Mountain climbers around the world are constantly looking for new challenges and more difficult peaks to summit. Mount Everest is one of the most famous mountain peaks because it is both the highest and extremely challenging to climb. It is not, however, the most difficult mountain to summit and over 6,000 people have successfully reached the top. The most difficult designation goes to Mount K2, the second tallest mountain, which has had only over 300 people reach its summit. K2 is sometimes referred to as Savage Mountain because of the significant number of climber fatalities that have occurred there. In fact, K2 has the second highest fatality rate of any mountain in the world. This article highlights why K2 is one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.
Shape of the Mountain
The shape of K2 is one of the principal features that makes it the most dangerous mountain in the world for climbers. The mountain has an almost A-like shape, which means it has steep sides that continue climbing all the way to the peak. This shape means the mountain has no flat or leveled off sections along the way where climbers can take a break. These steep triangle sides require considerably more energy from climbers, a feature that may increase the risk of falls, slips, and other injuries.
The climbing routes on K2 are also particularly precarious. To begin, climbers must first make it over a glacier before even reaching the base camp location, which increases the risk of injury. On other climbs, such as Mount Everest, the climb to base camp is not covered in ice. Additionally, more developed climbing routes have rest houses along the way where climbers can spend the night. However, K2 does not have these structures and climbers must also pack tents with them, which adds extra weight to the trip.
Climbing experts also identify the actual climbing routes on K2 as far more technical than those found on other mountains. One of the reasons for this more technical characteristic is that its trails are made up of a number of materials, ranging from mixed rock to solid ice, that often change unexpectedly. Additionally, the climbing routes may consist of high rock pinnacles that are interrupted by other types of terrain. These continuous terrain changes require climbers to change their climbing techniques in the middle of their route. Since fewer people climb K2 in any given year, the routes are also less developed and may be harder to identify.
The weather conditions on K2 also contribute to its classification as one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. The weather on the mountain can change suddenly, and unexpected storms can leave climbers vulnerable and exposed to potentially deadly weather conditions, like extremely low temperatures, large amounts of rapid snowfall, and even avalanches. In fact, the weather conditions of K2 are so extreme that no climber has ever successfully reached the top during the winter season.