The 14 official eight-thousanders, the tallest mountains on Earth, may be joined by five new peaks this fall.
From the shortest (Shishapangma – 8,027 meters or 26,335 feet) to the tallest (Everest – 8,848 meters or 29,035 feet), there are only 14 mountains on Earth that measure at least 8,000 meters above sea-level. Conveniently, all of these mountains, referred to as eight-thousanders, are found within close-proximity of each other in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia.
Unfortunately, there will never be any more eight-thousanders – at least not for the next several million years, when Gyachung Kang, on the border of Nepal and China, will grow 48 meters taller. The eight-thousanders may be set in stone, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be new 8,000 meter climbs. This fall, previously prohibited lines to secondary summits adjacent to the major 8,000 meter peaks will be opened to climbers.
When the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) next meets, five new peaks may be opened for climbing – Lhotse Middle, Lhoste Shar, Kanchenjunga South, Kanchenjunga Central and Kanchenjunga West. The main reason influencing this decision is overcrowding. By opening up new lines, the UIAA hopes to reduce dangerous bottlenecks on some of the most popular climbing terrain.
Another reason the UIAA is considering opening these new peaks is the potential revenue brought in by permit fees and mountaineering costs. Opening up new lines will increase valuable tourist dollars in the country. The UIAA will decide on the new eight-thousanders in early October.
For now, adventurer Nick Cienski is set to take on the current tallest mountains on Earth in Mission 14.
Cover Photo Credit: Ivan Borisov / Flickr.com