Fourteen high-altitude mountains are over 8000 meters in the world. These mountains are called 8000er. Many mountaineers have dreamed of conquering all fourteen peaks, but it is not easy. The last time someone climbed all the peaks above 8000 meters was Nirmal Purja (Nims Dai) and his team. He and his team climbed all fourteen peaks in just seven months and set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records.
While many climbers look to attempt the 8000 meters peaks in the world, they must know one thing climbing these highest peaks will be more challenging than any others. The high altitude, extreme climate and weather conditions, altitude sickness, and other relevant obstacles pose risks to the journey. But out of 14 peaks over 8000 meters, which peak is the easiest one, and which peak is for beginners?
Which 8000 meters peak is best for beginners? This might be the question in the climber’s mind throughout time. The altitude, elevation, routes, and landscapes influence the ease of climbing mountains. Considering such aspects, we can choose which is for beginners and which is for professionals. We have drafted some peaks over 8000 meters that beginners can climb, too, as they do not pose many risks and dangers. Let’s explore it in detail!
Cho Oyu [8201 Meters]
Cho Oyu, standing at 8,201 meters above sea level, is the 6th tallest peak in the world. Despite its towering height of over 8000 meters, it is called the easiest 8000er mountain. So, without a doubt, it is the first 8000 meters peak that is best for beginners. But what are the factors that make this mighty peak easier to climb?
Where is Cho Oyu Located?
Cho Oyu is located 20km away from Mt.Everest, and it is situated in the westernmost major peak of the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya. It sits on the border of Nepal and Tibet in Province No.1 of Nepal. It is called the ‘Turquoise Goddess’ in the Tibetan language.
It was the Joint Himalayan Committee of Great Britain that first attempted to climb Cho Oyu in 1952. The campaign was launched as the parade for the upcoming Everest Expedition by Eric Shipton and included Edmund Hillary, Tom Bourdillon, and George Lowe. However, they did not reach the top of the mountain. A year later, Herbert Tichy, Joseph Jöchler, and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama of an Austrian expedition successfully climbed the peak, making history in the mountaineering industry.
Cho Oyu Climbing Routes
Cho Oyu is not considered the easiest 8000er mountain for no reason. It has a flat plateau-like summit that features easier slopes with less technical demands. But do all the routes feature the same characteristics? Mount Cho Oyu has two climbing routes to its top – the Northwest and Northeast routes. If you compare these two climbing routes, the Northwest route is safer and easier than the Northeast one. However, this is lengthy and can consume more time than conquering Mount Cho Oyu. If you opt for the Northeast route to climb the peak, it is the shortcut way but it comes with several technical challenges. So be prepared for the technical climb.
Difficulty Level of Cho Oyu
The difficulty level of Cho Oyu is moderate – this means climbing Cho Oyu needs technical climbing skill sets. It has the rock climbing grade up to 5-9+/- to 5.10 a,b,c, which means that climbers need to have basic mountaineering skills like using axes, crampons, and climbing ropes. Though there are no tough technical cliffs on Cho Oyu, it might still be challenging for beginners.
With less difficulty level, climbing Cho Oyu is often marketed as trekking. Some climbers take Cho Oyu Expedition as the stepping stone for Everest Expedition. As climbers practice mountaineering on easier peaks such as Cho Oyu, they finally prepare for Mount Everest. In addition, Cho Oyu is also the second most-climbed 8000-meter peak in the world after Mount Everest. The fact is that climbers can reach the base camp of this peak via jeep, which is quite energy and time-saving.
Lowest Death-Summit Ratio
Reports show that only one climber dies out of 100 climbers in Cho Oyu. It is far lower than the fatality rate of Mount K2 of Pakistan and Annapurna of Nepal. To this date, around 200 people have already lost their lives while attempting to scale this mountain. This still means that mountaineers should buckle up with their preparations like physical, mental, gear, and safety measures.
Manaslu [8163 Meters]
Manaslu is another easiest 8000er peak in the world, which can be considered good for beginners. It is the eighth-highest mountain in the world, but no matter its height, it is still one of the easiest peaks to climb. Being above 8000 meters above sea level, Manaslu poses several obstacles, such as crevasses, high altitude, and freezing temperatures. But if you compare it to the dangerous peaks like Annapurna and K2, they come to nothing around in comparison. Learn more about Mount Manaslu and its difficulty level below!
Where is Manaslu Located?
The eighth tallest peak in the world, Mount Manaslu, is located in the east of the Annapurna region in Nepal. It sits in the Mansiri Mountain Range in the Himalayas in Gorkha, Nepal. Nicknamed ‘The Mountain of Spirits,” Mount Manaslu is one of Nepal’s highest-climbed mountains after Everest and Cho Oyu.
Below the mountain is a Manaslu Conservation Area, a protected area to conserve wild flora and fauna. Climbers must go hiking through the Manaslu region to reach Manaslu Base Camp. Then, the real expedition begins from the base camp. Remember, acclimatization is very crucial for climbing Manaslu and other peaks, as it lets your body adjust to the high altitude. It will be better if you have any prior mountain climbing experience. If you are a beginner but trained in the basics of mountaineering, you can still climb this awe-inspiring peak.
Mount Manaslu Climbing Routes
While Manaslu has a favorite climbing route from the Northeast face, the mountain comprises five different climbing routes. They are the southwest face, the northwest Spur, the northeast face, the west wall, and the west couloir or the south ridge. To reach the base camp of the Manaslu Peak, climbers must traverse through Samagaon, where the route to the northeast face starts.
Difficulty Level of Mount Manaslu
Mount Manaslu has a rating of moderate climbing. Despite being listed as one of the easiest peaks over 8000 meters, climbers must be concerned about high altitude, temperatures, and sloppy trails to the peak. It has the rock climbing grade up to 5-9+/- to 5.10 a,b,c, and Ice climbing WI-3 to WI-4.
There are a few technical cliffs and hazards that climbers must traverse before reaching the top of Manaslu. But after the Cho Oyu expedition became uncertain from the Tibet side, it became one of the most preferred mountains to climb. While climbers climb from the base camp, they reach the lower section between Camp 1 and Camp 2. This region poses a great threat to avalanches.
Besides, there comes a way after Camp 2, which is narrow, and only 1-2 climbers can pass through it at a time. Mountaineers have to walk through this passage for around an hour. Use your ice axes and climbing ropes properly in this section for safety.
Fatality Rate of Manaslu
The fatality rate of Manaslu is 1.49%, which is quite lower than some of the most dangerous peaks in the world. Reports state that 53 (approx.) lives from 297 attempts have been cost as death while attempting to scale this peak. In around 209 total ascents, around 40 climbers have died on Manaslu.
Broad Peak [8051 Meters]
Broad Peak also comes under the 8000 meters peak that is best for beginners. It is the 12th-highest peak in the world, with a height of 8051 meters above sea level. Till now, the success rate of Broad Peak is very high compared to other 8000 peaks in Nepal and Pakistan. The climb is technical but not for long, which gives climbers ample space for safe navigation under proper preparation and planning.
Where is Broad Peak Located?
Broad Peak sits in the Karakoram Range in Northeastern Pakistan. It is located in the western Baltoro glacier between K2 and G4 (Gasherbrum). It has a 2km wide summit ridge, which makes it relatively easy to conquer. So most climbers keep this peak as a stepping stone for the nearest 8000 meters peak, K2, which is challenging and technically demanding.
You can start your journey to Broad Peak from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. You will reach Skardu, Jhula, Paiyu, Urdukas, Goro II, Concordia, and Broad Peak Base Camp from there. It usually takes 25 days from the base camp to summit the peak.
Broad Peak Climbing Routes
The 12th tallest mountain, Broad Peak, has two climbing routes to the top. The Askole or Gondogoro Pass route can be considered to climb the mountain.
The Askole route starts with a jeep drive for 6 to 8 hours. The first camp is Jhula, and then the other destinations, Paiyu, Urdukasn, and Corcordia, come ahead while hiking through the Askole Route. Similarly, climbing through the Gondogoro Pass is an alternative way to reach the top of Broad Peak. It is one of the highest passes in the world, as it sits at 5585 meters above sea level.
Difficulty Level of Broad Peak
The difficulty level of climbing Broad Peak is moderate. The 12th tallest peak in the world has the rock climbing grade up to 5-9+/- to 5.10 a,b,c, and Ice climbing WI-3 to WI-4. It means anyone with proper mountaineering and technical rock climbing skills can climb this peak easily.
Broad Peak is also considered one of the safest and easiest peaks amongst the 14 8000er peaks in the world. There are only a few technical hurdles en route to the top of the mountain. The camping stations are very near to one another, so even though the route is technical and steep, climbers can reach the next camps within a few time.
Easiest does not mean it looks like trekking; Broad Peak still has technical rocky edges in its trail, where fixed ropes have been set up. And the real danger lies in the final phase of Broad Peak, which is during the final summit push. However, with the keen support of your professional guides and the use of your technical mountain climbing skills, it is still considered easy compared to K2 and Annapurna’s summit push.
Fatality and Mortality Rate on Broad Peak
Broad Peak is one of the peaks with the highest success rate. And most of the climbers climb this mountain as a warmup for Mount Everest and K2 Expedition. To date, the fatality rate of Broad Peak is around 8.37%, which is still lower compared to Mount K2 and Annapurna.
Despite being called ‘The Easiest 8000mer,’ Broad Peak undoubtedly has several hazards, including extreme weather conditions, high altitude, sharp winds, and many more. Climbers are prone to altitude sickness, rockfalls, falls, frostbite, and other injuries. So it is wise to prepare strictly while planning for Broad Peak Expedition. The lower belt of Broad Peak is still prone to avalanches, so make sure that you go through the weather forecast and study temperatures before you embark on the journey to the top of Broad Peak.
How to prepare for 8000 meters peak?
Climbing 8000 meters peak might be everyone’s dream, but remember that it will not be as easy as you expect. The 8000er mountains are the high altitude peak, where altitude sickness, avalanches, rockfalls, falls, and freezing temperatures makes you think twice. So it is very crucial to understand that you should strictly prepare well for climbing the 8000 meters peaks by having the technical mountain climbing skills and a strong physical and mental state. Here are some lists which you can consider to prepare before climbing any 8000er peak in the world.
Research and Review:
Before embarking on the expedition of any 8000er peak in the world, it is necessary to go through the research and reviews of the mountain. Similarly, climbers should know the weather condition, climate patterns, landscape & topography, potential risks and dangers, and the local environment beforehand.
If you are acknowledged with such information before booking your expedition, you can always have a space to prepare and make your expedition enjoyable and successful.
Mountain climbing demands good physical fitness, and when it comes to 8000er mountains, your physical fitness is the one which impacts the most. Most of the packages of 8000 meters peak are over 4 weeks. And 4 weeks does not mean that it is not physically demanding. First, climbers must hike to the base camps, which takes one to two weeks, and they are physically exhausting as climbers need to walk hours and hours each day.
From the base camp, climbers push their climb to the top of the peak, which requires hours and days to complete. So here, having physical fitness matters a lot. On top of that, the steep and technical routes and ridges demand high physical fitness. Mountaineers are recommended to have muscle energy. For it, they can hit the gym, cycling, cardiovascular exercises, and more.
Acclimatization is the most important process to adjust your body to the changing altitudes. While climbing the 8000 meters peak, mountaineers will be exposed to the region with low oxygen and thin air. Similarly, the cold temperatures and sharp winds make it more complicated to scale the peak. On top of that, while reaching over 8000 meters above sea level, the human body will already be exhausted. So to remain out of danger, altitude acclimatization is very crucial.
It will help adjust the human body to high altitude and takes mountaineers out of altitude sickness dangers. There are several ways of acclimatizing at high altitudes – some of them are:
- Climbing high, sleeping low
- Gradual ascent
- Enough Sleep and rest
- Proper hydration and nutrition
- Use of oxygen supplements
If you have difficulty breathing, you should probably use oxygen supplements for help. Some climbers even use Diamox to avoid altitude sickness and related illnesses.
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We recommend climbers take on Cho Oyu, Manaslu, or Broad Peak to climb if they are beginners. However, they should have certified mountaineering skills through any training or rock climbing skills. These three peaks are regarded best choice for beginner mountaineers. But still, it is very crucial to prepare physically, mentally, and with gear and equipment to make the expedition go well. Many mountaineers dream of climbing Mount Everest and Mount K2 one day.
So Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, and Manaslu can be considered stepping stones for their upcoming campaigns at the world’s tallest mountain. Overall, climbers should be acknowledged of the existing weather and climate patterns, altitude, risk and dangers, and the landscapes. This will help them easily conquer these peaks without any notable technical hassles.