The eight-thousanders are the 14 independent mountains on Earth that are more than 8,000 metres (26,247 ft) high above sea level. They are all located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia.
The first recorded attempt on an eight-thousander took place on the expedition by Albert F. Mummery, and J. Norman Collie to Nanga Parbat in the territory of Kashmir (in present day Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan) in 1895; this attempt failed as Mummery and two Gurkhas, Ragobir and Goman Singh, were killed by an avalanche.
The first recorded successful ascent of an eight-thousander was by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, who reached the summit of Annapurna on June 3, 1950.
The first person to climb all 14 eight-thousanders was Reinhold Messner, who completed this task on October 16, 1986. A year later, in 1987, Jerzy Kukuczka became the second climber to accomplish this feat. Messner had summitted each of the 14 peaks without the aid of supplemental oxygen. This feat was not repeated until nine years later by Erhard Loretan in 1995. As of 2011[update], a total of 26 people have summitted all 14 peaks undisputedly. This is an extremely hazardous feat; at least four people have died while in pursuit of this goal. Phurba Tashi of Nepal has completed the most climbs of the eight-thousanders, with 26 ascents between 1998 and 2011. Juanito Oiarzabal has completed the second most, with a total of 25 times from 1985 to 2011.
An ultra prominent peak, or Ultra for short, is a mountain with a topographic prominence of 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) or more. There are a total of roughly 1,515 such peaks in the world. Some are famous even to non-climbers, such as Mount Everest, Aconcagua, and Mount McKinley (the top three by prominence), while others are much more obscure. Some famous peaks, such as the Matterhorn and Eiger, are not Ultras because they are connected to higher mountains by high passes and therefore do not achieve enough topographic prominence.
The term "Ultra" is due to earth scientist Stephen Fry, from his studies of the prominence of peaks in Washington state in the 1980s. His original term was "ultra major mountain", referring to peaks with at least 5,000 ft (1,524 m) of prominence.