Mountain climbing is rapidly becoming more accessible and more popular. It’s one of the most exhilarating pastimes there is, but can be enjoyed by novices and extreme sports fans alike. Mountain climbing at the highest level is extremely tough. You will need to be exceptionally fit as well as up for a challenge.
Mountains such as Everest and the deadly K2 strike fear and awe into the hearts of mountaineers, desperate to enjoy the view from the top of the world. These climbs and many others are extremely dangerous. Even with smaller mountains it is always wise to take a guide.
The ultimate mountains to climb include:
Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (19330ft)
Mount Kilimanjaro is on many people’s bucket list. It is the tallest mountain in the continent of Africa. The mountain is actually a volcano and although quite a tall mountain it is not technically difficult. However, reaching the top is still a huge challenge and a fantastic achievement.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? No, you do need to be fit however. You will be hiking for roughly six hours a day at high altitudes.
How long does it take? It can take up to a week to climb. You will have to acclimatise to the altitude as you go.
How do I get there? Fly into Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania.
When do I go? The best times to climb are in the warmer months from June to October. January to March are colder but they are dry and the slopes are not as busy.
Mt Elbrus, Russia (18481ft)
Although the climb is not considered too difficult many people die on the mountain every year due to weather conditions. Many people underestimate this mountain. The south side is technically easier and includes a cable car part of the way up. You can then stay in huts. The north side is more difficult and more suitable for experienced climbers.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? No, you will get all the training you need on your expedition. You need to be quite fit however..
How long does it take? The expedition can take two weeks, as you will need time to prepare and acclimatise. The actual climb to the top can be done in a couple of days.
How do I get there? Fly into Mineralnye Vody airport from Moscow, St Petersburg, Munich, Dubai or Istanbul.
When do I go? Climb in the summer months between May and September.
The Matterhorn, Swiss and Italian Alps (14690ft)
The Matterhorn may not be the tallest mountain in the world, but it can be deadly. 500 people have died on it since it was first climbed. There are many levels, from beginner to expert, Climb in the summer months. It’s a very tough climb.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? No, the Matterhorn is considered moderate difficulty. However you must be sure footed and very fit.
How long does it take? The climb takes two days.
How do I get there? Fly to Geneva, Zuich or Milan and get a train to Zermatt.
When do I go? Late June to Mid September.
Mt McKinley, Alaska (20320ft)
Also known as Denali, Inuit for “the high one”. What is unique about this mountain is that it stands almost alone. It’s not a part of a massive mountain range. The mountains around it pale in comparison. Although not a technically difficult climb, it is made extremely difficult by the weather and the sheer size of the mountain. Climbing season is mid April to mid July.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? You should have intermediate climbing skills, especially snow and ice climbing. You should be extremely fit and have some experience at altitude. You will be carrying heavy weights for a long period of time.
How long does it take? Allow yourself three weeks.
How do I get there? Fly to Anchorage or Fairbanks and then get a bus or train to Denali National Park.
When do I go? Mid April to Mid July
K2 , border of Pakistan and China (28251ft)
K2 is the second highest mountain in the world and it is probably the most difficult climb in the world. K2 is extremely remote; it takes 8 days of hiking just to reach it.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? Yes. K2 is an extremely dangerous mountain. Combining avalanches, rockfalls and the altitude with the technical difficulty of the climb means only the very best should even attempt this mountain.
How long does it take? 6 weeks due to the trek to reach the mountain itself.
How do I get there? You can enter from Askole in Pakistan or not advised Kashgar in China.
When do I go? July and August.
Mount Everest, Nepal (29029ft)
The world’s highest mountain, Everest is the ultimate climb for any aspiring mountaineer. Altitude sickness and weather are a major danger on this peak.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? There are various routes and various levels of skill involved in climbing Everest. It is certainly a very dangerous mountain to summit due to the altitude and the weather. Many people trek to Base Camp.
How long does it take? Expeditions to Everest take two months.
How do I get there? Fly to Lukla Airport from Kathmandu.
When do I go? May, June, September or October.
Yanshou is a county in China and it is claimed by some to have the best rock climbing in Asia.
Do I need to be a skilled mountaineer? There are all levels of climbing here.
How do I get there? Fly to Guilin airport via Beijing or Hong Kong. There is a 90 minute bus trip from there.
When do I go? September and October.
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