Everest - 8,848m, Central Himalaya, China/Nepal.
First ascent: 1953; E. Hillary, T. Norgay
The highest point on planet earth.
Mostly a non-technical climb regardless on which of the two normal routes you choose. On the south you have to deal with a dangerous ice fall and The Hillary Step, a short section of rock, on the north side there are some short technical passages. On both routes (permanent) fixed ropes are placed at the tricky sections. The altitude is main obstacle. Nowadays also crowding is mentioned as a factor of difficulty.
K2 - 8,611m, Baltoro, Northern Karakoram, China/Pakistan
First ascent:1954; A. Compagnoni, L. Lacedelli.
Possibly the world's most difficult mountain to climb.
Possibly the most difficult peak on earth. It’s high, there’s a high risk for avalanches, the weather is often bad and there are no easy route to the peak’s summit. The technical difficulty is high. A ridge on the north side offers a little lower difficulty, but suffers from extended problems with unsheltered exposure.
Kangchenjunga - 8,586m, South-East Himalaya, India/Nepal
First ascent:1955; G. Band, J. Brown.
It’s one of the largest of the peaks on the list and the way to its summit is long. This fact and the many short, but technical sections place Kangchenjunga firmly in the higher end of the list. The altitude is also a factor which solidify this.
Lhotse - 8,516m, Central Himalaya, China/Nepal
First ascent:1956; F. Luchsinger, E. Reiss.
The normal route starts with a dangerous icefall. Crowding, due to sharing route with Everest can be a problem. The altitude and exposure on the final parts are contributing to the peak’s reputation of being one in the middle of the list in terms of difficulty.
Makalu - 8,485m, Central Himalaya, China/Nepal
First ascent:1955; J. Couzy, L. Terray.
One of the more technical peaks and is amongst those considered hard climbs. Steep passages, both on rock and snow, exposure and avalanche danger makes this peak a tough target.
Cho Oyu - 8,188m, Central Himalaya, China/Nepal
First ascent:1954; S. Joechler, H. Tichy, P. Dawa Lama.
Arguably the easiest of the 8000 meter peaks.
Technically speaking the easiest of the 14. No technical climbing, but large snowfields and long distances. Many climbers has don’t reach the true summit, as it’s located some distance from where you enter the summit plateau and is only marginally higher than the fore summit.
Dhaulagiri - 8,167m, Dhaulagiri Himal(Himalaya), Nepal
First ascent:1960; K. Diemberger, P. Diener, M. Dorji, E. Forrer, N. Dorji, A. Schelbert
Considered to be a hard peak to climb by the pioneers in the area, but it’s nowadays considered as one on the lower half of the list. The normal route on the peak have some short technical sections and some avalanche danger, but overall it’s a quite straight forward climb.
Manaslu - 8,163m, Central SW Himalaya, Nepal
First ascent:1956; T. Imanishi, G. Norbu
On the lower half of the peak’s normal route, avalanche danger is usually a main problem. Higher on the peak, the climb is mostly non-technical and easy. Manaslu has one of the higher death rates and is considered a dangerous peak.
Nanga Parbat - 8,125m, Far West Himalaya, Pakistan
First ascent:1953; H. Buhl.
The first solo ascent of an 8000 meter peak.
Nanga Parbat’s normal route is not extremely technical, but it’s long and exposed. The mountain is infamous for bad weather and the route offers many tricky sections. It’s considered as one of the harder peaks.
Annapurna - 8,091m, Annapurna Himal (Himalaya), Nepal
First ascent:1950; M. Herzog, L. Lachenal.
The first 8000 meter peak to be climbed.
Considered the most dangerous of the 14. The north and its original route is not that technical, but extremely avalanche prone. The south is of high technical difficulty and also holds lots of objective danger.
Gasherbrum I - 8,080m, Baltoro, Northern Karakoram, China/Pakistan
First ascent:1958; A. Kaufman, P. Schoening
When the icefall and some easy ground have been covered, the climb gets more difficult. Steep mixed climbing and some objective danger makes Gasherbrum I a peak which belongs to the part of the list where you find the more difficult mountains.
Broad Peak - 8,051m, Baltoro, Northern Karakoram, China/Pakistan
First ascent:1957; H. Buhl, K. Diemberger, M. Schmuck, F. Winterstellar.
Considered a straight forward climb. The constant, but quite low angled steepness to the summit ridge can hold avalanche danger, but apart from that no technical surprises. Some rocky sections around the false summits and exposure offers the final test before reaching the true summit.
Gasherbrum II - 8,034m, Baltoro, Northern Karakoram, China/Pakistan
First ascent:1956; S. Larch, F. Moravec, H. Willenpart
Some years back G II was mentioned as one of the easiest 8000m peaks, usually together with Xixa and Cho Oyu. After the "Banana Ridge’s" collapse the climb has become more difficult. The main obstacles are the huge icefall, crevasses, some steep climbing on snow and the exposure on the final part.
Xixabangma Feng - 8,027m, Northern Central Himalaya, China
First ascent:1964; Chang Chun-yen, Wang Fu-zhou, Chen San, Cheng Tien-liang, Wu Tsung-yue, Sodnam Doji, Migmar Trashi, Doji, Yonten.
The last of the 8000 meter peaks to be summited.
Considered as one of the easiest and it is a non-technical climb, to the fore summit, that is. The final part to the true summit is an airy and sometimes dangerous walk on a knife edge ridge and therefore a majority of climbers only reach the fore summit. The rest of the climb is easy, but sometimes avalanche prone.
Xixabangma is many times erroneously spelled Shisha Pangma. The latter way of spelling is a survivor from the time when the non-Chinese speaking world still called Beijing for "Peking".