Top 10 Greatest Mountaineers Of All Time (2022 Edition)

Before talking about the greatest mountaineers of all time, let’s first admit that Many of us keep hoping, all our lives, to spend some time in the mountains, watch the snowfall, climb the rough peaks, and feel on top of the world. We are happy when, in the breaks of our daily, mundane lives, we get an opportunity to escape to the cozy hill station or go mountaineering in the nearby ranges. These are like achievements of a lifetime for us. The actual experience also gives a fair idea of how difficult mountaineering can be.

Greatest Mountaineers of All Time | 2022 Updates

There are great and brave men who fight such difficulties and embrace a life in the mountains. To be a mountaineer and overcome the great peaks of the invincible mountain ranges of the world requires great strength, both physical and mental, as well as skill, bravery, intelligence, and presence of mind. Besides, it is also one of the toughest sports in the world. Let us look at the best mountaineers of all time.

10. Alberto Iñurrategi

Alberto Inurrategi

Spanish mountaineer Alberto Iñurrategi Iriarte climbed the peaks in an Alpine style using few lines and no bottled oxygen. He is the second Spaniard after Juanito Oiarzabal to climb all the above 8000-meter peaks in the world. His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of Makalu in 1991.

Iñurrategi eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully and became the tenth climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen. As he became the eight-thousanders club member, Iñurrategi climbed K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 1994, Cho Oyu in 1995,

Kangchenjunga in 1996, Lhotse in 1995, Mount Everest in 1992, Manaslu in 2000, Dhaulagiri in 1998, Nanga Parbat in 1999, Annapurna in 2002, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 2001, Broad Peak in 1997, Gasherbrum II in 2000 and Shishapangma in 1996. He now definitely deserves his place among the top 10 greatest mountaineers of all time.

9. Radek Jaroš

Radek Jaroš

Czech mountaineer and author Radek Jaroš climbed Kanchenjunga as the first Czech with Martin Minaík in 2002. To date, he is the only Czech climber to conquer all 14 eight-thousanders. His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of Mount Everest in 1998.

Jaroš eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully and became the thirty-third and the last climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen.

As he became the eight-thousanders club member, Jaroš climbed K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 2014, Cho Oyu in 2004, Kangchenjunga in 2002, Lhotse in 2011, Makalu in 2008, Manaslu in 2009, Dhaulagiri in 2008, Nanga Parbat in 2005, Annapurna in 2012, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 2010, Broad Peak in 2003, Gasherbrum II in 2010 and Shishapangma in 2004.

8. Andrew Lock

Andrew Lock

Australian mountaineer Andrew James Lock has achieved six first Australian ascents and four solo ascents. Andrew was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011 for his contribution to mountaineering. His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 1993.

Andrew eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully and became the eighteenth climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen.

As he became the eight-thousanders club member, Andrew climbed Mount Everest in 2000, Cho Oyu in 2004, Kangchenjunga in 2006, Lhotse in 2002, Makalu in 2008, Manaslu in 2002, Dhaulagiri in 1997, Nanga Parbat in 1998, Annapurna in 2007, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 1999, Broad Peak in 1997, Gasherbrum II in 1999 and Shishapangma in 2005. Besides, he now definitely deserves his place among the top 10 greatest mountaineers of all time.

7. Juanito Oiarzabal

Juanito Oiarzabal

Spanish Basque mountaineer Juan Eusebio Oiarzabal Urteaga is the first person to conquer the top 3 summits, Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga, twice. He lost all his toes in 2004 to frostbite after summiting K2. His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of Cho Oyu in 1985.

Oiarzabal eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully and became the sixth climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen.

As he became the eight-thousanders club member, Oiarzabal climbed Mount Everest in 1993, K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 1994, Kangchenjunga in 1996, Lhotse in 1995, Makalu in 1995, Manaslu in 1997, Dhaulagiri in 1998, Nanga Parbat in 1992, Annapurna in 1999, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 1997, Broad Peak in 1995, Gasherbrum II in 1987 and Shishapangma in 1998.

6. Silvio Mondinelli

Silvio Mondinelli

Italian mountaineer Silvio “Gnaro” Mondinelli was 49 years old when he summited the last of all 14 summits above 8000 meters. He is one of the founders of the non-profit organization “Amici del Monterosa” which works to develop the living conditions of the Nepalese people.

His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of Manaslu in 1993. Mondinelli eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully and became the thirteenth climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen.

While becoming the eight-thousanders club member, Mondinelli climbed Mount Everest in 2010, K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 2004, Kangchenjunga in 2003, Lhotse in 2006, Makalu in 2002, Cho Oyu in 1997, Dhaulagiri in 2001, Nanga Parbat in 2005, Annapurna in 2006, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 2001, Broad Peak in 2007, Gasherbrum II in 2001 and Shishapangma in 2006. Besides, he now holds his place among the top 10 greatest mountaineers of all time.

5. Carlos Carsolio

Carlos Carsolio

Mexican mountain climber Carlos Carsolio Larrea is the second youngest mountaineer to climb all of the 14 eight-thousander mountain peaks. Besides mountaineering, he is also a motivational speaker and a trained paraglider. His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1985.

Carsolio eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully. Besides, he became the fourth climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen.

As he became the eight-thousanders club member, Carsolio climbed Mount Everest in 1989, K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 1993, Kangchenjunga in 1992, Lhotse in 1994, Makalu in 1988, Cho Oyu in 1994, Dhaulagiri in 1995, Manaslu in 1996, Annapurna in 1995, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 1995, Broad Peak in 1994, Gasherbrum II in 1995 and Shishapangma in 1987.

4. Lino Lacedelli

Lino Lacedelli

Italian mountaineer Lino Lacedelli was the first man to reach the summit of K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen on 31st July 1954, along with Achille Compagnoni. He trained under the guidance of one of the best Dolomite rock climbers Luigi ‘Bibi’ Ghedina, in his teenage days. Lacedelli achieved international recognition with his second ascent of the east face of Bonatti-Ghigo in the Grand Capucin.

He did that in just 18 hours with Bibi Ghendina in 1951. Together with experienced Achille Compagnoni, they reached the summit of K2 as the first successful ascent on 31 July 1954 via the Abruzzi Ridge. He was awarded Italy’s highest honor, Knight of the Grand Cross, in 2005.

Besides his active mountain climbing career, he also wrote two of the bestselling books on mountaineering experience called “The Mountains of My Life” in 1995 and “K2: The Price of Conquest” in 2004. Lacedelli died on 20 November 2009 in Cortina d’Ampezzo at the age of 83. Besides, he now holds the fourth place in the list of the top 10 greatest mountaineers of all time.

3. Reinhold Messner

Reinhold Messner

Italian mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner is widely regarded as the greatest climber in history. Besides his active mountaineering career, he is the author of 63 books. His first successful expedition to Himalayan eight-thousanders was his ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1970.

Messner eventually summited all of the eight-thousanders peaks in the world successfully. And he also became the first climber with verified ascents of all the 14 eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen.

As he became the eight-thousanders club member, Messner climbed Mount Everest in 1978 and 1980, K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen in 1979, Kangchenjunga in 1982, Lhotse in 1986, Makalu in 1986, Cho Oyu in 1983, Dhaulagiri in 1985, Manaslu in 1972, Annapurna in 1985, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak in 1984, Broad Peak in 1982, Gasherbrum II in 1982 and Shishapangma in 1981. And now, he also definitely deserves his place among the top 10 greatest mountaineers of all time.

2. Tenzing Norgay

Tenzing Norgay

Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Namgyal Wangdi aka Tenzing Norgay, was one of the first two individuals, besides Sir Edmund Hillary, to have reached the summit of Mount Everest on 29th May 1953. Besides Hillary, he was also named as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time. He was born and brought up in Khumbu in northeastern Nepal.

He then went to central Nepal as a child to work for a Sherpa family. Norgay was originally born with the name ‘Namgyal Wangdi’. But, his name was changed to Tenzing Norgay on the advice of the head lama. His new name stands for “wealthy-fortunate-follower-of-religion”.

Tenzing received the George Medal from Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts on the successful expedition of first Mount Everest. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1959. He also received the Order of the Star of Nepal by King Tribhuvan of Nepal in 1953.

1. Sir Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary

New Zealand explorer, mountaineer, and philanthropist Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was part of the ninth British expedition to Everest led by John Hunt and became the first of the climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.

He was also named as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time. He did his first major climb by reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier in 1939. Hillary served Force as a navigator in the Royal New Zealand Air during World War II. He also reached the South Pole overland as a part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1958.

Besides, Hillary is the first person to reach the summit of Everest and both the poles. Before the successful British attempt of 1953, he was also a part of a British reconnaissance expedition led by Eric Shipton to Everest in 1951. Edmund Hillary definitely deserves the top place among the top 10 greatest mountaineers of all time.

Honorable Mentions

11. Józef Jerzy Kukuczka

Jozef Jerzy Kukuczka

Polish high-altitude mountaineer and alpinist Józef Jerzy Kukuczka is the second only man to Reinhold Messner to have summited all 14 8-thousand-meter peaks that took him just over eight years to complete. He is also the only man to climb two of these deadly peaks in winter.

Known as the pioneer of winter ascent, Kukuczka summited four 8-thousand-meter peaks in his life. Out of which, three were the first ascents. He also established the iconic “Polish Line” along with his climbing partner Tadeusz Piotrowski while they climbed K2. However, no one has ever dared to repeat that route.

Sadly, he lost his life while attempting the unclimbed South Face of Lhotse peak on 24th October 1989. But till his death, he has climbed the 8-thousand-meter peaks a record sixteen times.

12. Nirmal Purja

Nirmal Purja

British mountaineer of Nepalese Gurkha descent, Nirmal “Nims” Purja, first served the British Army as a part of their Royal Navy before taking up mountaineering as a full-time profession. He is the first person in history to climb all the 14 8-thousand-meter peaks in just six months and six days.

And while accomplishing this unbelievable feat, he also created a record of summiting Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu within just 48 hours. Unbelievable it may sound, but he is the first climber to successfully summited the toughest mountain, K2, in a winter ascent.

He created numerous records during his journey to accomplish his attempt of “Project Possible.” He summited the top three highest mountains in the world, Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga, in the fastest possible times. He also documented his journey in a documentary called “14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible,” available on Netflix.

Conclusion

These mountaineers and many more have shown exceptional tenacity in their quests. There are many more mountaineers who have embarked upon dangerous journeys into the mountains. Some have conquered the highest mountains; some have died trying. And many have been left with wounds. However, they are all the greatest mountaineers who have made it to the top of the world.

Greatest Mountaineers Of All Time – Infographics

Greatest Mountaineers of All Time - Infographics
Infographics: Greatest Mountaineers of All Time

FAQs Regarding Greatest Mountaineers

Q. Who are famous mountaineers?

Tenzing Norgay was one of the two first mountaineers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, along with Edmund Hillary. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Q. Has any Indian climbed Mount Everest?

Indians conquered Mount Everest in the 1960s, despite its difficulty. Captain M.S. Kohli was the first Indian to climb it in 1965. Edmund Hillary became the first person to attempt the climb of the mountain range on 29th May 1953. The mountain range lies along the Nepal and China border.

Q. Who climbed all mountains?

Italian Reinhold Messner was the first person to summit all 14 eight-thousanders without using supplementary oxygen in 1986. Edurne Pasaban became the first woman to summit all 14 eight-thousanders with the aid of supplemental oxygen in 2010. And recently, Nirmal “Nims” Purja became the quickest mountaineer to summit all the 8-thousand-meter peaks in just over six months.

Q. Which country is full of mountains?

Most of China’s terrain has high elevations, including Mount Everest, which lies at the border of China and Nepal. In addition to Switzerland, most famous for skiing and the Alps, there are other extremely mountainous countries around the globe.

Last Updated On: September 2022

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7 thoughts on “Top 10 Greatest Mountaineers Of All Time (2022 Edition)”

  1. How did Nims Purja break all the records on the list of all these people and come in #12?

    How did you come up with this
    This doesn’t make any sense

    Reply
    • Lame reasoning. First, he doesn’t break all the records. He climbed most of the mountains with supplemented oxygen, which several climbers didn’t. In fact, Messner and Kukuzcka did that without using any oxygen at all. You kindly do your research before claiming he “broke all records”.

      And second, the gadgets he is using now, do you think Kukuzca and Tenzing used that same kind of gadgets? No, not all! They climbed it with basic instruments.

      Thirdly, that reasoning is absolutely wrong that if someone can break a record he will be the greatest. Mallory has had the guts to attempt which everyone thinks is unclimbable. And Purja, on the other hand, climbed those mountains when at least hundreds of other climbers have already conquered it.

      Fourth, there are several climbers who had established new routes, as Kukuzca did for K2 which no one ever dared to even attempt. Please find a single new route which is established by Nims.

      I myself am a big fan of Purja. And I do consider him as one of the greatest mountaineers of all time. But yes, in 12th place.

      Reply

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