Top 10 Highest Mountains in Nepal

Top 10 Highest Mountains in Nepal

By Balaram Thapa updated on in Peaks

Mother Nature has blessed Nepal with several amazing world’s highest mountain peaks. With these majestic peaks, Nepal is abundantly rich in lakes, rivers, and cultural magnificence. Among the 16 highest mountains in the world, the 10 highest peaks lie in Nepal. These tremendous mountain peaks lie in different parts of the country, savoring diverse terrain and cultural significance. And it is for these mountains, people across the world visit Nepal. We have compiled an overview of the top 10 highest mountains in Nepal. The summary contains information regarding geographical terrain and brief climbing history.

Mt. Everest (8848.86m) – World’s highest peak

Mountain in Nepal: Everest

Location: Mahalangur Himalayan Range in Khumbu region

First summiteers: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa

Mt. Everest is a part of the Mahalangur Himalayan range and is located in Sagarmatha National Park. Sitting at the height of 8848.86 meters, the mountain shares two countries – Nepal and Tibet. As with its terrain, the mountain also got its own local name. The mountain is known in Nepal as Sagarmatha and in Tibet as Chomolungma. The name Everest was given in honor of British Surveyor Sir George Everest.

Another exciting fact most are not aware of is that Everest is estimated to be 60 years older and extends into the upper troposphere. The mountain also pierces the stratosphere, opening it to the freezing jet stream waves, which travel at a speed of 93.3 kilometers per hour.

Moreover, taking physical attributes of the region such as Kala Patthar, Gokyo RI, Gokyo Lakes, and charming towns like Namche, Phakding, and Tengboche into consideration, trekking to Everest Base Camp makes it undoubtedly favorite trekking destination.

Brief Climbing History of Mt. Everest

Before the mountain was successfully submitted by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953, there were several initial attempts. The first expedition to Everest happened in 1921 from the Tibetan side because Nepal was still closed off to foreigners. However, the attempt was unsuccessful.

Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters) – The Five Treasure of the snow

Kanchenjunag

Location: Taplejung District. Part of the Northern Kanchenjunga Himalayan range

First summiteers: Gorge Band and Joe Brown

3rd to the world, but 2nd in Nepal and 1st in India- Kanchenjunga stands tall at 8586 meters and shares the territory with Sikkim, India, and Nepal. Interestingly, Kanchenjunga holds all three ranks individually. Another fantastic fact about Kanchenjunga is that it was the highest mountain until 1849. So in a way, it has legitimately been the world’s tallest mountain.

The mountain lies in the Taplejung district of Nepal, where people of the Rai, Limbu, and Gurung communities reside. Kanchenjunga, which consists of five prominent peaks, is also known as the five treasures of the snow by locals in the region. Kanchenjunga is one of the sacred mountains in Nepal, and locals consider the mountain to be the abode of gods. For the locals of Sikkim, the mountain is itself an avatar of God; thus, they hold high religious values towards the hill.

Composed of rocks of Neoproterozoic to Ordovician age, the peak interconnects five individual summits. The mountain and its glacier receive heavy snow during the summer season and lighter snowfall during the winter. Each summit is connected by ridges from where several major glaciers flow. These glaciers are Zemu (northeast), Talung (Southeast), Yalung (southwest), and the Kanchenjunga (northwest).

Brief Climbing History of Kanchenjunga

The peak, which is just slightly smaller than Mount Everest and K2, was first climbed in 1955 by Joe Brown and George, with Charles Evans as their trek leader from Nepal’s side. Moreover, since mountains hold such high regard to locals of Sikkim, mountaineers respecting the local’s beliefs and values toward mountains have never climbed all the way to the top. First ascenders of Kanchenjunga Joe Brown and George Band started the tradition, and ever since then, every climber has followed them.

The myth surrounding mountain Kanchenjunga

As per the legends, the mountain is the abode of the omnipotent Goddess Yuma Sammang by the local Limbu people of Nepal. Additionally, the mountain is also home to the deity Dzo-nga – a yeti. Likewise, locals around the mountain believe that there is a valley of immortality hidden among its slopes. In Tibetan, this valley is named Beyul Demoshong.

Lhotse – The wall of mountains

Lhoste: Top mountains

Height: 8,516 meters

Location: Mahalangur Himalayan range and the Everest massif of Khumbu region

First summiteers: Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger

3rd highest mountain in Nepal and 4th highest globally, Lhotse is a part of Everest Massif. Lhotse stands tall at the height of 8516 meters and is a popular alternative to Mount Everest and the same route as Everest. Lhotse is a Tibetan name, and it means South peak.

The mountain shares the territory with Tibet. Lhotse and Everest are connected by the South Col, a vertical ridge that never drops below 8000 meters. Lhotse is 610 meters (2000 feet) above the lowest point on the south col- just enough to be considered an independent mountain. If Lhoste’s topographic prominence were less than 500 meters, it would be viewed as a subsidiary peak of Everest. But, still, climbers often clump the two together. Lhotse is sometimes called Everest’s South peak.

Brief climbing history of Lhotse

In 1956, a Swiss team led by Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger made the first ascent of Lhotse. They took a path up Lhose’s west face from the South Col. After that, many attempts of climbing Lhotse from different routes of the peak were undertaken.

Mount Makalu-The Himalayan Pyramid

Mount Makalu

Elevation: 8,485 meters

Location: Makalu Mahalangur Himalayan range in Khumbu region

First summiteers: Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy

The fifth tallest mountain globally, Makalu is a pyramid-shaped mountain in Nepal standing tall at 8481 meters. It is about 20 kilometers away from the southeast face of Mount Everest. The classic pyramid formation of Makalu is the product of bowl-shaped cirque glaciers on all sides grinding away at the summit. Erosion has left a series of thin ridges known as arêtes that converge at the summit and form an X shape from the top.

Makalu means “Great Black” in Tibetan, referring to the mountain’s summit’s often exposed granite. The Sanskrit word “Maha Kala” was used to give it its name. Shiva, the Hindu God, is the mountain’s name. In the local dialect, the mountain is known as ‘Kumba Karna,’ which means ‘the giant,’ and is named after Ravana’s mythical giant brother from the Hindu epic Ramayana.

The powerful winds that often whip through the isolated peak and scour the snow away are well-known. The Kangchungtse and the Chomo Lonzo are two of the mountain’s subsidiary peaks. Chomo Lonzo, two miles northwest of Makalu’s prominent peak, towers over Tibet’s Kangshung valley.

Brief Climbing History of Mt. Makalu

Makalu is one of the most challenging peaks to climb. In 1954, an American team was unsuccessful by the southeast route. In the same year, Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mount Everest, led a New Zealand team to Makalu. But he, too, was unsuccessful. Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy, both members of a French expedition, were the first to summit the mountain on May 15, 1955. They spent their summer climbing up the north face. Nine members of the squad also were able to make it to the top, which was an unusual accomplishment.

Mount Cho Oyu- The Turquoise Goddess

Mount Cho Oyu

Elevation: 8,188 meters (26,864 Ft.)

Location: Mahalangur Himalayan Range in Khumbu region

First summiteers: Pasang Dawa Lama, Herbert Tichy and Joseph Jöchler.

Cho Oyu, which means “Goddess of Turquoise” in Tibetan, is the world’s sixth tallest mountain and the fifth highest mountain in Nepal. The giant peak is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Mount Everest, on the border of Tibet and Nepal. Mount Cho Oyu is located in the Mahalangur Himalayan range’s westernmost portion. The mountain also forms part of the glaciated High Pass, used mainly by Tibetan and Nepali merchants for trading. On the pass, long caravans of yaks and mules can be seen all year.

Brief Climbing History of Cho Oyu

Most climbers view Cho Oyu as the safe eight-thousanders peak to summit because its northwestern route is gently steep. This face has few technically tricky areas, and the likelihood of an avalanche is low. Joseph Jöchler, Herbert Tichy, and Pasang Dawa Lama Sherpa led an Austrian team that reached the summit via the northwestern face in 1954.

Dhaulagiri I-The Shining White Mountain

Dhaulagiri: 7th heigest mountains in Nepal

Height: 8,167 meters

Location: Dhaulagiri Himalayan range in Annapurna region

First summiteers: Kurt Diemberger, A. Schelbert, E. Forrer, Nawang Dorje, and Nyima Dorje

Dhaulagiri I is the world’s seventh-highest mountain and Nepal’s sixth highest peak. It’s part of the Dhaulagiri massif, which stretches from the Kali Gandaki River to Bheri. The mountain’s name is a combination of two Sanskrit words: “Dhwala,” which means “dazzling, white, and majestic,” and “Giri,” which means “peak.” Dhaulagiri I is also the highest point in the Gandaki River, and between these two ranges, Annapurna I lies 35 kilometers east of Dhaulagiri I, forming the world’s deepest gorge, the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Mount Dhaulagiri offers an off-the-beaten-path trekking experience since few trekkers visit the region.

Dhaulagiri is also responsible for the rain-shadow areas that surround the peak, such as Mustang and Dolpo. The Dhaulagiri massif blocks rain clouds, resulting in dry and arid conditions in Mustang, with corroded hills and desert-like terrain. Unlike many other mountains that share land on Nepal’s borders with neighboring countries, Mount Dhaulagiri is entirely within Nepal.

Brief Climbing History of Dhaulagiri Himal

Following the northeastern slope up the mountain’s north face, a multinational party of Austrian, German, Nepalese, and Swiss climbers reached the summit in 1960. Thus, the first ascenders of Dhaulagiri I are Peter Diener, Ernst Forrer, Albin Schelbert, Nyima Dorje Sherpa, Nawang Dorje Sherpa. The first attempt at the summit of Dhaulagiri I was made by Maurice Herzog from the french expedition team. The attempt was unsuccessful as they didn’t find a feasible route to the top and switched to Annapurna.

Mount Manaslu-The Mountain of Spirits

Mount Manaslu

Height: 8,163 meters

Location: Gorkha, Part of the Mansiri Himalayan range

First ascenders: Artur Hajzer, Gyalzen Norbu and Toshio Imanishi

Manaslu, the eighth tallest peak globally, sits about 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Annapurna in Nepal. It stands tall at the height of 8156 meters. The summit is a steep, sharp rock tower that can only hold a few people at a time, despite three long ridges leading up the peak. It is a part of the Mansiri Himalayan massif in the west-central part of Nepal. Tibetans refer to Manaslu as “Kutang,” which means “mountain of spirits.”  The name Manaslu came from the two Sanskrit words: “manasa,” which means “intellect” or “soul.”

The long ridges and valley glaciers of Manaslu have practical access from all directions. The ridges also meet at the top, which rises dramatically above the surrounding terrain. As seen from afar, this is also a prominent characteristic of Mount Manaslu. After 1991, the Nepalese government has only allowed trekking in the Manaslu area. Since the Japanese made the first ascent of Manaslu, the mountain is very dear to the Japanese climbers. Thus, the Japanese consider Mt. Manaslu their peak.

Brief Climbing History of Mt. Manaslu

A handful of attempts were made before the mountain was successfully climbed by Toshio Imanishi, Artur Hajzer, and Gyalzen Norbu from the northern route in 1956. After this, there have been several successful attempts from different paths. On October 15, 2020, Bahrain Prince Mohamed Hamad Mohamed Al Khalifa successfully climbed the peak with 13 members of his expedition team and 43 Sherpa climbers.

Annapurna I-The Goddess of the Harvest

Annapurna I

Elevation: 8,091 meters

Location: Part of Annapurna massif in Annapurna region.

First summiteers: Maurice Herzog, Louis Lachenal, Lionel Terray

While Annapurna is only the tenth highest of the eight-thousanders, it is one of the most dangerous. It stands tall at the height of 8091 meters and lies in north-central Nepal. The massif includes one peak over 8000 meters height and thirteen peaks over 7000 meters with sixteen peaks over 6000 meters. The mountain is situated on a 55-kilometer (34-mile) plateau just east of the Gandaki River, forms one of the world’s deepest river gorges. The gorge separates Annapurna from Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh-highest peak.

The name Annapurna came from Sanskrit, and it means “Full of Food.” As per the myth, the mountain has connections with the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity and wealth. The mountain is part of the Annapurna Conservation Area and is well-known for circumambulating treks. Limestone rocks make up Annapurna’s summit formed at the bottom of a warm ocean—reflect the tectonic forces that pushed up the world’s tallest mountains. Everest and Dhaulagiri are two other eight-thousanders of limestone above their summits.

Brief Climbing History of Annapurna I

Annapurna I was the first peak over 8000 meters that saw the fate of success in its first attempt. However, the result did entail lots of drama. Maurice Herzog and Louis Lanchenal led the expedition team in 1950.

It was an achievement for Herzog and Lanchenal for which they had to pay a great price. On their return, the expedition’s doctor had to amputate all of Herzog and Lachenal’s toes after severe frostbite, and then gangrene set in during the descent because they were still wearing lightweight, leather boots up to the summit. Herzog also missed all of his fingers, prompting Lachenal to ask if all that was worth it.

Gyachung Kang

Gyachung Kang: Top mountains of Nepal

Elevation: 7,952 meters

Location: Khumbu. Part of the Mahalangur Himalayan range

First ascenders: Pasang Phutar Sherpa, Yukihiko Kato, and Kiyoto Sakaizawa

Lying between two giant massifs: Cho Oyu and Mount Everest is Gyachung Kang in the Mahalangur Himal part of the Himalaya. Gyachung Kang, with a height of 7957 meters, is located on the Nepal-China frontier. It is the world’s fifteenth-highest mountain and the highest peak that is not over 8,000 meters tall; thus, it is much less well-known than the lowest of the eight-thousanders, which are just around 100 meters (328 feet) higher. The lack of visibility (700 m) of the peak also adds to its relative anonymity.

Gyachung Kang is the highest mountain between Cho Oyu and Everest. The snowy twin peaks and rocky outcropping towers above the rest of the landscape. A very narrow saddle also separates the twin peaks of the mountains. Gyachung Kang’s deeply glaciated summit is breathtaking, and the mountain resembles a velvety baldachin that conceals mysteries underneath it.

Brief Climbing History of Gyachung Kang

Yukihiki Kato, Kiyoto Sakaizawa, and Pasang Phutar, all members of a Japanese expedition party, were the first to summit the mountain on April 10, 1964.

Annapurna II

Annapurna II

Picture By: Michael A. Stecker

Elevation: 7,937 meters

Location: Part of Annapurna massif in Annapurna region.

First summiteers: Chris Bonington, J. O. M. Roberts, Richard Grant, and Sherpa Ang Nyima

Annapurna II is the eastern anchor and is part of the Annapurna mountain range. Annapurna II is the second tallest peak in the Annapurna region, standing at 7,937 meters. The glorious view of Annapurna II is visible from the lakeside city of Pokhara as well. There have been significantly not many campaigns and expeditions of the Annapurna II, primarily because of the mountain’s precarious and hazardous plummet.

Annapurna II is not far behind Annapurna I Main, which acts as the western anchor in height and isolation (distance to a higher summit, namely Annapurna I East Peak, 29.02 km or 18.03 mi), and prominence (2,437 m or 7,995 ft). Despite its near proximity to Annapurna I Main, it is an entirely separate mountain, as its name suggests. Annapurna II is the world’s 16th highest peak.

Brief Climbing History of Annapurna II

British/Indian/Nepalese team headed by J. O. M. Roberts successfully climbed the mountain in 1960. Richard Grant, Chris Bonington, and Sherpa Ang Nyima made up the summit team.

Final Words

These are some of the prominent peaks in the world that lies in Nepal. All these mountains have seen fateful events and stories of success. Similarly, these mountains have helped in thriving Nepal’s elegancy in the global eyes. Since mountaineering is not something everyone can dwell on to be close to these giant cliffs, another serene way to discover its magnificence is through trekking adventures. Thus anyone who looks forward to tasting the spectacle of the exceptionally breathtaking mountains should try trekking activities.

About Author

Balaram Thapa

Balaram Thapa, an executive director at Nepal Hiking Team had a long journey before making NHT one of the revolutionary tour operators in this competitive field of Tourism. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Tribhuwan University in the year 2000.


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