Nepal is a country of magnificent mountains, with eight of the world’s ten highest peaks located within its borders. Known as the “roof of the world”, Nepal’s towering Himalayan peaks offer incredible vistas and adventures for trekkers, climbers, and mountaineers from around the globe. The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, reigns supreme at 29,032 feet. But Everest is just one of many awe-inspiring Nepali mountains that draw outdoor enthusiasts each year.
In this article, we will count down the top 10 highest mountains in Nepal, exploring a bit about each peak and what makes it unique. From the sheer beauty of Ama Dablam to the deadly challenge of Annapurna, these Nepali mountains showcase the enormous diversity found across the Himalayan landscape. Their heights may vary, but they all offer the chance to experience incredible mountain wilderness amid stunning vistas. So get ready for our tour of the most popular and highest mountains in Nepal
Top 10 Mountains in Nepal
1. Mount Everest (8,848 meters)
Mount Everest is the tallest peak among the mountains in Nepal and the tallest mountain on the entire Earth, standing up to a staggering 8,848 meters. It is located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range, straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet. The southern side of Nepal offers the most frequently climbed routes. Everest’s first recorded summit was achieved by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 via the South Col route. Today, hundreds of climbers attempt to reach the top each year during the April-May climbing season.
Everest presents extremely challenging conditions with freezing temperatures, high winds, steep pitches, and potentially fatal avalanches. The Hillary Step on the South Col route is a nearly vertical rock face which can cause bottlenecks. Acclimatization to high altitudes is critical before attempting a summit. Climbers start expeditions in late March from Everest Base Camp at 5,364 meters to allow time for acclimatization rotations up and down the mountain. Common routes include the South Col from Nepal and the North Col from Tibet.
2. Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters)
Kanchenjunga is the third-highest mountain in the world and the second-highest mountain among the mountains in Nepal standing at 8,586 meters. It lies on Nepal’s eastern border with India in the Taplejung district. It has five major summits, with the Main Summit being the highest. Kanchenjunga was first climbed on May 25, 1955, by Joe Brown and George Band of a British expedition, taking the North Ridge route.
Challenges and Respect
Kanchenjunga’s remoteness, extreme weather, and very long routes with massive elevation gain make it a highly challenging climb. The mountain is revered by the indigenous Lepcha people who believe the god Kanchenjunga resides at the summit. Out of respect for their beliefs, climbers descend a few feet short of the actual highest point. Mr. Joe Brown and George Band of British Expedition team on 25 May 1955 climbed this peak for the first time. Popular routes are the Southwest face from Nepal and the Northeast Ridge from India.
3. Lhotse (8,516 meters)
Lhotse is the third-highest peak among the mountains in Nepal. It is connected to Mt. Everest by the South Col, which stands at 8,516 meters as the fourth-highest mountain in the world. It was first climbed on May 18, 1956, by Fritz Luchsinger and Ernst Reiss. Lhotse has two main summits – Lhotse Main (8,516 m) and Lhotse Shar (8,383 m). Due to its technical difficulty and danger, there are very few summits annually.
Precipitous South Face
Lhotse’s South Face is precipitous and prone to rockfall and avalanches. Climbers must traverse the treacherous Lhotse Face, a 1,125 m wall of blue glacial ice with gradients over 50 degrees. Many climbers attempting to acclimate to Everest also climb Lhotse given their proximity. The main routes are the South Face from Nepal and the North Face from Tibet.
4. Makalu (8,485 meters)
Makalu is an isolated giant standing at 8,485 meters along the Nepal-China border, just 19 km southeast of Everest. It is the fourth-highest mountain among the mountains in Nepal and the fifth-highest mountain in the world and has a classical conical shape, arguably possessing the steepest faces of any Nepalese eight-thousander. Makalu was first climbed on May 15, 1955, by Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy of a French expedition team.
Steep and Dangerous
Makalu is notorious for its steep pitches and knife-edged ridges prone to avalanches. The Makalu La pass on the mountain is highly dangerous. The commonly climbed routes are the Southeast Ridge from Nepal and the North Face from Tibet. Mountaineers attempting the peak must be adept at technical climbing and able to withstand extreme weather.
5. Cho Oyu (8,201 meters)
Cho Oyu is the 5th highest mountain in Nepal among all the mountains in Nepal and the sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,201 meters and sits just 20 km west of Everest. Its proximity to Everest makes it an attractive acclimatization climb. Cho Oyu means “Turquoise Goddess” in Tibetan and has a gentle, sloping profile by Himalayan standards, though it still requires technical expertise.
Gentle but Demanding
Cho Oyu saw its first ascent on October 19, 1954, via the Northwest Ridge by an Austrian expedition. Despite being one of the “easier” eight-thousanders, Cho Oyu still presents significant dangers from avalanches, hidden crevasses, and extremely cold temperatures.
6. Dhaulagiri I (8,167 meters)
Soaring at 8,167 meters, Dhaulagiri I is the highest mountain sixth-highest mountain in Nepal, and the seventh-highest peak in the world. Dhaulagiri translates to “White Mountain” in Sanskrit. The mountain has extremely steep drops and massive vertical rises, especially along the southeast and southwest faces.
Dhaulagiri was first summited on May 13, 1960, by a Swiss/Austrian/Nepali expedition. The climbers followed the Northeast Ridge route, considered highly treacherous. The standard route today is the Southeast Ridge. Dhaulagiri is known for its long approaches, high elevations, unstable weather patterns, and the risk of avalanches, making it extremely strenuous and dangerous to climb.
7. Manaslu (8,163 meters)
Manaslu stands as the 7th highest peak among the numerous mountains in Nepal and the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,163 meters, located about 64 km east of Annapurna. It provides spectacular views of the surrounding Himalayan giants. “Manaslu” means “Mountain of the Spirit” in Sanskrit. The mountain has unpredictable weather and remains one of the most hazardous climbs in Nepal.
On May 9, 1956, Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu of a Japanese expedition became the first to summit Manaslu. They climbed the Northeast Face, which is now the standard route. Other routes are also highly prone to avalanches. Summit attempts must be carefully timed between autumn and spring due to winter snow and summer monsoons that make climbing extremely dangerous.
8. Annapurna I (8,091 meters)
Mount Annapurna is the 8th tallest peak among the tallest mountains in Nepal and the 10th tallest mountain in the World. Soaring 8,091 meters in north-central Nepal, Annapurna I is the most dangerous of Nepal’s eight thousanders to climb. The mountain is renowned for its steep south face, prone to avalanches and rockfalls. Annapurna has the highest fatality-to-summit ratio among the 8,000-meter peaks.
Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal of a French expedition made the first successful ascent on June 3, 1950. The Summit Ridge route they pioneered is now the standard route. Other routes on Annapurna present even greater risks of avalanches and storms. Annapurna remains an extremely challenging climb attempted only by the most experienced mountaineers.
9. Annapurna South (7,219 meters)
Annapurna South is the 9th tallest peak among the top 10 highest mountains in Nepal. Annapurna South is a subsidiary summit of the Annapurna massif, standing at 7,219 meters on the south side of Annapurna I. Trekkers in the Annapurna Sanctuary get stunning views of Annapurna South’s flowing ridges and cliffs.
Popular Trek and Technical Climb
The trek to Annapurna Base Camp at the foot of Annapurna South is very popular, but climbing the peak is highly technical given its steep rock faces and avalanche dangers. Annapurna South saw its first ascent in 1964 by a Japanese team along the North Ridge route. Other routes include the Northeast Buttress and the Southwest Face.
10. Annapurna III (7,555 meters)
Annapurna III is a massive peak that towers at 7,555 meters within the Annapurna Himal. Annapurna III is the 10th highest peak among the highest mountains in Nepal. It has several summits, with the highest being the West Summit or Annapurna III Main. The south and west faces have tremendously steep pitches and present extreme technical challenges.
Annapurna III was first climbed on May 9, 1961, by an Indian expedition team, taking the North Face route. Today, ascents are made via the North Ridge or East Ridge. Annapurna III is prone to avalanches and remains a serious climbing challenge rarely summited. The approaches alone are long, arduous treks gaining significant elevation.
Nepal is home to some of the most magnificent, albeit dangerous, mountains in the world. These sky-scraping giants with their icy faces continue to attract intrepid mountaineers looking to push their limits and create adventure. Climbing any of Nepal’s above 8,000-meter peaks requires immense physical strength, mental stamina, and technical expertise. Yet the rewards of standing atop one of the world’s tallest mountains make the risk worth it for many. With proper training, guidance, timing, and a little luck, towering glories await those bold enough to accept the challenge.
Since you have finished about the top 10 mountains in Nepal, also look at the Top Destination Nearby Kathmandu for a night stay and a day out.