Top 10 Highest Mountain Ranges in the World

Nothing on this planet stands taller than a mountain. The world’s highest mountains such as the Mount Everest or the K2 are powerful monuments of nature. But even the highest mountains in the world do not come alone. They are usually part of their respective mountain ranges. The 10 highest mountains in the world all are just part of the two highest mountain ranges in the world. The following list therefore shows you the world’s highest mountain ranges sorted by the respective peak mountain height. Just a heads up: The Asian continent very clearly dominates this ranking.

The 10 Highest Mountain Ranges in the World

top 10 highest mountain ranges in the world

1. Himalayas

mount everest in the himalayas - highest mountain and highest mountain ranges
The Himalayas with the Mount Everest in the center.
Source: shrimpo1967 / Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Himalayas are of course first and foremost known for the Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, which lies at the border of Nepal and China. But the mountain range offers a lot more mountains that almost all belong to the world’s highest peaks. The Himalayas stretch across five countries (Bhutan, China, India, Nepal & Pakistan) and and the range is also separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau in China. The name derives from the Sanskrit words hima (“Snow”) and a-laya (“receptacle”) and the mountain range can therefore be translated to “Snow receptacle” or alternatively “Abode of snow”.

2. Karakoram

second highest mountain range
The K2 within the Karakoram mountain range

The Karakoram is the second highest mountain range in the world. It begins in Afghanistan and stretches over the territories of China, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. The range’s peak mountain, the K2, is the second highest mountain on Earth. The mountain also marks the border between China and Pakistan. The name “Karakoram” is Turkic in origin and can be translated to “Black gravel”.

3. Hindu Kush

hindu kush - highest mountain ranges
The Hindu Kush mountain range with Tirich Mir in the background
Source: Msanamsaeed / Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bordering both the Himalayas and the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush represents the third highest mountain range in the world. The Hindu Kush is mostly located in Afghanistan, but also stretches to northern Pakistan and Tajikistan. Its peak mountain, the Tirich Mir, is located entirely in Pakistan, however. The origins of the name are not exactly clear. While “Hindu” obviously refers to Hindus, the meaning of the word “Kush” is uncertain, but could be derived from the Persian language, where it means “to kill”. The mountain range could therefore be translated to “Hindu Killer” referring to the many Indians who died trying to climb or pass the mountain range in the past.

4. Pamir Mountains

pamir mountains - fourth of the highest mountain ranges
Pamir Mountains with the Kongur Tagh in the background
Source: Hiroki Ogawa / Licensed under CC BY 3.0

The Pamir Mountains collectively form the fourth highest mountain range in the world. The range is a direct neighbor of the Himalayas, the Karakoram as well as the Hindu Kush. While most of the Pamir Mountains lie in Tajikistan, the range’s peak mountain, the Kongur Tagh, lies entirely in China. The mountain range also stretches to parts of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. There are many theories on the origins of the range’s name, none of which could be confirmed with certainty so far. The mountain range has historically also been referred to as the “Roof of the World”, a title which it now shares with the neighboring ranges.

5. Daxue Mountains

daxue mountains - top 5 highest mountain ranges
The Daxue Mountains with Mount Gongga
Source: rheins / Licensed under CC BY 3.0

The Daxue Mountains form the fifth highest mountain range in the world. It lies entirely within China, in the Southwest Chinese province of Sichuan to be exact. Mount Gongga represents the peak mountain of the range. The name is therefore unsurprisingly Chinese in nature. It can literally be translated to “Great Snow Mountains”.

6. Kakshaal Too

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The Kakshaal Too with the Jengish Chokusu as seen from the Chinese side
Source: lwtt93 / Licensed under CC BY 3.0

7. Kunlun Mountains

Kunlun-Gebirge, Im Freien, Bergsteiger, Die Wild, Alpin
The Kunlun Mountains with Liushi Shan to the right

8. Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains

The Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains with Mount Nyenchen Tanglha in the foreground
Source: Pseudois / Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

9. Andes

andes - highest mountains outside asia
The Aconcagua in Argentina within the Andes
Source: Beatriz Moisset / Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

10. Cordillera de la Ramada

second of the highest mountains outside asia
The Mercedario within the Cordillera de la Ramada
Source: Nazzarro / Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The 10 Highest Mountain Ranges in the World
(at a glance)

Top 10 Highest Mountain Ranges in the World:
Peak mountain: Mount Everest (8,848 meters / 29,029 feet)
Peak mountain: K2 (8,611 meters / 28,251 feet)
Peak mountain: Tirich Mir (7,708 meters / 25,289 feet)
Peak mountain: Kongur Tagh (7,649 meters / 25,095 feet)
Peak mountain: Mount Gongga (7,556 meters / 24,790 feet)
Peak mountain: Jengish Chokusu (7,439 meters / 24,406 feet)
Peak mountain: Luishi Shan (7,167 meters / 23,514 feet)
Peak mountain: Mount Nyenchen Tanglha (7,162 meters / 23,497 feet)
Peak mountain: Aconcagua (6,961 meters / 22,837 feet)
Peak mountain: Mercedario (6,720 meters / 22,050 feet)
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