re-sized everest-sw-face

Some reflections on the best mountains to climb

I did an article a very long time ago entitled “The World’s Toughest and Most Challenging Mountains to Climb – the Himalayas” followed by “Europe’s Toughest and Most Challenging Mountains to Climb” and then “South America’s Toughest and Most Challenging Mountains”…. these 3 articles have subsequently been followed by many more on mountains…

But I had a very interesting comment sent in the other day. Far too interesting to leave floundering around in the comments section I thought. So I’m going to draw it to your attention.

The discussion is basically whether you judge a whole mountain as to whether it’s the toughest to climb, or whether you narrow the question down to mountain faces and ridges. What do you think? Read the comment though – it’s thought-provoking

“I’m going to have two lists. First list I’m going to cheat a bit maybe and you will see why.

List #1 in no particular order – 10 mountains:

Kangchenjunga South Summit
Lhotse Middle
Lhotse Shar
Nanga Parbat

I say I cheated because some would object including Lhotse Middle and Lhotse Shar as separate independent mountains. Similar to Kangchenjunga South Summit which I think many people don’t consider an independent mountain.

Also some might object to Everest and frankly I was thinking maybe Gasherbrum IV, Jannu, Ogre & Latok I-III might be a better pick. The thing to realize about Everest is that its success rate is over inflated because a much much higher % of those that climb Everest use Oxygen and traditional expedition Style climbing with a lot of support. Just think how much lower the success rate would be if Everest was climbed in a style similar to the peaks. Also many people forget that there are some very tough routes on Everest like specifically the Southwest & East faces which are rarely climbed.”

Mountaineer Doug Scott has some pertinent comments along the same lines as my erstwhile commentor:

But to continue:

“OK so for list #2 in which I don’t including mountains in which others see them as a extension of some other mountain.

List #2 in no particular order – Mountain Range Extensions:

Nanga Parbat
Gasherbrum IV

Really tough decision between Ogre & Latok I (and even Latok II & III) but probably give a slight edge to Ogre because I think its probably a tad bit tougher all around from all side of the peak compared to Latok I, but just barely (although the north side of Latok I is probably as tough as anything on Ogre)

Other honourable mentions besides Latok I-III:

Namche Barwa
bhagirathi III
Nanda Devi
Thalay Sagar
Kunyang Kish
Uli Biaho
Nameless Tower
Great Trango Tower
Shipton Spire
Cerro Kishtwar
Cerro Torre
Mount McKinnley
Mount St Elias
Mount Logan
Mount Foraker
Mount Hunnington
Mount Hunter
Moose’s Tooth
Mount Thor

I think a more interesting question would be what are the toughest Mountain faces and ridges…”

So, anyone else like to comment?

“The World’s Toughest and Most Challenging Mountains to Climb – the Himalayas” 

Europe’s Toughest and Most Challenging Mountains to Climb

South America’s Toughest and Most Challenging Mountains


2 Responses to “Some reflections on the best mountains to climb”

  1. ThatWasMeYepItWas
    2012 | 6 March at 00:09 #

    Hi that was my post you cited. Thanks. BTW about the Southwest face of
    Everest. There is only 1 person that I know of(joseph just) that has
    climbed the Southwest face of Eerest without Oxygen but he died on
    the descent.

    I’m actually working on a small project using ascent rates,fatality rates, routes per face, weather, technical/steepness, elevation gain
    & elevation to come up with a list of the most all around toughest
    faces, ridges, pillars, etc… Well best I can I should say since
    information could be better.

    Tough call. The north ridge of Latok has something like 25 attempts
    and still no ascents. The north face of latok is probably even more
    difficult than the north ridge of latok but has only I think 3 attempts so far.

    The south face of Lhotse has one confirmed ascent after
    something like 17 attempts but that was using(I think) an
    expedition style climbing with Oxygen(at the upper part of the
    climb although apparently they ran out of oxygen long before summiting). All ascents on the the north ridge have been by
    small teams(between 2-4 I think) with no oxygen.

    I wonder about the EastNorthEast face of Lhotse and the
    Northeast face of Lhotse Shar. I know of no attempts on either
    face other than a traverse across the upper portion
    EastNorthEast face of Lhotse on the way to summit Lhotse
    Middle during a Russian ascent of Lhotse middle in I think
    2001. I think one of the main reasons why anyone has not attempted
    these faces is the extreme avalanche potential as well as difficulty.

    In the same vein I’m still waiting for some attempts on the east
    face of kangchenjunga and the south face of the South summit of

    South face of Dhaulagiri would be up there.

    There are many more less known faces such as the Northeast face
    of Masherbrum that is supposed to be on the same level(or
    more difficult) than the North face Of Jannu.

    Then there is the Ogre again. The south pillar of course is notorious
    difficult but there is the Southeast pillar which no one has ascented
    Ogre by yet despite numerous attempts. Then the Ogre North face
    which might be the most difficult face on the Ogre.

    • lolajones
      2012 | 6 March at 16:02 #

      Thanks for yet some more interesting feedback. I’ve sent you an email and hope to hear from you again.

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