The 11 Most Difficult Mountains to Climb in the USA (2023)

If you're an experienced climber and you're absolutely sure you've got what it takes, then maybe, just maybe, you can win them over.The 11 Most Difficult Mountains to Climb in the US. We are not kidding here. Some of them have a notorious reputation as climbers who end up dead in the abyss.

Unless one has a natural admiration and love for mountainous terrain, explaining your hobby to others can be very difficult. Why would anyone spend hours or days just climbing a rock and taking a few pictures? Hours of work for 5 minutes of pleasure? Surely you can't stay there for hours, right? Not that it was a very pleasant stay: the wind usually blows and freezes you to the bone (or to death). Still, it's the feeling and the adrenaline that drive you. Not everyone can understand why you are enjoying the magnificent view so much, but most will notice your sense of danger. The thrill, the thrill you get overcoming all kinds of obstacles. Despite the coverage, these mountains are no picnic.

The 11 Most Difficult Mountains to Climb in the USA (1)


As an experienced climber, you've come across all kinds of questions about your demanding hobby. People usually want to knowWhich mountain is the hardest to climb?, and by that they mean death-defying climbing. For the US, it would be the Jumbo Love Trail in Clark Mountain, California.What is the hardest climb in the world?, of course it would be Annapurna in Nepal. It usually takes a few days to climb a mountain, but for Annapurna we are talking 40-50 days. It's not the highest peak, but the climb is incredibly dangerous. There is a 40% death rate due to serious illness. Giants of nature with similar characteristics are K2, Kangchenjunga (also in the Himalayas), Baintha Brakk (Pakistan) and also Mount Everest. Although we mention Baintha Brakk, or the ogre as it is commonly known, it is important to note that the mountain has only been climbed three times (!). Usually, the answer to the question which mountain has never been climbed is that it is strictly forbidden for climbers for religious reasons, but you can read about it and the best mountain for beginners to climb in our mountain articleThe Easiest Mountains to Climb in the US. You will find that there are many non-technical mountain tours that you can recommend to your friends.

So let's continue the discussion about the American mountain ranges and the 10 hardest mountains to climb. Or not? If you've been paying close attention, you'll notice that the number we mentioned is 11. You better be good at noticing the details at altitude. These are the most difficult mountains to climb out of the 48 mountains, with some additional ones extending beyond these limits. Overall, we looked across the entire US territory. We found the most challenging mountain tours inJoe Dorish Wetter,Matadors Network, jadventure blog. Discussing the difficulty of sizing and creating ranking criteria is... well, difficult. One thought that crossed our minds was to rank them by the number of dead. One of them is known to have been the scene of at least 400 deaths. Feeling the chills already? However, not all mountains have the same starting point for collecting death certificates, so we gave up. Instead, we opted for something much nicer: altitude gain. Each mountain has several factors that contribute to its difficulty: the terrain, the weather conditions, the equipment needed... Sometimes you don't need that much equipment, but changing weather can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, mountains are classified according to their highest altitude, which we also foundall trails,Walker Section,14er, jHaleakala-National Park. Finally, large elevation gains will affect your stability and resistance to vertigo (you don't have to).

Without further ado, here are the 11 hardest mountains to climb in the US, along with descriptions of their routes and the reasons why so many people don't make it to the top. To give you a better idea of ​​the experience, we've added videos for each mountain.

11. Monte Washington, South Gully, Ruta Huntington-Schlucht

City: New Hampshire

Elevation: 6,288 feet

Elevation difference: 4,300 feet

Time needed: 1-2 days

Admittedly, Mount Katahdin, Maine only lost 100 feet to Mount Washington. Still, fair is fair. Mount Washington is difficult to climb. A total of around 135 people have died since 1849. Are you wondering why? Hypothermia, falls, drowning, avalanches, icefalls, natural causes and even ski accidents. The weather here is extremely rough (231 mph winds), so always make sure you are well informed about the weather forecast for your climb.

(Video) 10 Deadliest Mountains On Earth (You Should Never Climb Them)

Let's see what else we have on our list of toughest mountains to climb in the US, shall we?

10. Dica from Dallas,Gama Sneffels, Ostgratroute

Local: Colorado

Elevation: 13,809 feet

Elevation difference: 4,500 feet

Time needed: 1 day

It's open year-round, but you know you don't have to climb every time you think about it. Navigation and technical climbing are all you need for this. However, due to its spire at the top, Dallas Peak is considered the most difficult peak to climb in Colorado at over 13,113 feet.

9. Monte St. Helens, Monitorgrat

aus Washington

Elevation: 8,365 feet

Elevation difference: 4,600 feet

Time needed: 1 day

Would you like to climb a volcano? Because that's what Mount St. Helens is. The last time it erupted was in1980when 57 people lost their lives. It is known that the ground still shakesfrom time to time. As for climbing, in summer you can walk without special equipment and look into the depths of the crater.

8. Pico del Monte Longs

City: Colorado

Altitude: 14,255 feet

(Video) TOP 15 Most Dangerous Mountains

Elevation difference: 5,100 feet

Time required: approx. 6 hours

If you take the Keyhole route, there's a lot of climbing to do. Although some people bring pets on their climbs, they are strictly prohibited on this route. It's a long, arduous climb, and the last kilometer takes a lot of effort. A tip: In summer, start as early as possible. You don't want to experience thunderstorms mid-ascent.

7. Monte Haleakala, Maui

Location: Hawaii

Altitude: 10,023 feet

Elevation difference: 6,130 feet

Required time:a long day

Some people travel to Hawaii for sun and cocktails, but others, like you, are much more adventurous. This volcanic mountain is so beautiful that locals consider it sacred. Even if you decide to spend the night in your sleeping bag, the night sky will leave you speechless.

6. Grand Teton, Owen Spalding (Ruta-Original)

worn out wyoming

Altitude: 13,770 feet

Elevation difference: 7,000 feet

Time needed: 1-2 days

Now this is one ofThe 11 Toughest Mountains to Climb in the US, But Have No Fear. Grand Teton is great in many ways. It is so impressive that the entire national park is named after it. Plus, there's something for everyone! 35 routes and 50 variations of those routes, is that enough? That's probably why climbers all over the world decide to take up the challenge.

(Video) Top 10 Hardest Hikes in the U.S.

5. Mount Shasta, Hotlum Bolam range

Location: California

Elevation: 14,162 feet

Elevation difference: 7,200 feet

Time needed: 1-2 days

Ranked #5 on our list of the hardest mountains to climb in the United States, Mount Shasta is the second highest peak in Northern California's Cascade Range. There are many challenges, and some say Mount Shasta's Hotlum Glacier is the perfect preparation for scaling the difficult peaks below.

4. Mount Hood, Kaskade von Mountains

of Oregon

Height:11,240 cakes

Elevation difference: 7710 feet

Time required: 14h 50 min

Can you believe that millions of people visit the mountain and around 10,000 try to climb it every year? However, Oregon's tallest mountain is dangerous in many ways. On average, about 50 people need to be rescued each year. Those who don't get help often freeze to death.

Now let's look at the three most difficult mountains to climb in the United States.

3. Forbidden Peak, West Ridge

aus Washington

Elevation: 8,815 feet

(Video) Why This 25,000 Foot Mountain Has Never Been Climbed

Elevation difference: 5,600 feet

Time needed: 1-2 days

Doesn't the name sound tempting? By the way, Forbidden Peak is included in the list of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America. You'll need a standard alpine rock stand, an ice axe, and crampons.

2. Mount Rainier, direct route to Ingraham Glacier

aus Washington

Elevation: 14,411 feet

Elevation difference: 9,000 feet

Time needed: 2 days

If Everest is too far for you, consider climbingMonte Rainier, number two on our list of the hardest mountains to climb in the United States, has a similar death toll. More than 400 people died in it. Of course, climbing can be a death trap. About three people die each year out of the 8,000 to 13,000 who try to reach the top. As with Everest, picking up bodies and burying them properly is often very dangerous.

1. Mount McKinley (Denali), Foothill Path

from Alaska

Altitude: 20,320 feet

Elevation difference: 13,120 feet

Time Commitment: 15+ days (as per normal ascent times and weather dependent)

Denali or Mount McKinley tops our list11 Hardest Mountains to Climb in AmericaThis is the mountain that all Americans know: it is the highest point in North America, which is why it is part of the group of the 7 Summits (7 highest mountains on seven continents). Prepare well and be very aware of what you are getting into before you even think about climbing. 50% of climbers give up before reaching the summit. About 100 people died from falls, avalanches, altitude sickness, heart attacks and various accidents. If you think you're ready, we wish you good luck and good weather (temperatures can drop to -118.1 degrees in winter).

(Video) 11 Highest Mountains in the United States


The 11 Most Difficult Mountains to Climb in the USA? ›

At 28,251 feet, K2, which straddles the Pakistan-China border, is about two and a half football fields shorter than Everest, but it's widely considered the planet's toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb, earning the nickname “Savage Mountain.” Unlike Everest, it is not possible to “walk” to the top; all sides ...

What are the 10 hardest mountains to climb? ›

10 Most Dangerous and Hardest Mountains to Climb in The World
  • Mount Everest, China-Nepal. ...
  • Annapurna I, Nepal. ...
  • Dhaulagiri I, Nepal. ...
  • Manaslu, Nepal. ...
  • Nanga Parbat, Pakistan. ...
  • Makalu, Nepal. ...
  • Baintha Brakk, Pakistan. ...
  • Siula Grande, Peru.

What is the technically hardest mountain to climb? ›

At 28,251 feet, K2, which straddles the Pakistan-China border, is about two and a half football fields shorter than Everest, but it's widely considered the planet's toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb, earning the nickname “Savage Mountain.” Unlike Everest, it is not possible to “walk” to the top; all sides ...

Which mountain is forbidden to climb? ›

Mount Machhapuchhre, Nepal

Considered sacred by the local Gurung population, the mountain is off limits to climbing. The only sanctioned attempt to climb the mountain was made in 1957 by a British expedition team led by Jim Roberts.

What are top 5 mountains to climb? ›

Top 10 mountains to climb
  1. Mont Blanc, France. ...
  2. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. ...
  3. Mount Aconcagua, Argentina. ...
  4. Mount Kenya, Kenya. ...
  5. Mount Toubkal, Morocco. ...
  6. Everest Base Camp, Nepal. ...
  7. Pico Turquino, Cuba. ...
  8. Mount Kinabalu, Borneo.

What are the top 7 mountains to climb? ›

The 'Seven Summits' are comprised of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents of the Earth: Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Mount Vinson and Carstensz Pyramid.

What are the hardest mountains to climb in us? ›

6 Difficult Mountains to Climb in the USA
  • 1 #1 Mount Washington, South Gully, Huntington Ravine Route.
  • 2 #2 Mount Rainier.
  • 3 #3 Mount Elbert.
  • 4 #4 Mount Longs Peak.
  • 5 #5 Mount Haleakala.
  • 6 #6 Mount Shasta.
  • 7 #7 Mount Hood.
  • 8 Why Is Mountain Climbing in the USA So Famous?

What is the golden rule of mountain climbing? ›

That's why, although there are no official global rules to mountaineering, mountaineers hold three golden rules as their mantra: “It's always farther than it looks, it's always taller than it looks and it's always harder than it looks.” As long as you're well prepared and you don't underestimate the activity, you ...

Can you legally name a mountain if you climb it? ›

Naming peaks in wilderness requires legislation, not simply board approval. And naming wilderness peaks after humans is discouraged.

What is the tallest mountain you can climb for free? ›

It is assumed that locals have climbed the famous mountain for years before the first documented climb. Kilimanjaro is unique not only because of its location directly on the equator, but it is also the World's tallest free standing mountain. This means that it is not part of a mountain range like the Himalayas.

What is the easiest mountain to climb over 20 000 feet? ›

Pico de Orizaba, in Mexico. Sometimes called "the world's easiest 20,000-foot peak," Island Peak is the most popular "trekking peak" in Nepal — summits classified as attainable by climbers with some mountaineering experience.

What is the deadliest mountain to climb percentage? ›

Martin Armstrong. The main peak of the Annapurna massif is the most dangerous of the world's mountains, with a 29% fatality rate of everyone who tries to climb it. Since 1900, an estimated 244 expeditions have resulted in 72 deaths.

What is the easiest mountain to climb? ›

Top 5 Easiest Mountains to Climb
MountainLocationSeason to Climb
Mount KilimanjaroTanzania, AfricaAny Season
Mount WhitneyCalifornia, USAJuly-September
SnowdonWales, United KingdomJune-September
Mauna KeaHawaii, USAMay-November
1 more row
Mar 21, 2021

What are the top 10 highest mountain peaks? ›

Top Ten List of the Tallest Mountains in the World
  • Mount Everest – 8,848 m.
  • K2 – 8,611 m.
  • Kangchenjunga – 8,586 m.
  • Lhotse – 8,516 m.
  • Makalu – 8,463 m.
  • Cho Oyu – 8,188 m.
  • Dhaulagiri I – 8,167 m.
  • Manaslu – 8,163 m.
Jan 5, 2023

What is the biggest climb in USA? ›

1. Mount Whitney. As the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states (the continental US states), climbing Mount Whitney is quite the achievement. This peak sits at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) and you can expect to gain around 5,900 ft.

What is the three point rule in climbing? ›

To use ladders safely, always maintain three points of contact. That means two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times. Moving quickly often results in only 2-point contact. You often have to make a conscious effort to maintain 3-point contact.

What happens if I do 100 mountain climbers? ›

You've learnt to do the mountain climber. Do 100 reps from each leg and 4 such sets to burn that belly fat away. The more speed you add, the flatter your tummy will be. Keeping your core is a must during this exercise.

How high can you climb a mountain before you need oxygen? ›

At extreme altitude (5500-8848 m) supplementary oxygen can be used to prevent the effects of severe hypoxia. Although Everest has been climbed without oxygen, most climbers use supplementary oxygen above 6500 m.

What is a person climbing a mountain called? ›

mountaineers; mountaineering

A mountaineer is a person who climbs or hikes mountains.

What is the most mysterious mountain in the world? ›

Mount Kailash is probably one of the most mysterious mountains in the world! This 6638 m tall mountain holds immense religious significance and is considered the most sacred mountain in the world. No one has ever been able to climb this mountain yet and climbing is now strictly prohibited on Kailash.

What are you called when you climb a mountain? ›

mountaineer. noun. moun·​tain·​eer ˌmau̇nt-ᵊn-ˈi(ə)r. : a person who lives in the mountains. : a mountain climber.

What are the cheapest mountains to climb? ›

10 Incredible Mountain Climbs That Don't Cost A Fortune
  • Mount Aconcagua — Argentina. ...
  • Denali — Alaska. ...
  • Volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest. ...
  • Pikes Peak — Colo. ...
  • Mount Kilimanjaro — Tanzania. ...
  • El Misti — Peru. ...
  • Chachani — Peru. ...
  • Chimborazo –Ecuador. "Ecuador Chimborazo" by Kilobug, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Sep 23, 2015

What mountain has never been summited? ›

At 7,570m (24,981ft), for example, Gangkhar Puensum – the 40th highest mountain in the world – counts as the world's highest unclimbed mountain. Located in Bhutan near the Tibetan border, the “awful but fascinating” mountain eluded several mountaineering teams who tried to climb it over the course of a decade.

What is the easiest of the 7 summits to climb? ›

Aconcagua is often considered to be one of the easiest climbing peaks for its height as it is not particularly technical and because of this is a popular mountain to climb.

What is the highest solo mountain? ›

20 August 1980 - Reinhold Messner (Italy) was the first to successfully climb Mt Everest solo, reaching the summit on 20 August 1980. It took him three days to make the ascent from his base camp at 6,500 m (21,325 ft), and the climb was made all the more difficult by the fact that he did not use bottled oxygen.

What is the longest unbroken mountain range? ›

The mid-ocean ridge is the longest mountain range on Earth.

The longest mountain range on Earth is called the mid-ocean ridge. Spanning 40,389 miles around the globe, it's truly a global landmark. About 90 percent of the mid-ocean ridge system is under the ocean.

What is the highest single mountain? ›

Mount Everest's peak is the highest altitude above mean sea level at 29,029 feet [8,848 meters].

Is Denali harder than Everest? ›

Denali is probably the most strenuous of the Seven Summits. It requires that climbers know advanced glacier skills, rope team travel, and involves heavier load carries. The weather is more unstable than Everest and Vinson, making it a great challenge and incredible training for an Everest climb.

What is the hardest summit in North America? ›

Mount McKinley, Alaska (20,320')

As the highest peak in North America, McKinley (or Denali as most call it now) commands respect. Though not Himalayan in altitude, it is considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb.

Is Kilimanjaro harder than Denali? ›

Kilimanjaro Vs Denali

Denali is a much harder attempt than Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The steeps are very high on Denali and the oxygen level is also comparatively lower than that of Kilimanjaro. Moreover, your body will get acclimatized to the Kilimanjaro weather more easily.

What is the most beautiful mountain range in the United States? ›

Encyclopedia Britannica calls the Sierra Nevada mountain range "one of the most beautiful physical features of the United States." Located along the eastern edge of California, peaks in the Sierra Nevada range from 11,000 to 14,000 feet high.

What are the three mountains of God? ›

The belief of the Lords of the Three Mountains is a worship of mountain deities. The three mountains referred to Dushan (獨山), Mingshan (明山), and Jinshan (巾山) in the Chaozhou area of Guangdong in China.

Which of the 14 peaks is the hardest? ›

A: The hardest 14er in Colorado to hike is generally considered to be Capitol Peak. Located in the Elk Mountains, Capitol Peak has an elevation of 14,130 feet and is known for its technical routes, knife-edge ridge, rotten, poor-quality rock, and significant exposure.

What is the easiest of the 7 summits? ›

Aconcagua is often considered to be one of the easiest climbing peaks for its height as it is not particularly technical and because of this is a popular mountain to climb.

Can you climb all 7 summits? ›

It is possible to climb the Seven Summits only by gaining necessary skills on the actual peaks that are on the Seven Summits list with guided instruction. However, we also take into account trainings and pre-climbs that would prepare a climber for the best chances at a safe and successful overall project.

Which Colorado 14er has the most deaths? ›

Longs Peak leads Colorado in climbing deaths

One of the state's most popular fourteeners, peaks above 14,000 feet, also is the deadliest. According to records, more than 70 people have died climbing Longs Peak since the park's inception in 1915.

How did NIMS climb Everest so fast? ›

Nims used bottled oxygen in all of his ascents. Impressively, previous record holder Kim Chang Ho didn't use any and he still holds the record for the fastest ascent of all mountains over 8,000 m without supplementary oxygen.

How many climbers have died on Denali? ›

The fatality rate is declining and is 3.08/1,000 summit attempts. Of the 96 deaths, 92% were male, 51% occurred on the West Buttress route, and 45% were due to injuries sustained from falls.

Can a normal person climb Denali? ›

Our requirements (prerequisites) for climbers looking to join our Denali Expedition read as follows: "Climbers need to have an intermediate level of glacier travel skills, glacier travel experience, experience with backcountry winter camping, and be in excellent cardiovascular and physical condition."

Does Denali have a death zone? ›

Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to see well enough to get out of the Death Zone first... Denali summit, 19,700 ft. Above 25,000ft, you're very likely to suffer nausea and vomiting.

Do you need oxygen to climb Denali? ›

As the NOVA mountaineers climb ever higher up Mt. McKinley, their bodies must try to get enough oxygen to their cells, despite the thin air at extreme altitude.

Who climbed all 7 summits? ›

The first person to complete the Seven Summits was the American businessman, Richard Bass, who climbed Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Elbrus (Europe), Mount Vinson (Antarctica) and Mount Kosciuszko (Oceania/Australasia) in 1983.

Which of the 7 summits is the coldest? ›


Vinson, also known as Vinson Massif, is not a technical one, and its altitude challenge, at 16,067 ft (4,892 m), is moderate. But because of the peak's location in Antarctica's Ellsworth Mountains, the coldest and most remote range in the world, it can be a very challenging and rewarding climb.


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