Everybody gets curious once in a while about the difficulty of climbing mountains, especially those that are above the 8000-meter mark. With extreme heights comes extreme danger.
And even though we admit that climbing a mountain that exceeds the 8000-meter mark will never be as easy as lying on your favorite couch. But while comparing the difficulty of the extensive 14 peaks above the 8000-meter mark, some are relatively easier than others.
If you are one of those curious cats who want to discover the easiest peak to climb, read this article as we uncover the easiest peak and also other relatively easier peaks than the hardest mountain to climb, the mighty Mount Annapurna.
Mount Cho Oyu
Mount Cho Oyu is often considered the “stepping stone” to climbing 8000-meter peaks. And that is for the right reason because it is the easiest. Mount Cho Oyu is the sixth tallest mountain in the world, with a height of 8,188 meters.
If you are looking to dabble around climbing mountains above 8000 meters and understand the type of body requirements you need or get a concept of the lack of oxygen in higher altitudes, then Mount Cho Oyu would be the easiest 8000-meter peak to climb.
In addition, this mountain can also be an introductory climbing experience to practice for climbing another 8000-meter peak. Also, it can be the only 8000 meters you climb because of its comfort level. However, take your time with its ease. Mount Cho Oyu still expects you to treat it with the respect that she deserves.
Cho Oyu, roughly translates to Turquoise Goddess, is only 20 kilometers from Mount Everest. Also, it lies at the Nepal-Tibet border. You can find this mountain shining at its full glory on the western side of the Khumbu region.
Did you know that the first people who climbed Mount Cho Oyu did so without oxygen? Yes, the Nepali and Austrian mountaineers Pasang Dawa Sherpa, Herbert Tichy, and Sepp Joechler climbed this mountain on October 19, 1954, without needing extra oxygen. Well, this fact adds to the easiness of climbing this beautiful peak.
Mount Cho Oyu: Climbing Routes
Mount Cho Oyu has a flat plateau-like summit. It is also blessed with easier slopes and topography, so many mountaineers consider it the easiest 8000-meter peak to climb. So, there are two routes to climbing Mount Cho Oyu: the northwest and the northeast.
When we compare the difficulty level of these two climbing sides, the northwest side or the left-hand route of climbing Mount Cho Oyu is longer. But this route is completely safe. Comparatively, the northwest side of climbing Mount Cho Oyu is a shortcut, but it is considered a difficult climb. Why, you ask? Because the northwest side is more prone to getting avalanches. It is also very far from the summit and extensively rugged.
And while we are talking about the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb, we recommend you climb from the northeast side, especially if you are a beginner. Also, many climbers, as high as 95%, use the northeast side to climb. Further, there is only an hour difference between reaching the summit when we compare the time of the two sides.
In addition, as of September 30, 2020, around 3,923 have climbed Mount Cho Oyu from the northeastern side, and around 2,391 mountaineers did so without the help of oxygen. In contrast, only around 14 people have climbed the mountain from the northwest side.
Mount Cho Oyu: Climbing Experience
Usually, mountaineers set up only three higher-level camps while climbing Mount Cho Oyu while they strive to reach the summit. However, they continuously rotate in these three camps. Also, many people who have climbed Mount Cho Oyu exclaim with joy, knowing that this peak doesn’t have much of a known danger also, technical sections, especially on the northeast side.
Did you know you can reach Mount Cho Oyu’s base camp via jeep on the northeast side of the climb? Yes, adding to its easy climbing, the mountain has a very accessible base camp. In addition, many mountaineers attest to Mount Cho Oyu having the shortest climb time compared to others above 8000 meters mountains.
Finally, many skiers and snowboarders also love Mount Cho Oyu because this mountain mainly has good climatic conditions. Also, the snow conditions of this mountain are excellent.
If you are considering climbing Mount Cho Oyu, the best season is autumn.
After Mount Cho Oyu, the other peak that ranks on the list of the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb is Mount Manaslu. Also known as Mount Kutang, Mount Manaslu’s height is 8,156 meters. The location of Mount Manaslu is Nepal, and more precisely, this mountain lies in the west-central part. It is also the seventh tallest mountain in the world.
In addition, Mount Manaslu is a part of the Nepalese Himalayas. Many mountaineers consider this mountain the most accessible one out of all the above 8000-meter peaks. With a difficulty grade of only 4E, Mount Manaslu is one of the easiest 8000 meter peaks to climb. Although more challenging than Mount Cho Oyu, Manaslu can be your next training mountain if you wish to climb Mount Everest.
However, many experienced mountaineers who have climbed Mount Manaslu in the past consider it the simplest above 8000 meters mountain to climb. Also, it is important to remember that the difficulty of climbing a mountain depends upon your physical stamina, weather conditions during the climb, past experiences, if any, guide experience, the climbing season in Nepal, and many other factors, including your gear.
Mount Manaslu: Climbing Routes
You can climb Mount Manaslu from various routes. There is the southwest face, the northwest Spur, the northeast face, the west wall, and the west couloir or the south ridge. However, today’s most famous route for climbing Mount Manaslu is the northeast face.
One of the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb, Mount Manaslu’s climbing journey starts from Samagaon, which lies 3530 meters above sea level. This route is for the northeast face. The journey of reaching Mount Manaslu Base Camp is considered one of the most beautiful trails, which consists of climbing through a forest with a lake inside it.
Mount Manaslu: Climbing Experience
While climbing the stunning Mount Manaslu, you are bound to find some steep ice and snow slopes. Climbing any mountain refers to walking paths laden with snow, ice, and glaciers. However, the steepness of the snow and ice content on Mount Manaslu is short when compared to more difficult mountains like Mount Annapurna.
Mount Manaslu’s advanced base camps lies at two heights, 4,600 m and 4800 m. They are named as low and high-advanced base camps. After acclimatizing to the two advanced base camps, you go to the Camp I of Mount Manaslu. Reaching Camp I depends on your experience and skill and can take two to three hours.
However, while reaching Camp I, you have to do some low-level rock climbing because there are some rock boulders of various sizes and steepness. Then, after 45 minutes, you will reach a rough section. In this section, you have to climb a steep stone wall. So, get your rock climbing gear ready if you wish to climb the stunning Mount Manaslu.
It will take you thirty-five days to ascend and descend from the base camp to reach various other camps on Mount Manaslu. After that, to reach the summit, you must pass through some steep snowy ice trails and climb a steep hill-like structure. But expect some avalanches while you climb, especially on the lower half of your climbing route.
Also, as you reach the peak, the climb can be considered easy and mostly non-technical.
Next on our list of the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb is none other than Mount Makalu, also known as Makalu Himal, Makalu I, or simply Makalu. Also, the fifth tallest mountain in the world, Mount Makalu, stands 8,481 meters above sea level.
Further, Makalu is one of the most prominent mountains in the Nepal Himalayas and lies at the Nepal and Tibet border. Relatively closer to Mount Everest, this gorgeous mountain is only 23 kilometers away from Everest. Specifically, it lies on the southeastern side of Mount Everest.
Mount Makalu was first climbed by two French mountaineers, Jean Couzy and Lionel Terray, on May 15, 1955. Did you know that seven more people came to climb the mountain after two days of successfully climbing Mount Makalu?
Makalu, which roughly translates to Great Black One, is rightfully said so because behind all the snow and ice coating its surface Mount Makalu is made of dark rocks. Also, Makalu Barun National Park is the home of this mountain.
Although Makalu is not one of the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb, it is when compared to Mount K2 and Annapurna.
In fact, many mountaineers say that Mount Makalu is one of the most technical and hardest mountains to climb. This is because while climbing from Camp II to Camp III, you must do extensive rock climbing and around 400 meters of knife ridge ascent route.
But suppose you have the proper physical and mental strength. If the weather is on your side, and you have a well-experienced guide and a reliable operator, climbing Mount Makalu for you will be relatively easy.
Mount Makalu: Climbing Routes
Like most of the 8000 meter peaks to climb, Mount Makalu has two routes from which you can climb. There is the southeastern ridge and the northeastern ridge.
The southeastern route of climbing Mount Everest is the more popular one because it is an easy route compared to its northeastern counterpart. In addition, this route is less technical. Also, this route has some places that need fixed rope placements.
Moving on, the northeastern route can take a lot of work. Mostly advanced and more experienced mountaineers climb this route. However, with hard work comes some scenic fruits. Yes, the northeastern route is blessed with scenic beauty. If you decide to climb from this route, be extra prepared for its unforgiving steep slopes.
Mount Makalu: Climbing Experience
The stunning Mount Makalu boasts a perfect pyramid shape and has four sharp ridges. The Makalu Barun National Park also has a Barun Valley with many beautiful flora and fauna, waterfalls, and amazing ethnic beauty. Nepal boasts an amazing culture. You can see it while you are reaching Mount Makalu Base Camp.
The journey of climbing Mount Makalu starts from Tumlingtar. From Tumlingtar, you trek from Num, Yangle Kharka, and Langmale Kharka to Makalu Base Camp and finally reach the advanced base camp. To reach the mountain’s southern base camp, pass through the Barun Valley to the Sarsing Kharka Glacier.
Hillary Base Camp, or the Advanced Makalu Base Camp, is 5,600 meters above sea level, and you can expect this base camp to be hotter than the base camps of other mountains. This is because the Hillary Base Camp is situated on rocks and receives ample sunshine in the morning, which shines till late afternoon and evening.
The best time of the year to climb Mount Makalu is autumn and spring.
Standing 8,516 meters above sea level, Mount Lhotse, or simply Lhotse, is the fourth tallest mountain in the world. It has also managed to come up in our easiest 8000 meter peak to climb list because if we leave Mount Cho Oyu, Manaslu, and Makalu, Lhotse is the easiest to climb. Like Mount Cho Oyu, it lies in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Further, Lhotse is an important mountain in the Nepal Himalayan Range.
Did you know that Lhotse has three summits? Yes, you read that correctly. The eastern Lhoste summit, or the middle summit, lies 8,414 meters above sea level. The Lhotse Shar summit lies 8,383 meters above sea level. And the most important one, the main summit of Lhotse, lies 8,516 meters above sea level.
Mount Lhotse has a close relationship with Mount Everest because up until Camp IV, the route is the same, but after that, you have to change your route to reach Lhotse. After reaching Camp IV, you must climb through an icy gully to reach Lhotse’s summit.
A Swiss team successfully climbed the main summit of Lhotse on May 18, 1956. Then, Austrian mountaineers conquered the Lhotse Shar summit on May 12, 1970. However, the Lhotse middle summit climbed recently. The date is May 23, 2001, and the Russians did it.
Mount Lhotse: Climbing Routes
If you know the southern route of climbing Mount Everest, then you know half of the route of reaching Mount Lhotse. The climbing route of Mount Lhotse is pretty straightforward. You must first take the same route to reach Everest’s South Col. Because of its straightforward route Mount Lhotse has landed in our easiest 8000 meter peak to climb list.
First, you must progress towards the Yellow band, which is situated beyond Camp III. Once you cross the Yellow band, you will see two ways, one going left over the Geneva Spur to Everest’s South Col and one going right to reach the Lhotse face. The Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur are famous for their rocky topography.
After you climb for some time before you reach Lhotse’s main summit, you need to pass through a narrow gully named Reiss couloir. The Reiss couloir is huge and made out of predominantly ice. Many mountaineers consider it one of the most challenging parts of reaching Lhotse’s main summit.
It will be shocking to know that as you climb through the ice gulley, the rise is as steep as 80 degrees!
Other than Everest’s South Col route of ascending Mount Lhotse, there is another route too. However, the other route, also known as the west ridge route, is difficult and more challenging.
Also, the west ridge route is longer because after climbing up to the western ridge of Mount Lhotse, you have to traverse back to the south face of the summit. So many climbers do not prefer this route because of its length and unpredictability.
Mount Lhotse: Climbing Experience
The climbing experience of Lhotse is better than Mount Annapurna and K2 so it has made its way to our easiest 8000 meter peak to climb.
Lhotse roughly translates to South Peak, and it is known for its technical climbing routes and steep faces. In addition to the unforgiving and rugged terrain of reaching Lhotse’s main summit, one must also be aware of the constant snowfall that plagues this area.
Further, climbing Mount Lhotse is even more difficult because of the extreme weather conditions, high altitude, and technical difficulties that pop up throughout your climbing journey. So, you need to be in your best physical condition and have ample mountaineering experience if you dare to climb this demanding peak.
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Even though Mount Cho Oyu is considered the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb, it is still difficult for a beginner. So, before climbing 8000 meter peaks, practice in smaller mountains.
Also, having ample knowledge about physical and mental requirements for going on a quest such as climbing a literal mountain is important. Research the weather, climatic condition, and also the climbing season of Nepal before you decide to climb.
Finally, believing in yourself and ensuring you have all the necessary amenities to climb will make any mountain the easiest 8000 meter peak to climb.