Second only in height to Everest, K2 has an elevation of 28,251 feet. It's proven to be a deadly challenge for many climbers who attempt to scale its heights. As part of the Karakoram range, it's close to the borders of China and Pakistan. Feeling brave? Try climbing the most common route, the Abruzzi Spur, on the Pakistan side of K2, so named for the Duke of Abruzzi, Luigi Amadeo, who climbed K2 in 1909.
Most climbers start at a base camp around 5400 feet, and there are several routes besides the Abruzzi spur that climbers can use to scale to the top. K2, the "Savage Mountain," has claimed many lives of climbers over the years, but that doesn't deter the faithful few who brave the mountain and the elements to make it to the top. In fact, K2 has proved to be more fatal than any other mountain.
Although Everest is higher, K2 is considered a more difficult mountain to scale because of weather conditions and the length of the ascent. K2 is never scaled in the winter, an attempt which would be fatal. one interesting tidbit about K2 is that for a time it was thought to be cursed for women, because nearly every woman, perished in the climb. However, in recent years more women have been successful in their climbs than not.
While this formidable opponent can be scaled without oxygen, more recent expeditions have used oxygen in their climbs. K2 is so high that the effects of high altitude on the body can impede a climber's strength to make it to the top.