There is a perception that mountain climbing is a dangerous, difficult endeavor that pushes climbers to the very limits of their physical and mental abilities. While that can be the case in some extreme instances, such as with Everest or K2, it’s far from the norm.
In fact, there are plenty of mountains all over the world that are not only safe and manageable, but also quite beginner-friendly.
These peaks don’t necessarily require any kind of special skills (or years of experience) to climb, although being in good physical condition can help make the trek an easier and more enjoyable one. If you’ve ever entertained climbing a major peak, but were dissuaded by the thought that you couldn’t manage it, here are seven suggestions for mountains that (almost) anyone can climb.
Mt. Fuji, Japan
Standing 12,388 feet in height, Mt. Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s three sacred peaks.
Despite its altitude, however, the climb to the top is a manageable day hike for those who set out early enough. Each year, more than 300,000 people trek to the summit, making the active stratovolcano one of the most climbed mountains in the entire world.
Many make the ascent at night just so that they can reach the top in time to witness the sunrise. During the summer months, the four main trails that lead to the summit can be extremely crowded, and during the winter the weather can prove dangerous at times. But, for the most part, this is an easy hike that requires only strong legs, stamina and bit of determination to complete.
Ecuador‘s Cotopaxi isn’t an especially difficult mountain to climb in the technical sense, but it does challenge climbers with its altitude and, on occasion, bad weather. At 19,347 feet, acclimatization to the thin air is the biggest concern for those who want to make the trek to the summit.
A Cotopaxi climb takes three to four days to complete, giving would-be mountaineers the chance to camp along the trail and enjoy the amazing views of the national park that surrounds the peak.
Approximately 5,000 people attempt the climb each year, with most doing so in September when the weather is stable and predictable. As is common with most mountains, climbing in the winter months (June through August in the Southern Hemisphere) is not advised due to potentially heavy snows and cold temperatures.
Mt. Rainier, USA
Located in the state of Washington, Mt. Rainier holds the distinction of being the most glaciated peak in the Lower 48, which adds a dimension to this mountain that you won’t find with some of the others on this list.
Those layers of snow and ice can make both the climb up and the descent a bit more treacherous, which is why some cursory rope skills are a necessity on Rainier’s slopes.
That said, this is a mountain commonly used by beginners to gain valuable experience not just with ropes, but also with glacier trekking and crevasse avoidance. This makes it the perfect setting for those who are considering moving on to more challenging peaks.
A Rainier climb is possible all year long depending on weather conditions, but inexperienced climbers should stick to the season between May and September. As many as 13,000 people will make the attempt in any given year, with most taking two to three days to summit.
Mont Blanc, France and Italy
One of Europe’s most iconic climbing peaks, Mont Blanc straddles the French/Italian border. Reaching the summit is a rite of passage for most European climbers, with more than 30,000 people attempting it annually.
On a busy day, as many as 200 people may be trying for the top, which stands at an impressive 15,780 feet. That makes Mont Blanc the tallest mountain in the Alps, and one of the tallest on the entire European continent.
With numerous routes to the summit from both the French and Italian sides, the level of challenge can vary greatly, although altitude is once again the main consideration. A typical ascent takes roughly two days to complete, with most climbers staying in comfortable mountain huts located at various points along the trail to the summit.
Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Often referred to as “everyone’s Everest,” 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the entire world.
A typical climb can take between five and nine days to complete depending on the route and speed of acclimatization.
On the way up, climbers will famously pass through five unique climate zones: cultivated lands at the base followed by rainforest, moorlands, alpine desert and, finally, arctic conditions near the summit.
About 35,000 people attempt a Kili climb each year, and since the mountain sits just off the equator, it’s accessible during most months. March through May is the rainy season, however, so climbers run the risk of a very uncomfortable trek during that time.
Altitude is the biggest obstacle, with those taking the longer routes having a much higher rate of success.
Mt. Elbrus, Russia
At 18,510 feet, Mt. Elbrus is the tallest mountain in all of Europe.
Its height makes for an imposing sight, but a chairlift takes most climbers up to the traditional starting point located at 12,500 feet. This greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to reach the top, which means the mountain can be summited in as few as one or two days.
The normal route up Elbrus is completely nontechnical, with weather and altitude being the main concerns along the way. July and August are the best times for an attempt, but, as a result, the mountain can be very crowded during those months.
June and September see fewer people, but the weather is more unpredictable, with high winds and heavier snow possible. The exact number of climbers who attempt the mountain each year is unknown, but it’s estimated to be in excess of 10,000.
Jbel Toubkal, Morocco
Located in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Jbel Toubkal offers a relatively easy trek to the summit, although high winds, poor weather conditions and altitude sickness can still be of concern.
The best time to take on this completely nontechnical peak is between May and September, although the summit is accessible all year round.
During the winter months, ice axes and crampons may be required to reach the top; beginner climbers are advised to stick to the warmer, drier season instead. It takes just two days to complete the hike to the summit, which doesn’t overwhelm climbers with its height of 13,671 feet.
It does provide some outstanding views of surrounding peaks and valleys, however, and it is a perfect setting for those looking to dip their toe in the mountaineering waters for the first time.
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