The Worlds Highest Unclimbed Mountain – Gangkhar Puensum

Worlds Highest Unclimbed Mountain

There’s only a few places left in the world that have been untouched by humans. Mountain peaks and ocean bottoms are some of them, but given the near impossibility of getting to the ocean floor it is often mountain peaks that are seen as getting away from it all. While Everest is the worlds highest and arguably the worlds most famous peak, it’s Gangkhar Puensum, the worlds highest unclimbed mountain that represents a true escape into the wilderness.

Gangkhar Puensum

Gangkhar Puensum, is Bhutan’s highest peak, also the worlds highest unclimbed mountain. It stands at a cool 7,570 metres (24,836 ft) high (1). It’s name translates roughly into ‘White Peak of the Three Brothers’.

Bhutan has historically protected it’s pristine environment and cultural traditions against outside influences. It was only after 1983 that the country opened up to mountain climbers, long after Everest had been submitted.

The Window to climb it however has short lived. In 1994 Bhutan announced that it was banning the ascent of all peaks over 6000 meters in order protect the spirits who live on the top. There were four expeditions that attempted to climb this peak in this window, however, all of them failed.

Similar to Everest in the fact that it lies on the Chinese border. This Mountain is hard to even locate. Wildly inaccurate mapping of the region meant the first expedition to climb Gangkhar Puensum failed as they couldn’t even locate the mountain.

Getting there:

It’s hard, really hard. To start with you’ll need to fly into Paro (code PBH). The only airline allowed to fly in are Druk Air. You’ll then need to get to the small (and we mean small) settlement of Napse. Getting to the mountain from there is anyone’s guess. It’s at least a 20km hike to the base of the mountain, but the area is densely wooded and there are no paths. You’re not allowed to climb it even if you get there, so all in it’s a bit of a non starter!

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