Mountaineering, one of the noblest of sports, has had a spike of popularity in recent years. And why not? It's challenging, rewarding, physical, awe inspiring and is a great excuse to get out into the wilderness. Unfortunately, this increased interest has meant that it's not uncommon to see traffic jams on the slopes of Everest and other such craziness.
Even with all this activity, there are still plenty of big, scary, beautiful and wild mountains that no one has ever set foot on top of. Who knows what you'll find up there? You might even spot a 5,000 year old mummified iceman or ice maiden.
Naming the highest unclimbed mountains in the world is fraught with difficulty and controversy. How do we know if they're unclimbed? Well, one can never be too sure, but despite this, I think it's pretty amazing that there's still some wild places in the world yet to be fully explored. Here's a list of some of the biggest mountains still to be summited.
No. 5 - Karjiang, Tibet, 7,221 meters
Located in Tibet, near the border of Bhutan, this is a very technical mountain and prone to avalanches. There's plenty of steep rock and ice to get through before reaching the summit (we presume, nobody has done it yet). It's been attempted a couple of times but the elusive summit has evaded all who have tried.
No. 4 - Labuche Kang III, Tibet, 7,250 meters
The tallest peak on this Tibetan beauty (Labuche Kang I) has only been attempted twice before (in 1987 and again in 2010) and only one of those times was successful. The second attempt in 2010 lead to the death of an American climber. Labuche Kang III is yet to be climbed, so overall, this is a pretty untouched mountain.
No. 3 - Kabru North Summit, Nepal, 7,394 meters
The Kabru Massif is located on the border of Nepal and India, just south of the world's third highest mountain Kangchenjunga. A team tried to climb it in 2004 but didn't make it due to heavy avalanche activity. There are several summits that have been climbed on the Massif, including the nearby Kabru South, which is the southern most 7,000 metre peak in the world.
No. 2 - Muchu Chhish, Pakistan, 7,543 meters
This is arguably the tallest unclimbed mountain in the world that's legally climbable. It's part of the Batura mountain range in the Karakorum. It's basically a really long ridge-line of very high mountains and Muchu Chhish happens to be one of the summits along the ridge. It's prone to avalanches and to summit, you're in for a very long traverse.
No. 1 - Gangkhar Puensum, Bhutan, 7,570 meters
This is the highest mountain in Bhutan and lies in the north of the country near the border of Tibet. Bhutan opened it's borders for mountain climbing in 1983 and but closed them again in 1994. During that time, there were four unsuccessful attempts. Bhutan has banned climbing any mountain higher than 6,000 metres to respect local spiritual beliefs.