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Most dangerous mountain?

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Postby lcarreau » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:45 am

xDoogiex wrote:Mt. Sunflower



Monte Sunflower should be avoided at all costs, as well as Butterfly Peak!






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Postby RickF » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:45 am

When I first started reading this thread I was convinced that the criteria for most dangerous should be the death ratio. But think about it. Part of the danger lies in the attraction or temptation to attempt the summit. It is not just the physical difficulties of the geology, geometry or geography that makes a peak dangerous, but also what might draw so many to attempt it.

In many ways its like other dangerous pursuits. fast cars, boats, drugs, gambling etc. A more attractive and more easily accessible thrill is more dangerous because it will be attempted by more people.

The determination of most dangerous should be based on variables of both the total number of attempts and the fatality ratio.
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Postby RickF » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:26 am

This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating

Here's some examples:

Meili Xue Shan, 19 attempts x 100% fatality ratio = 19 (low rating because it doesn't attract a lot of attempts)

Mt Whitney, approx. 150,000 attempts x approx. 0.2% fatality ratio = 300 (high due to volume of visits)

Everest, 1,500 attempts x 10% fatality ratio = 150 (It attracts of lot of unprepared people)

K-2, guestimated 800 attempts x 23% fatality ratio = 344

Annapurna, 130 attempts x 43% fatality ratio = 56

Denali, guestimated 3,000 attempts x 3% fatality ratio = 90

A quick google search turned up a lot of results. I didn't find any that used a consistent numerical formula or rating. They're mostly based on opinion. Here's one of the results:

1. Annapurna
Since its first ascent in 1950, Annapurna has been climbed by more than 130 people, but 53 have died trying. This high fatality rate makes Annapurna, the 10th highest mountain in the world, the most statistically dangerous of the 8,000 meter peaks. For more information on getting close to this mountain, check out Trekking the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal.

2. K2
The world’s second highest mountain is known among climbers as one of the most technically difficult in the world. Ascents of even the easiest route require crossing a complicated glacier, ascending steep sections of rock, and negotiating a path around a series of ice pillars, called seracs, which are prone to collapse without warning. The technical difficulty of this mountain makes it one of the most committing and dangerous in the world.

3. Nanga Parbat
The world’s ninth highest peak, Nanga Parbat, competes with K2 in terms of technical difficulty. The route of the first ascent follows a narrow ridge to the summit. On the southern side is the largest mountain face on earth, the 15,000 foot Rupal Face. The difficulty of these routes has earned the mountain the nickname “The Man Eater.”

4. Kangchenjunga
When you look at the fatality rates on the world’s most dangerous mountains, you’ll see that most decrease as time goes on. One notable exception is Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. Death rates have reached as high as 22% in recent years, a reflection of the avalanche and and weather hazards that plague this dangerous mountain.
If you are interested in seeing this mountain up close, Matador Trips has a great reference: Trekking the Mt. Kangchenjunga Circuit in Nepal.

5. The Eiger
The Nordwand, or north face, of this peak in the Swiss Alps is an objective legendary among mountaineers for its danger. Though it was first climbed in 1938, the north face of the Eiger continues to challenge climbers of all abilities with both its technical difficulties and the heavy rockfall that rakes the face.

The difficulty and hazards have earned the Eiger’s north face the nickname Mordwand, or Murder Wall.

6. The Matterhorn
This iconic mountain, which looks like a horn rising out of the surrounding valleys, has one of the highest fatality rates of any peak in the Alps. This is caused by a wide range of factors, including technical difficulty, the prevalence of avalanches and rockfall, and severe overcrowding on routes during peak climbing seasons.

7. Mt. Vinson
Mt. Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica, is not notable for its height, technical difficulty, or fatality rate. However, the mountain’s isolation, combined with the extreme cold and unpredictable weather on the continent, makes Vinson a very serious undertaking. Even a small accident here could be disastrous.

8. Baintha Brakk
Commonly known as The Ogre, Baintha Brakk is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the world. Though it saw its first ascent in 1971, The Ogre was not summited again until 2001. One of the first ascentionists, Doug Scott, broke both of his legs on the descent, forcing him to crawl through a major storm to the team’s base camp.

This famous epic and more than 20 failed attempts on the peak have earned it a reputation as one of the most dangerous in the world.


Matterhorn photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker
9. Mt. Everest
More that 1,500 people have climbed the highest mountain in the world, with as many as 50 people or more reaching the summit on a single day. This congestion, when combined with Everest’s extreme altitude, makes it an undeniably dangerous objective. Whether you plan to summit or not, trekking to Everest’s base camp is one of the 5 Best Treks in Nepal.

10. Denali
Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali, is the highest mountain in North America. Though its altitude is only 20,320 feet, its high latitude means that the atmosphere is far thinner than it would be at the equator. For the many people who climb Denali each year, the altitude, weather, and extreme temperature pose a serious danger.

For these reasons, the success rate on Denali is around 50% and more than 100 climbers have died attempting the summit.

11. Fitz Roy
Cerro Chalten, or Mount Fitz Roy, is the tallest mountain in Patagonia’s Los Glaciares National Park. Fitz Roy’s summit is guarded on all sides by steep rock faces requiring difficult, technical climbing to ascend. Because of this, it was considered one of the most difficult mountains in the world for decades.

Even today, the region’s unpredictable weather and relative isolation makes it extremely dangerous. As a result, Fitz Roy may see only a single ascent in a year: truly the mark of a dangerous, difficult mountain.
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Postby Scott » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:22 am

Total number of deaths.
Probably Mt Blanc. Some years back I read the mountain had claimed over 2000.


I've heard that too, but others have said that the 1000+ people killed on the mountain wasn't really correct even though you often read it.

Does anyone know the real figures or if 1000+ is correct?
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Postby Baarb » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:55 am

RickF wrote:This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating.


This appears akin to the theory of risk, where:

Risk (Danger) = Hazard (Fatality ratio) x Vulnerability (Number of attempts)

I think there's something way off with your figures though, if you believe the stats off 8000ers.com ~4000 people have been up top of Everest, and who knows how many who didn't make it to the top. Therefore the actually 'number of attempts' on Everest is perhaps at least 10 times the stated figure.
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Postby radson » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:45 am

Baarb wrote:
RickF wrote:This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating.


This appears akin to the theory of risk, where:

Risk (Danger) = Hazard (Fatality ratio) x Vulnerability (Number of attempts)

I think there's something way off with your figures though, if you believe the stats off 8000ers.com ~4000 people have been up top of Everest, and who knows how many who didn't make it to the top. Therefore the actually 'number of attempts' on Everest is perhaps at least 10 times the stated figure.


yeah, thats what I thought on seeing those numbers. Probably best to look up Ms Elizabeth Hawley for those numbers.
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Postby nattfodd » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:20 am

RickF wrote:This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating


Well, now that exactly gives you the number of deaths on the mountain, since the definition of the fatality ratio is number of deaths / number of attempts.
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Postby visentin » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:39 pm

nattfodd wrote:
RickF wrote:This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating


Well, now that exactly gives you the number of deaths on the mountain, since the definition of the fatality ratio is number of deaths / number of attempts.


You should include in it also unsuccessful attempts which ended by non-fatal accidents too
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Postby Buz Groshong » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:21 pm

RickF wrote:This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating



Acutally, Number of attempts x fatality ratio = number of deaths.

Oops! Nattfodd beat me to it.
Last edited by Buz Groshong on Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Buz Groshong » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:24 pm

Scott wrote:
Total number of deaths.
Probably Mt Blanc. Some years back I read the mountain had claimed over 2000.


I've heard that too, but others have said that the 1000+ people killed on the mountain wasn't really correct even though you often read it.

Does anyone know the real figures or if 1000+ is correct?


This subject came up on an SP forum a few years ago. At the time I knew that the Matterhorn had about 1,000 deaths, and I learned that Mt. Blanc had over 2,000 (I think those were the numbers). This information came from reliable sources.
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Postby barrys » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:27 pm

A Chamonix guide and my landlord at the time both told me, about three years ago, that Mont Blanc had claimed over 2,000 lives - but that is the whole Massif, verte,drus and the rest. Of course it doesn't just cover climbers too - alot of skiiers/boarders round these parts.

To be the best of my knowledge, taken from a report in a swiss newspaper earlier in the summer, the Matterhorn has killed over 600 people. 1998 edition of 4000m Peaks by the classis routes claims it's 500, and also so says that average yearly number of deaths in the Mont Blanc massif is nearly into triple figures.

That said these figures have alot more to do with how popular these areas are than how dangerous the mountain is. I would think that Mont Blanc has more deaths related to 'mountain activities' (not suicides!) than any other but sounds like Kawakorpo/Kawagebo has to be a good candidate for most dangerous, or something around Latok or this......
http://www.summitpost.org/image/237197/ ... 6925m.html

Something that hasn't even been attempted due to it's difficulty (and not necessarily it's access) is a good candidate in my eyes. I guess that's a different question.....when talking about big peaks does hard = dangerous?
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Postby jddeetz » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:52 pm

I can't speak for the danger level of one peak vs. another.

Of course, the danger level of a route/mountain varies with the experience of the group that is attempting it! Some peaks like Denali I would imagine get a lot of traffic from inexperienced climbers which directly contributes to fatality.

On the other side of the coin random unpreventable accidents can and will occur. An avalanche, a weak snow bridge over a crevasse, or a rock falling on your head for example.
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Postby Luciano136 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:11 pm

nattfodd wrote:
RickF wrote:This is a danger rating method I propose:

Number of attempts x fatality ratio = rating


Well, now that exactly gives you the number of deaths on the mountain, since the definition of the fatality ratio is number of deaths / number of attempts.


LOL

Percentage is really the only way to go IMO. If you just take the number of deaths, driving a car is a lot more dangerous than climbing the mountain where all 19 people died.
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Postby Luciano136 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:17 pm

barrys wrote:.....when talking about big peaks does hard = dangerous?


I think there's probably a positive correlation between fatality ratio and difficulty.

There are certainly exceptions though because you might be able to protect a certain hard route better than another easier route, which could make the easier route more dangerous.
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