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K2 vs Everest which is more dangerous
08:15 a.m. EDT Jun 22, 2003
Thereís an often a lot of questions about K2 vs. Everest. Which is harder, which is more dangerous? As far as difficulty factor goes, one thought is that via the normal routes on both mountains, K2ís Abruzzi Ridge surpasses Everestís, Northeast Ridge and South Col routes. However, there are a number of lesser-climbed routes on Everest that far surpass K2ís Abruzzi Ridge, and give some of K2ís most difficult routes a run for their money.

Another question thatís asked a lot is, which mountain is more dangerous? In sheer number of deaths, Everest has all the 8000ers beat, with over 175. In contrast, K2 has less than a third of that with only 52 deaths. Donít let these numbers fool you though, because Everest also has had many more summits than K2. A better gauge is to look at the summit to fatality ratio, which compares the amount of people who have summited the mountain to the amount that have died on it. While Everest summits are now over 1700, K2 still only has 198.

When calculated, K2 has a 26% summit/fatality ratio, while Everest comes in with a much lower at 10%. These numbers are accurate to last December, and with a record number of summits this spring and only several deaths on Everest, thereís a chance that the 10% figure might even wane a bit. K2 is third in the 8000er summit/fatality ratios, while Everest is just about smack dab in the middle holding the 8th slot. Annapurna is atop the list at 44% ratio, with Nanga Parbat having a 30% ratio. To answer the question about which is more dangerous, Everest or K2? The numbers show that K2 clearly takes the cake.

ExplorersWeb archive images of Everest (left) and K2 (right).

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