Having established itself as a hiking and trekking destination, Nepal certainly has something to offer to everyone. Regardless of your experience or skill set, there is always a hiking or trekking trail just right for you.
Of course, Nepal’s rise as one of the best countries for mountaineering comes off as no surprise, especially since the country is surrounded by no less than the Himalayan mountain ranges, multiple peaks, and eight of the 14 mountains exceeding the height of 8,000 meters.
If you want to experience hiking, trekking, or mountaineering in Nepal, then you should have at least a working knowledge of the mountains in the country. Consider this article as your quick guide to mountains in Nepal.
Highest mountains in Nepal
Each mountain has its own history and guidelines, which is why hiring a mountain guide on your first hike or trek in Nepal is incredibly important. Nonetheless, there are a couple of facts about mountains in Nepal which are, without a doubt, worth knowing. In this section, we will go through some the highest mountains in Nepal.
1) Mount Everest
First on the list, of course, is Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world at an elevation of 8,848 meters. Mount Everest is located in the Khumbu region and is part of the Mahalangur Himalayan range. The mountain has two main climbing routes: the first one accessible from Nepal and the other accessible from Tibet. This mountain is so high that its highest point penetrates the stratosphere, making the weather conditions at the peak of the mountain quite unforgiving. The popularity of this mountain generates high revenues in terms of tourism and the trekking business. Likewise, nearby towns and tourist spots have seen an upsurge in tourist visits over the years.
Just 125 kilometers from Mount Everest is Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, standing tall at an elevation of 8,586 meters. Part of the mountain is shared by a part of India. What makes the Kanchenjunga remarkable is that it has five prominent peaks, fondly referred to by the locals as “the five treasures of the snow”. This is because the peaks of Kanchenjunga are held by both Indians and Nepalis as sacred. Thus, very few individuals venture to hike this mountain.
Standing at a height of 8,516 meters, the Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world and is, in fact, a part of the Everest massif. The Lhotse has three prominent summits. Given that the Lhotse has the same route as Mount Everest, it is often regarded as a hiking alternative to the latter.
4) Mount Makalu
This is the fifth highest mountain in the world, with elevations of 8,481 meters. What makes Mount Makalu remarkable is that it is an isolated peak, right on the border between China and Nepal. Makalu also resembles a four-sided pyramid, making it a sight to behold. Given its steep gradients and sharp ridges, this mountain is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the world.
5) Mount Cho Oyu
With an elevation of 8,188 meters, Mount Cho Oyu is the sixth highest peak in the world. It lies just 20 kilometers from Mount Everest and serves as a natural border between China and Nepal. This peak’s name translates to “Turquoise Goddess” and was given to it due to its turquoise tint. Among the mountains above 8,000 meters, Mount Cho Oyu is considered as the most climbable. Due to its accessibility, Mount Cho Oyu is among the most popular peaks in Nepal and has a lot of recorded successful ascends.
At 8,167 meters, Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world. It forms part of the Mount Dhaulagiri massif. The Dhaulagiri is notable because it lies 35 kilometers west of Annapurna I. together, these two mountains create the deepest gorge in the world – the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Unlike most high mountains in Nepal which shares a border with neighboring countries, Dhaulagiri is entirely within Nepal.
Other popular mountains in Nepal
Of course, not everyone who visits Nepal is a professional mountain climber, so less intimidating mountains are also quite popular among tourists and locals alike. You certainly would not have a difficult time finding beginner-friendly trekking areas in Nepal, but the popular mountain trails are a good place to start if you want to make the most out of your Nepali experience.
ImjaTse, for example, is among the mountains below the 8,000-meter mark which is hailed as one of the most popular trekking peaks within the country. Kala Pattar is also a less intimidating mountain but is quite popular among hikers and trekkers, even those who are still beginners so to speak.
Unclimbed mountains in Nepal
With so many tourists flocking to Nepal to climb mountains, one would think that surely all mountains would have been climbed already – but this is certainly not the case. In fact, there are still a handful of mountains in Nepal which remain unexplored. A notable example is Mount Khumbila in the northeastern region of Nepal, which locals consider too sacred to climb. Mount Dragmarpo which lies at the border between Nepal and China has also yet to be explored.
Writing a comprehensive guide on the mountains in Nepal is an incredible feat which certainly cannot be accomplished in just one article. With the country’s unique topography, there are just so many mountains to talk about, each with its own unique characteristics. That said, for purposes of trekking, hiking, or mountaineering, your best bet is to pick one or two mountains and do extensive research on them. If this is your first time to climb a mountain, it is advisable that you avail of the services of a professional mountain guide who can give you a background on the mountain you intend to climb, while at the same time ensuring your safety during the entire adventure.
Nepal is truly a haven for mountain-lovers, so if you ever find yourself in the country, try to experience trekking in one of its numerous mountains.