What Are the World's Highest Mountains, After Everest?

By: Alia Hoyt  | 
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. John Harper/Getty Images

There are over 1 million mountains in the world. Some of these feel absolutely enormous until you compare them to other super-sized peaks. Just 14 mountains in the world stand over 26,247 feet or 8,000 meters. Every one of them is found in the Karakoram or Himalayan mountainous regions of south and central Asia.

This begs the question, of all these mountains out there, which seven are the tallest? For the purpose of this list, mountain height will be considered starting at sea level. Here are the top seven on the prestigious list of "8000ers."


7. Dhaulagiri I

Found in the Himalayan mountain range in the west-central part of Nepal, Dhaulagiri I stands 26,795 feet (8,167 meters) tall. It is aptly named, as Dhaulagiri is a Sanskrit word, meaning "white mountain." This particular peak isn't climbed as often as some others, in large part because it's in a less accessible area. Nonetheless, it remains a popular choice for extreme climbing enthusiasts and takes between four and six weeks to traverse from start to finish, depending on the expedition.


6. Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu
A dramatic view of the Cho Oyu peak with the frozen Gokyo lake in winter. Didier Marti/Getty Images

Of all the peaks over 8,000 meters, Cho Oyu is the safest, with a "summit to death rate" of only 1.35 percent, according to travel site Mountain IQ. Cho Oyu reaches 26,906 feet (8,201 meters) in height and is found in both Nepal and China, near Mount Everest. Climbing this behemoth involves steep snow and ice slopes and difficult rock grades, but doesn't require as many technical skills as some other 8,000+ mountains. Cho Oyu's Tibetan name translates to "turquoise goddess," and it's considered by many experts to be a great training ground for those who hope to ascend Mount Everest in the future.


5. Makalu

Mount Makalu
Mount Makalu is known for its pyramid-like shape and double peak. Emad aljumah/Getty Images

Only 14 miles (23 kilometers) east of Mount Everest is Makalu, which towers above almost everything else at 27,765 feet (8,463 meters). Located in Nepal and China, Makalu has been successfully summited by just over 200 climbers, with at least 22 fatalities to its credit. It's known for its pyramid-like shape, double peak and four daunting ridges. Makalu's name comes from the Sanskrit word Maha Kala meaning "Big Black," one of the names for the Hindu god Shiva.


4. Lhotse

Still over in Nepal and China (noticing a trend here?) is the peak of Lhotse, which maxes out at 27,940 feet (8,516 meters). Often called "the other Everest," Lhotse is situated right next to the legendary behemoth, and often Everest climbers will spend some time at Lhotse in an effort to get used to the conditions. For many years, the Lhotse Middle ridge was the highest unclimbed named point on Earth but a Russian team finally summited it in 2001.


3. Kangchenjunga

India's lone contribution to the list is the massive mountain of Kangchenjunga, which is also found in part of eastern Nepal. At 28,169 feet (8,586 meters) above sea level, this Himalayan beauty is known as the queen of the mountains and is sacred to the people of Darjeeling and Sikkim who live near it. The name Kangchenjunga (sometimes spelled Kanchenjunga) comes from a Tibetan phrase meaning "the five treasures of the high snow."

With five peaks total, this remote mountain is the only one on our list to have four peaks over 8,000 meters, as well as five glaciers. However, its most dubious distinction is that its death rate (as a share of all expeditions on mountains over 8,000 meters) is around 29.1 percent, according to the World Economic Forum. This is the highest rate for mountains on our list.


2. Godwin Austen (K2)

K2 Summiters
Nepal's climbers pose for a photograph with Pakistani officials while attending a welcome ceremony after becoming the first to summit Pakistan's K2 in winter. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

K2, as this peak is commonly known, is found in both Pakistan and China, and reaches an impressive height above sea level of 28,251 feet (8,611 meters). It sits atop the Godwin Austen Glacier and was dubbed K2 because it's on the Karakoram range and was the second peak measured. (English geographer Godwin Austen was the peak's first surveyor.) This mountain is the only one on our list not found in the Himalayan range.

Mountaineers consider K2 the most dangerous to climb, as traversing the steep passages and slick glacier requires a lot of technical know-how. K2 climbers must also deal with severe storms and the threat of avalanches, making it even more treacherous. The "summit to death" ratio is around 23 percent, the highest ratio on our list. In 2021, a team of Nepali climbers became the first to summit K2 in winter, a feat previously considered impossible.


1. Mount Everest

climbers on everest
A long line of mountaineers climbs a slope during their ascent to Mount Everest in Nepal. LAKPA SHERPA/AFP via Getty Images

No surprise here: Mount Everest (located in both Tibet and Nepal) is the highest mountain in the world at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters). Everest was named after British surveyor general of India George Everest, though the Tibetan name for the mountain is Chomolungma, meaning "mother goddess of the world" and the Nepali name is Sagarmatha which has a variety of meanings.

To climb Mount Everest from base camp to the summit takes two to three days, after a three- to six-week period of acclimatization. It's not the hardest mountain in the world to climb, but it's definitely in the top 10, making it ideal for experienced climbers only. Although Everest has the most fatalities in terms of sheer numbers, its actual "summit to death" ratio is a low 3.29 percent. Fatalities on the mountain are usually caused by acute mountain sickness, usually above the 8,000-meter level where oxygen is in short supply. Congestion from too many climbers, an abundance of garbage and global warming have all increased the danger in climbing this famed peak.