1.Everest 8.848 m | China/Nepal
2.K2 8.611 m | China/Pakistan
3.Kanchenjunga 8.586 m | India/Nepal
4.Lhotse 8.516 m | China/Nepal
5.Makalu 8.463 m | China/Nepal
6.Cho Oyu 8.201 m | China/Nepal
7.Dhaulagiri 8.167 m | Nepal
8.Manaslu 8.163 m | Nepal
9.Nanga Parbat 8.125 m | Pakistan
10.Annapurna 8.091 m | Nepal
11.Gasherbrum I 8.068 m | China/Pakistan
12.Broad Peak 8.047 m | China/Pakistan
13.Gasherbrum II 8.035 m | China/Pakistan
14.Shisha Pangma 8.027 m | China
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Elevation: 28,253 feet (8,612 meters)
K2, located on the Pakistan-Chinese border, is the 2nd highest mountain in the world; Pakistan's highest mountain; and the world's 22nd most prominent mountain.
The name K2 was given in 1852 by British surveyor T.G. Montgomerie with "K" designating the Karakoram Range and "2" since it was the 2nd peak listed. During his survey, Montgomerie, standing on Mt. Haramukh 125 miles to the south, noted two prominent peaks to the north, calling them K1 and K2. While he kept native names, he found that K2 did not have a known name. Later the peak was named Mount Godwin-Austen for an early explorer but it was never recognized.
A name for K2 is Chogori, derived from Balti words chhogo ri, meaning "large mountain." The Chinese call the mountain Qogir meaning "Great Mountain," while Balti locals call it Kechu.
K2 is nicknamed the "Savage Mountain" for its severe weather. It is typically climbed in June, July, or August. K2 has never been climbed in winter.
British climbers Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), an occultist and hedonist, and Oscar Eckenstein (1859-1921) led an expedition of six climbers that made the first attempt to climb K2, from March to June, 1902. The party spent 68 days on the mountain, with only 8 clear days, attempting the northeast ridge. Spending two months at high altitude, the party made 5 summit attempts. The last one began on June 8 but 8 days of bad weather defeated them and they retreated after a high point of 21,407 feet (6,525 meters). Scraps of expedition clothing were later found below K2 and are displayed at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, Colorado.
Italian climber Prince Luigi Amedeo (1873-1933), the Duke of Abruzzi, led an expedition to K2 in 1909. His party attempted the southeast ridge, the Abruzzi Spur, reaching an elevation of 20,505 feet (6,250 meters) before deciding that the climb was too difficult. The ridge is now the usual way that most climbers ascend K2. Before departing, the Duke said that the mountain would never be climbed.
Fritz Wiessner, a great German climber transplanted to the US, led a 1939 American expedition that set a new world altitude record by reaching 27,500 feet on the Abruzzi Spur. The party was 656 feet from the summit before turning around. Four team members were killed.
One of the most famous events in American climbing history occurred during a 1953 expedition led by Charles Houston. A 10-day storm trapped the team at 25,592 feet. Abandoning a summit attempt, the climbers attempted to save 27-year-old Art Gilkey, who had developed altitude sickness, by descending to a lower altitude. At one point during their desperate descent, Pete Schoening saved five falling climbers by arresting their fall with the rope and his ice axe plunged behind a boulder. The axe is displayed at the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, Colorado.
The peak's 2nd ascent came on August 9, 1977, 23 years after K2's first ascent, by a Japanese team led by Ichiro Yoshizawa. The team also included Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani climber to summit K2.
The first American ascent was in 1978. A strong team led by James Whittaker ascended a new route up the peak's Northeast Ridge.
K2 is one of the most difficult 8,000ers with technical climbing, severe weather conditions, and high avalanche danger. As of early 2009, totally 305 climbers have reached K2'summit.
1986 was a tragic year on K2 with 13 climbers dying. Five climbers died in a severe storm between August 6 and August 10. Eight other climbers died in the preceding 6 weeks. Deaths were by avalanche, falling, and rockfall. The climbers killed by the storm were part of a group cobbled together from several failed expeditions. Three of the climbers reached the top on August 4. During the descent they met up with 4 other climbers and stayed at 26,000 feet where they were trapped in a storm. Five climbers died while only two survived.
As of 2009, 11 women have summitted K2, but four died on the descent.
In August 2008, 11 climbers died on the upper slopes of K2 after an avalanche caused by a fallen ice serac either killed them outright or isolated them above The Bottleneck, a steep ice couloir.
The fatality rate on K2 is 27%.
That is three times the 9% fatality rate on Mt Everest.
K2 is, next to Annapurna, the second most dangerous 8,000-meter peak.
The only Scandinavian who has summited K2 is Veikka Gustafsson.
Until now, i mean.