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Extreme Adventures: The Five Best Mountains to Climb in the World

By Cristiana , in General , at April 16, 2023

Nepalese climber Sanu Sherpa recently made headlines for climbing the world’s 14 highest peaks twice. This follows Nimsdai “Nims” Purja, who set a world speed record by climbing the 14 tallest mountains in only six months and six days.

When you’re ready to plan your next expedition, here are five of the best mountains to climb to help you get started. These peaks are part of the famed Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each continent. Keep reading to learn more and get inspired!

1. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. It stands 19,341 feet tall, which also makes it the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro is in northeast Tanzania near the border with Kenya.

Despite its height, you don’t need any special equipment or technical skills to climb Kilimanjaro. If you’re physically fit and determined, the right guide service can help you summit successfully.

You can climb Kilimanjaro year-round. Avoiding the two rainy seasons is better, though. January through March and June through October will have the best conditions.

Seven routes lead to the summit of Kilimanjaro:

  • Marangu
  • Machame
  • Lemosho
  • Shira
  • Rongai
  • Northern Circuit
  • Umbwe

The climb takes between five and nine days. Spending more days on the mountain gives you more time to adjust to the altitude.

Climbing Kilimanjaro takes you through five climate zones with dramatic changes in vegetation and animal life. You may see some species not found anywhere else. It’s a truly unique mountain climbing experience.

2. Mount Aconcagua, Argentina

Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia. It has two summits, the highest of which reaches 22,831 feet. The southern summit is 22,736 feet.

Aconcagua is part of the Andes in northern Argentina. It’s a popular choice for climbers who have summited Kilimanjaro.

The climb isn’t technical, but it’s very physically demanding. The conditions can become extremely windy.

Aconcagua has a short mountain climbing season. The season runs from November to March, but the deadline to enter the park is the last day of February. Most expeditions happen in December and January because the weather is better.

Two non-technical routes lead to the summit. The most popular is the Normal Route. It takes 18-20 days, which includes time to acclimatize and days to offset bad weather.

The Polish Traverse Route takes around 17 days. It’s somewhat harder than the Normal Route. You’ll probably need crampons and an ice axe on the upper slopes.

Some people look at Aconcagua as a warm-up for “harder” climbs. It’s a demanding and rewarding trek on its own. The view from the summit is breathtaking.

You can see the desert plains and the Pacific Ocean 80 miles away. You won’t regret taking on this amazing challenge.

3. Mount Denali, Alaska

Mount Denali is the highest peak in North America. It rises 20,310 feet above sea level. The South Summit is much more popular for climbing than the North Summit.

Denali is one of the most isolated peaks, with a location deep in the wilderness. The weather can be extremely cold and stormy.

Denali isn’t the highest peak in the world, but it has the most elevation gain. You’ll need technical skills for snow and ice climbing as well as glaciers. You also need a high level of experience with cold-weather camping.

Peak climbing season is between May and July. Even during the summer, temperatures are often below freezing at night.

Climbing Denali takes around 21 days. The most popular route is the West Buttress. It’s the least technical route, but challenges include:

  • Crevasses
  • Steep ice
  • Exposed ice-covered ridges

Rangers and mountain guides maintain fixed lines on the headwall above the camp at 14,200 feet. They also maintain fixed snow pickets on the traverse between the camp at 17,200 feet and Denali Pass. Knowing the techniques for this equipment is essential.

Denali offers breathtaking and changing views each day of the trek. You’ll see diverse wildlife and pristine landscapes. Denali is a challenge you’ll never forget.

4. Mount Elbrus, Russia

Mount Elbrus is a dormant volcano in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It’s the highest peak in Europe at 18,510 feet.

The climbing season runs from late April through mid-September. July and August are the best months to climb because the weather is more predictable.

Elbrus has a southern and a northern route. The southern route is more popular. It has well-developed infrastructure, like hotels and cable cars.

The northern route is less developed. It’s harder to access the beginning of the route. Off-road vehicles are the only ones that can take you to the foot of the mountain.

The southern route itinerary plans for eight days. The northern route itinerary is eleven days.

Elbrus isn’t a technical climb, but it requires endurance and high-altitude experience. You’ll need basic skills like rope travel, crampons, and using an ice axe. The northern route involves glacier crossings.

Geopolitical conditions make getting a visa and traveling to Mount Elbrus difficult right now. The mountain deserves a place among the best mountains to climb, though, in the hope it will become more accessible again.

5. Mount Everest

No list of the best mountains to climb would be complete without Mount Everest. Everest is the highest mountain in the world at 29,032 feet. It’s also one of the toughest climbs.

The main mountain climbing season is April and May. Climbers have summited year-round, though. Most expeditions take around two months.

Most climbers use one of two main routes to the summit: Southeast Ridge or Northeast Ridge.

The Southeast Ridge route starts in Nepal. This is the route that Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay created. This route is more popular because getting a climbing permit from Nepal is more straightforward.

The Northeast Ridge route starts in Tibet. George Mallory disappeared on it before it was successfully climbed decades later. This route is somewhat more technically difficult that the Southeast Ridge.

Everest has become controversial due to its exponentially-growing popularity. Criticism focuses on the potential exploitation of local guides, overcrowded routes, and the threat of environmental damage. These are important issues to keep in mind if you’re planning to join an expedition.

However, the experience of climbing to the top of the world is truly unique. Everest remains one of the best mountains in the world.

Start with Five of the Best Mountains to Climb

With so many mountains waiting for you, it’s hard to know where to start. These five peaks are a great reason to start planning your next expedition. They’re part of the Seven Summits and among the best mountains to climb.

Some require technical expertise. Others only require your endurance and mental toughness. Your next challenge in these famous mountains is waiting!

For more inspiration, check out the rest of our insightful travel articles.

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