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The Most Difficult Mountain Climbs in the World

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What makes a mountain climb difficult? Is it the number of people who died trying to conquer the summits or the high altitude and risk for avalanches? All of these and more.

Unpredictable weather, falling rocks, slippery walls and extremely steep climbs only make the trip more dangerous. Some difficult mountains are not tested very often which is why they don't claim a lot of victims. Others, like Everest, are more popular, which means more people trying to reach the top, resulting in more deaths.

The Matterhorn, Switzerland and Italy

Most Difficult Mountain Climbs

Classifying the most difficult and dangerous mountain climbs is not easy. Numbers can be taken out of context, anecdotes can be exaggerated and assumptions can be wrong. Also, climbing can be less difficult than descending because people are exhausted and cold, but still have to make it down alive.

Legendary mountains continue to lure adventurers; in some cases, the more difficult the climb is, the better. But bad weather and dangerous crevasses can turn expeditions into survival quests.

With 58 parks in the National Parks Service, choosing can be overwhelming because each offers a unique experience. The following list includes some of the best destinations for every traveler - the kind who likes popular places, underexplored off the beaten path or most accessible.

- Hristina Byrnes, The Active Times