#2. K2, border of Pakistan and China 8,611 metres (28,251 ft.)
The world’s second highest mountain is known among climbers as one of the most technically difficult in the world. Ascents of even the easiest route require crossing a complicated glacier, ascending steep sections of rock, and negotiating a path around a series of ice pillars, called seracs, which are prone to collapse without warning. The technical difficulty of this mountain makes it one of the most committing and dangerous in the world. The first woman to reach the summit was the legendary Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz, who got to the top in June 1986. Over the next 18 years all five female climbers who summited this peak were killed. Three died during the descent down K2, two others on nearby mountains. Rutkiewicz also perished close by, on Kangchenjunga in 1992. The curse was finally broken in 2004 by Edurne Pasaban, a 31-year-old Spanish mountaineer, who remains alive to this day.