The world's 14 "eight-thousanders" -- mountains taller than 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) -- are all located in Asia. On one hand, they really beautify a horizon, but on the other they present a fierce, at times fatal, challenge to mountain climbers. Beauty can, indeed, be deadly. Here's the "baby" of the bunch, Shishapangma in Tibet, peaking at 8,027 meters (26,335 feet).
This is Gasherbrum II (we'll have another Gasherbrum coming up shortly), on the border of Pakistan and China. It's 8,035 meters up in the sky (26,361 feet) and is sometimes known as K4. These mountaineers are near the summit.
Ed Darack/Science Faction/Corbis
On the left side of this picture we see the sheer mass of Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain on the planet at 8,047 meters or 26,394 feet above sea level.
As promised, here's another Gasherbrum: Gasherbrum I. (Gasherbrum, translated from the Tibetan language Balti, means "beautiful mountain.") It also goes by the name of K5, lives along the China-Pakistan border and is 8,080 meters (26,444 ft) high.
The Himalayan mountain range Annapurna, in Nepal, is seen here from Pkhara, about 124 miles (200 kilometers) west of Kathmandu. Annapurna is considered one of the most dangerous for climbers; first crested in 1950, it has since been climbed by more than 100 people but taken 53 lives along the way.
This somewhat unsettling photo was taken in 1931 by mountaineers at a base camp on Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, the ninth-tallest eight-thousander at 8,126 meters (26,660 feet). The area captured in the picture is known as the Nanga Wall.
Association Chantal Mauduit Namaste/Corbis/Sygma
Eighth-tallest of the eight-thousanders is Nepal's Manaslu, at 8,163 meters (26,781 feet).
The Dhaulagiri mountain range in the Himalayas sports a rather volcanic look in this picture, with the sun brushing its top. But Nepal's 8,167-meter (26,795-foot) monster is of course quite chilly on top. Dhaulagiri's south face is considered by mountaineers to be a next-to-impossible climb, and no one has ever topped the mountain from that side.
Clouds hover over snow-covered Cho Oyu mountain in Tibet. The sixth-tallest mountain stands 8,201 meters tall (26,906 feet), and the "Mountain Goddess" (in Tibetan translation) is considered one of less-challenging climbs among the eight-thousanders (if you don't consider climbing ANY mountain a challenge, that is!).
Next in the eight-thousander club is Makalu, the fifth-highest mountain in the world, looming on the border between Nepal and China. It's 8,463 meters (27,766 feet) tall and is another tough climb, with 22 deaths tallied against its 206 successful climbs.
Pal Teravagimov Photography
Standing 8,516 meters tall (27,940 feet), Lhotse, fourth-tallest, rests on the border of Nepal and Tibet. It was first climbed in 1956.
Kangchenjunga, in Nepal, is the world's third-tallest mountain, edging Lhotse by just 71 meters, standing 8,587 meters tall (28,169 feet). It's a prominent mark on the horizon in Darjeeling, the tea-growing region.
K2, the second-tallest mountain on the planet, is 8,611 meters up in the clouds (28,251 feet) along the China-Pakistan border. Climbers know it for its incredibly difficult ascent routes; in 2008, an ice fall on the treacherous slopes took the lives of 11 climbers.
And now we reach the Big Daddy in the worldwide mountains club. That, of course, would be Mount Everest. Its name alone is synonymous with challenging feats, as climbing it continues to this day to be a dicey endeavor, though it draws people year after year to attempt the ascent. And what a climb: Mount Everest stands 8,848 meters tall (29,029 feet). It was famously crested for the first time in 1953 by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.
NEW DELHI: A 13-year-old poor Indian schoolgirl has become the youngest female to summit Mount Everest, following a difficult and dangerous climb from China’s Tibetan side, her expedition organizer said Monday.
Malavath Poorna, the daughter of a tribal farm laborer, reached the top of the world’s highest peak on Sunday after climbing from the Tibetan side of the mountain, said Mohammed Ansari, technical coordinator for her team.
Poorna and 16-year-old friend S. Anand Kumar, a member of India’s lowest Dalit caste previously known as “untouchables,” climbed the mountain with ten Nepalese guides, before hoisting the Indian flag, he said.
“Poorna and Kumar ascended Everest from... the Tibetan side early Sunday morning. They have started their descent and will reach north basecamp in Tibet on Tuesday,” Ansari said from India.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said three foreigners “successfully climbed onto the top of the world” over the weekend, citing Zhang Mingxing, head of Tibet’s alpinism administration center.
Zhang did not confirm whether the Indian teenagers were among the three foreigners and Nepalese officials had no details of the climb.
The climb was made possible after the teenage girl, whose father from an indigenous tribe earns just 35,000 rupees ($600) a year, was sponsored by a government-run social welfare organization in southern India.
“She was strong and determined to climb Everest. We are very proud,” Ansari said. “She wanted to take the risk. She said that her community will gain recognition if they succeed,” he said.
The pair also won applause from India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, who tweeted: “Was very happy to read this. Congrats to our youngsters. They make us truly proud.”
Most climbers attempt the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) peak from the Nepalese side — the easiest and most popular route — but authorities in Katmandu do not grant climbing licences for Everest to anyone under 16.
Mingma Sherpa, a Nepalese guide who has summited all 14 of the world’s peaks over 8,000 meters, called Poorna’s ascent a rare accomplishment.
“It is an achievement for someone so young to scale Everest. It is not easy to achieve such a record,” Sherpa told AFP.
In 2010, 13-year-old American Jordan Romero claimed to have set the record for being the youngest climber to summit Everest, also making the ascent from Tibet.
His feat provoked criticism from the mountaineering community, who questioned whether he was mature enough to make the decision to climb.
Prior to Poorna’s climb, Nepal’s Nima Chemji Sherpa claimed to be the youngest woman to summit the mountain at the age of 16 in 2012.
The climb comes just over a month after an avalanche killed 16 Nepalese guides in the deadliest ever accident on Everest, prompting an effective shutdown of the peak from the Nepalese side.
More than 300 people, mostly local guides, have died on the peak since the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.