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K2.

Listed under Mountains in Pakistan.

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Photo by flickr user reurinkjan
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Always number two, K2 is the world's second highest mountain with a peak reaching 8,611metres. The name, or lack of name is like a mark of disrespect – it comes from a Trigonometric Survey made in 1856. Then it was common to use the local names for mountains, and while K1 became Masherbrum, K2's local name Chogori, meaning 'The King of Mountains' was less known and contested, so it's stuck with its abbreviation, which some climbers find appropriate. K2's bare rock and ice makes it one of the planet's most lethal peaks and one out of every four climbers who attempt it die there, so the harsh impersonal name seems to stick.

The mountain is reached from the end of the Baltoro Glacier, and despite numerous attempts and lives lost, it wasn't conquered until 1954. Although Everest is technically higher, K2 is more difficult to summit, partly because of the notoriously poor weather, and partly because it's pack is so much higher than the surrounding topography. Only about ten percent of the climbers who attempt the mountain make it to the top – which is only about 300 people so far.

Written by  JP Condella.

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