GHT Blog

8 of Nepal’s most iconic peaks

December 29, 2016

When it comes to mountains, size matters. If you want to see big mountains, come trekking in Nepal. This spectacular Himalayan nation is home to 8 of the world’s 14 mountains over 8,000 meters, and a journey along the Great Himalaya Trails will introduce you to many of these iconic peaks.

With the help from fellow Instagrammers, who have shared their images from the trails with GHT’s official hashtag #MyGHT, we will acquaint you with Nepal’s stunning topography before you head out on your own trekking adventure. Come along now, the mountains are calling.

1) Mount Everest

Mount Everest is the Mecca of mountains for mountaineers, adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. The giant of giants straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet and is considered sacred by the people of both regions. Surrounded by soaring peaks this black pyramid-shaped rock can seem deceptively unassuming to the beholder below. It’s not surprising that first Dhaulagiri and later Kanchenjunga were thought to be the tallest mountain in the world before Everest was confirmed in 1856.

ON THE BIG SCALE: 8,848 m (1st)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Mount Everest is named after a Welsh surveyor who charted much of India in the mid-1800’s. Locally the mountain is known by its Nepali name Sagarmatha, meaning “forehead in the sky” and in Tibetan as Chomolungma, meaning “goddess mother of mountains”.
GETTING THERE: Everest Base Camp Trek


A photo posted by Ujjwal Rai (@uzzool) on

2) Ama Dablam

Regarded by many as the most beautiful mountain in the Himalayas, Ama Dablam graces the skies for days on the Everest Base Camp trek. She is sometimes referred to as the Matterhorn of the Himalayas due to her very recognizable features of soaring ridges and steep faces.

ON THE BIG SCALE: Main peak 6,812 m (145th) and lower peak 6,170 m
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Ama Dablam means “Mother’s Necklace” in Nepali, (ama meaning mother and dablam meaning necklace) because the ridges extending from both sides of the main peak resemble a mother’s outstretched arms protecting her child. The hanging glacier in the center is thought to look like the traditional double-pendant worn by Sherpa women.
GETTING THERE: Everest Base Camp Trek

3) Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga, the third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the easternmost part of the Great Himalaya Trails and consists of 5 separate peaks. The mountain is considered holy by the locals and therefore ascending climbers always stop just short of the summit to honor an old promise to keep the sacred summit untouched by man.

ON THE BIG SCALE: 8,586 m (3rd)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: In Tibetan the name Kanchenjunga means “five treasures of snow”, named so after the massif’s five high peaks. Some locals believe that there are hidden treasures at the summits that will be revealed to a devout when the world is in peril.
GETTING THERE: Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek

4) Lhotse

The fourth tallest mountain in the world was first officially summited by a Swiss climbing team on May 18, 1956 in a double peak expedition to reach Lhotse for the first time and Everest for the second time. This endeavor was made relatively convenient as Lhotse is joined to Everest by a ridge and shares a climbing route as far as Everest’s camp III where the paths then diverge. Besides the main summit there are two additional peaks, Lhotse Middle (8,414 m) and Lhotse Shar (8,383 m).

ON THE BIG SCALE: 8,516 m (4th)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Lhotse is connected to Mount Everest via the South Col and its name suitably means “South Peak” in Tibetan.
GETTING THERE: Everest Base Camp trek

A photo posted by Jocelyn Chavy (@jocelynchavy) on

5) Pumori

Mount Pumori is one of our favorite peaks to admire on the trail to Everest, and also one of the most popular 7,000+ m mountains to climb in Nepal. This mountain lies just 8 km to the west of Mount Everest and is known for its good views of Nepal, Tibet and Everest.
The outlier just below the south face of Pumori is called Kala Patthar (5,643m) and it is a popular spot for trekkers to get close-up views of Mount Everest.

ON THE BIG SCALE: 7,161 m (101st)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Pumori means “Unmarried Daughter” in the language spoken by the Sherpa people and she was named so by George Mallory. However, many climbers call the mountain “Everest’s Daughter” due to its proximity to Mount Everest.
GETTING THERE: Everest Base Camp trek

6) Machapuchare

Machapuchare (or Fishtail Mountain) is one of the most iconic and recognizable mountains on the Himalayan horizon. The mountain is considered sacred and has supposedly never been climbed to summit. Visitors can admire her from the city of lakes, Pokhara, only 25 km away, or from one of the many trails in the Annapurna Conservation Area.

ON THE BIG SCALE: 6,993 m (124th)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: The mountain is named Machapuchare, meaning “fishtail” in Nepali, due to its double summit that resembles the tail of a fish.
GETTING THERE: Mardi Himal trek or Annapurna Base Camp trek 


Dhaulagiri I is the seventh tallest mountain in the world and was famously deemed impossible to climb by French expedition leader Maurice Herzog who in 1950 aborted his attempt and instead changed his plans to summit Annapurna I. For 30 years Dhaulagiri I was thought to be the tallest mountain in the world.
The mountain is easily recognized for its dazzlingly white and wide mound shape and can be spotted from many treks in the Annapurna region.

ON THE BIG SCALE: 8,167 m (7th)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: The name Dhaulagiri comes from the two Sanskrit words “dhavali giri” meaning “White Mountain” or (less cited) “Dazzling Mountain”.
GETTING THERE: Upper Mustang trek and Annapurna Dhaulagiri Community Trek

8) Manaslu

The Manaslu Conservation Area has long been popular amongst adventurous trekkers seeking secluded wilderness, insights into authentic Hindu and Tibetan culture and spectacular views of the region’s namesake, and eighth tallest mountain in the world, Mount Manaslu.

According to Nepali mountaineer (and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2016) Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, Manaslu is “emerging as one of the best trekking options in Nepal”.  While there are many routes to choose from, one of the most popular treks is the Manaslu Circuit, which follows an ancient salt trading around the base of the iconic two-horned mountain.

ON THE BIG SCALE: 8,163 m (8th) 
 Manaslu means “mountain of the spirit” in Nepali.

GETTING THERE: Manaslu Circuit trek

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