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No Mountain Too High

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Did you know that the top 100 tallest mountains in the world are all towering over Asia? We feature five of them, all of which loom 8,000m or more above sea level, in descending order.

Geologists classify a mountain as a landform that rises at least 300m or more above its surrounding area. These mighty masses usually have steep, sloping sides and sharp or rounded ridges, and a high point known as a peak or summit.

Mountaineers, however, may beg to differ, averring that mountains have one summit but can have several peaks. Their argument is that the summit of a mountain is the highest land area that can be reached by a climber, while a peak is any high point that may form anywhere around the mountain.

Whether they are seeking to conquer the summit or a peak, humans have long been awed and fascinated by mountains. Every year, countless climbers test their personal boundaries by attempting to ascend seemingly unscalable peaks, drawn by their wish to overcome their fears as well as connect with nature. Many of these mountains, interestingly, are located in Asia.

MOUNT EVEREST Mount Everest is acknowledged as the highest summit in the world, with an elevation of 8,848m above sea level. For climbers, it’s the jewel in the crown. Located in the Himalayas, in the Nepal/Tibet autonomous region, it was first successfully ascended by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. The Everest Base Camp is a vital stop for those seeking to reach the Everest summit, but trekking to the camp itself is also a hugely popular endeavour. It has, in fact, become one of the world’s most famous multi-day treks.

K2With a height of 8,611m, K2 was discovered in 1856 by Colonel T G Montgomerie, of the Survey of India. Located on the border of Pakistan and China, it was given the name K2 as it was the second peak measured on the Karakorum range. K2 has been nicknamed Savage Mountain as it is prone to frequent and severe storms that make the treacherous climbing conditions on its slopes even more challenging. After several unsuccessful attempts, the mountain was finally summited on 31 July 31 1954 by Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli.

KANCHENJUNGAKanchenjunga has an elevation of 8,586m. It is situated in the eastern Himalayas, on the border between Sikkim, in northeastern India, and eastern Nepal. Part of the Great Himalaya range, the Kanchenjunga massif is in the form of a giant cross, the arms of which extend north, south, east and west. Its name is of Tibetan origins, and is interpreted in Sikkim as the Five Treasuries of the Great Snow. The mountain holds a special place in the mythology and religious ritual of the local inhabitants. A 1955 British expedition stopped within a few metres short of the summit in deference to the religious beliefs and wishes of the Sikkimese.

LLHOTSESituated in the Nepal/Tibet autonomous region south of Mount Everest, Llhotse’s summit stands at 8,516m. The route up Llhotse follows the Mount Everest climbing path from Everest Base Camp almost all the way until Everest’s Geneva Spur, from where it veers off to a steep climb through a massive ice gully to the summit . A pair of Swiss climbers — Fritz Luchsinger and Ernest Reiss — made the first successful ascent in 1956.

MAKALUStanding at 8,485m, Makalu is on the Nepal-Tibet border. It lies 23km from Mount Everest in the picturesque Makalu Baron National Park, and is notorious for its steep pitches and knife-edged ridges. Attempts to ascend its glacier-covered sides did not begin until 1954.

In May 1955, a French expedition, led by Jean Franco, reached the summit. That ascent was notable for the fact that all 10 team members summited the mountain, which was unusual for expeditions during that time.

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