highest mountain ranges

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 long-stretching mountain ranges, including countless mountains each.

All of the ten highest mountains in the world are part of just the two highest mountain ranges in the world. The following list therefore lists 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.

Location: Bhutan, China, India, Nepal & Pakistan
Peak mountain: Mount Everest (8,848 meters / 29,029 feet) in Nepal/China

The Himalayas are of course first and foremost known for 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 the range also separates 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 “Abode of snow”.


2. Karakoram

highest mountain ranges in the world - karakoram  k2
The Karakoram mountain range with the K2 in the center.

Location: Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan & Tajikistan
Peak mountain: K2 (8,611 meters / 28,251 feet) in China/Pakistan

The Karakoram is the second-highest mountain range in the world. It stretches over Afghanistan 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. Aside from climbers, the range also attracts the interest of geologists worldwide, as it lies at the boundary between the Eurasian and the Indo-Australian plates and is therefore highly geologically active. 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

Location: Afghanistan, Pakistan & Tajikistan
Peak mountain: Tirich Mir (7,708 meters / 25,289 feet) in Pakistan

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
The Pamir Mountains with the Kongur Tagh in the background.
Source: Hiroki Ogawa / Licensed under CC BY 3.0

Location: Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan
Peak mountain: Kongur Tagh (7,649 meters / 25,095 feet) in China

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 that 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

Location: China
Peak mountain: Mount Gongga (7,556 meters / 24,790 feet)

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. It can 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

Location: China & Krygyztan
Peak mountain: Jengish Chokusu (7,439 meters / 24,406 feet) in China/Kyrgyzstan

The Kakshaal Too is a mountain range located mostly in Kyrgyzstan, but also reaching China. Its highest point, Mount Jengish Chokusu, lies on the Kyrgyz-Chinese border and claims the title of the highest peak in Kyrgyzstan. The name of Kakshaal Too is Kyrgyz and means “Blue Range”.


7. Kunlun Mountains

The Kunlun Mountains with Liushi Shan in the middle.

Location: China
Peak mountain: Liushi Shan (7,167 meters / 23,514 feet)

The Kunlun Mountains is a mountain range in China, situated to the north of the Tibetan Plateau. Mount Liushi Shan, stands as the highest peak of the Kunlun range and is also called the “Kunlun Goddess”. All of the Kunlun Mountains carry high historical and mythological significance in Chinese civilization, often associated with celestial mountains.


8. Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains

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

Location: China
Peak mountain: Mount Nyenchen Tanglha (7,162 meters / 23,497 feet)

The Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains represent another significant mountain range in China, nestled to the north of the Tibetan Plateau. The range is named after Mount Nyenchen Tanglha, which is the highest mountain in this range. Nyenchen Tanglha is deeply rooted in Tibetan culture and mythology, where the mountain has long been seen as a deity.


9. Andes

The Andes with the Aconcagua in the middle.
Source: Beatriz Moisset / Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Venezuela
Peak mountain: Aconcagua (6,962 meters / 22,837 feet) in Argentina

The Andes stand as the highest mountain range outside of Asia. Located in Western South America, the range spans seven countries, including Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and even reaching Venezuela. Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua represents the highest mountain of the Andes. The range’s name likely originates from the Quechua language, meaning “East”, as the Quechua people lived in modern-day Peru and had the Andes to their east.


10. Cordillera de la Ramada

The Cordillera de la Ramada with the Mercedario.
Source: Andes Vertical

Location: Argentina
Peak mountain: Mercedario (6,720 meters / 22,050 feet)

The list of the ten highest mountain ranges in the world concludes with the Cordillera de la Ramada. Located entirely in northwestern Argentina, the range is especially known for its peak mountain, the Mercedario. The range’s name is Spanish and translates to “Range of the Shelter”.


The 10 Highest Mountain Ranges in the World

Top 10 Highest Mountain Ranges in the World:
1. HIMALAYAS
Peak mountain: Mount Everest (8,848 meters / 29,029 feet)
2. KARAKORAM
Peak mountain: K2 (8,611 meters / 28,251 feet)
3. HINDU KUSH
Peak mountain: Tirich Mir (7,708 meters / 25,289 feet)
4. PAMIR MOUNTAINS
Peak mountain: Kongur Tagh (7,649 meters / 25,095 feet)
5. DAXUE MOUNTAINS
Peak mountain: Mount Gongga (7,556 meters / 24,790 feet)
6. KAKHSAAL TOO
Peak mountain: Jengish Chokusu (7,439 meters / 24,406 feet)
7. KUNLUN MOUNTAINS
Peak mountain: Luishi Shan (7,167 meters / 23,514 feet)
8. NYENCHEN TANGLHA MOUNTAINS
Peak mountain: Mount Nyenchen Tanglha (7,162 meters / 23,497 feet)
9. ANDES
Peak mountain: Aconcagua (6,961 meters / 22,837 feet)
10. CORDILLERA DE LA RAMADA
Peak mountain: Mercedario (6,720 meters / 22,050 feet)
The ten highest mountain ranges in the world by peak height.

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