable weather conditions: 7/10.
At the beginning of the last century, climbing Eiger North Face was compared to suicide. Despite the relatively low height above sea level, Eiger North Face has a vertical 1,800 meters high gain and was climbed for the first time only in 1938 by the German-Austrian alpinist team. It happened after a series of unsuccessful attempts. By that time nine victims had already lost their lives. Since then, at least another 55 people were killed while trying to across the northern wall, but it doesn't stop the local guides from successfully selling these dangerous expeditions. The safest climbing seasons are considered to be spring and autumn, when the number of rock falls are reduced to the minimum due to low temperatures. The commercial expedition is a 2-day duration on average. Psychological factor: 10/10 points. Objective hazards on the route: 9/10 points.
The middle of May is best for climbing the peak of Denali, but even at this time of the year the temperature in the high camps reaches often minus 40 degrees Far. Denali is the only 6000-meter peak situated in such a high latitude. Storm winds from the Arctic Ocean often cover Alaska Range with prolonged bad weather. Despite all the difficulties, the Denali is listed in the most popular climbing destination because it is the highest peak in North America and part of the 7 Summits. The commercial expedition takes about 19 days on average to climb. Complicated weather conditions: 8 /10 points. Logistics difficulty: 7/10.
Pumori means, in the Sherpa language "unmarried daughter". George Mallory named it and therefore climbers often call Pumori "Everest's daughter." At Pumori there are many routes, two of which are considered classics. The route of South East Ridge is the simplest of the existing ones, however, it is most dangerous in the post-monsoon period, as ice collapses off of the shoulder of the southeast ridge. Pumori is 7165 meters’ high and the average climbing time takes about 40 days. The reason is it takes almost 10 days to get to the beginning of the route. Objective hazards on the route: 7/10 points. Height of the mountain: 8/10 points. Average price of the commercial expedition: 12 000 USD.
Is the second highest point of Peru and the highest mountain in the Huayhuash Cordillera. Locals call the mountain ‘’El Carnicero’’, which means The Butcher. Perhaps the name is related to the peak shape, similar to a sharp knife, but it also reflects the number of climbers who died attempting to reach the summit. Yerupaja, is considered to be the most difficult of all the 6,500-meter peaks climbs. The climbing route is complicated by rocks, and the instability of the ice-snow makes it harder. Average price of a commercial expedition is 6500 USD. Difficulty of the route: 9/10. Unpredictable weather conditions: 7/10. Objective hazards on the route: 8/10 points.
Khan Tengri is one of the most beautiful peaks of Tien Shan mountain range, located between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan borders. The pyramidal shape fascinates climbers with its pink and grey marble facade and has attracted people's attention since the ancient times. The conquest of this peak, which has a height of 7010 meters above sea level, is part of the «Snow Leopard» program. Khan Tengri is a proud and majestic mountain, which reserves a lot of dangerous surprises, such as avalanches, ice falls and unstable weather conditions for the climbers. The commercial expedition has a 21 days average duration. Complicated logistics: 8/10 points. Difficulty of the route during the descent: 8/10.
This peak has one of the most beautiful and recognizable profiles in the world. The Swiss Matterhorn is probably the only mountain that competes with it. But despite all its beauty, climbers aren't so interested in Ama Dablam, because of its route complexity. Moreover, there is a large number of easier mountains around attracting climbers’ attention. No more than 20 people climb Ama Dablam each season, and tourists prefer its view from afar away. Difficulty of the route during the descent: 9/10. Logistics difficulty: 7/10.
Ismoil Somoni Peak is the highest peak in the territory of the former Soviet Union, located in the north-western part of the Pamirs. The peak was opened in 1928 and was called "Stalin Peak" until 1962. It then was renamed as the "Communism Peak." after Tajikistan independence in 1999. It was renamed as the " Ismoil Somoni Peak" in honor of the founder of the first (in the X century) Tajik State. Successful climbs, each season, do not exceed 20%. The high camp, situated at a 7000 meters’ altitude, only contributes to reduce this number. In order to reach the beginning of the route, climbers have to pass under overhanging ice, and actually playing "Russian roulette" with avalanches. The average duration of the commercial expedition is 23 days. Mountain height: 8 /10 points. Objective hazards of the route: 9 /10. Logistics difficulty: 8/10.
When, in 1923, the legendary George Mallory was asked «Why did you want to climb Mount Everest? » - He said - «Because it's there! ». Such a reply can be given by many of the 2000 climbers who, each year, come to the Everest base camp hoping to climb the highest peak of our planet. Each day of the route costs an average $ 1,000 for a climber, and 60 days are required to reach the peak! Hollywood movies keep convincing the public that everyone can climb Mount Everest. Hollywood does not explain the health hazards climbers are exposed to, even if they complete the expedition successfully. Mountain height: 10/10 points. Unpredictable weather conditions: 10/10 points. Difficulty of the route: 9/10 points.
Yes, you are actually reading and not dreaming. You can really pay in order to climb the most inaccessible mountain of the world. However, this trip is only open to members with at least two previous 8 000-meter summits experience, one of which has to be Everest, but it's not a big deal, right? Moreover, this ascent will cost you about $5 000 USD less than Everest, but who counts...
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