The ultimate goal of most professional mountaineers is to scale the Eight-thousanders (mountains that are 8,000 meters above sea level or more). There are only 14 mountains on earth that belong to this exclusive group of mountains, and Mt. Everest is one of them. You can find most of these towering mountains in the Himalayan Mountain Range or nearby, and only those with high-level mountain climbing skills and experience can scale these mountains.
Top 10 Mountains for Jumpstarting Your Mountain Climbing Adventure as a Beginner
If you’re a beginner, however, you can dream of climbing one of the Eight-thousanders. But it will be helpful to start with less perilous and arduous mountains than the Eight-thousanders. Begin with something that is within your capacity and control, something below the 4,000-meter in height. Below is a shortlist of mountains around the world wherein you could kickstart your mountaineering adventure.
1) Mount Adams, Washington (3,743 meters)
Mount Adams, known as Klickitat or Pahto among the Native American Indians, is 3,743 meters above sea level. Located in Washington State, it is the second only to Mount Rainier in height. Moreover, it is a stratovolcano that erupted a thousand years ago. It also has a flat summit and is perfect for beginners who want to get a mellower mountaineering experience. You’ll get the hang of basic mountain climbing techniques if you begin with this mountain.
Mount Adams is voluminous and has a more extensive base, and most mountaineers take the South Spur Route, which initially goes through the South Climb Trail. This trail is its most famous mountain route. During early summer and late spring, you can tackle its straightforward snow climb and finish it within a day or two.
The South Spur Route’s trailhead is located at 5,600 feet at the Cold Springs Campground. The trail may be only 5.7 miles of climbing leading to the summit. You can also take the alternate North Ridge Route between the Lava Glaciers and Adams, and it is the second most popular route to the summit.
Once you reach Mount Adams’s summit, you will get a mesmerizing view of the surroundings, including Mount Rainier at a distance. The South Spur has a max angle of 30° while the Mazama glacier headwall carries a max slope of 60°.
2) Mount Rainier (14,422 ft or 4392 meters)
Beginners find Mt. Rainier as a premier climbing destination for gaining mountaineering skills and fine-tune their skills for some more challenging destinations. It is around 14,422 ft (4392 meters) high. It is several feet higher than Mount Adams. The average person can surely climb its summit; however, it is a dangerous mountain and is replete with risks. Yet, with proper training, gear, and physical conditioning, you can cut down on these risks.
The best time to climb Mount Rainier is in July, May, and June. You can also schedule your climb during August, yet, during this month, you’ll encounter more open crevasses that can make climbing more difficult.
When climbing Mount Rainier, you need to know how to use an ice ax. You also need to learn about rope management and glacier travel. Moreover, you will need a climbing pass if you plan to climb 10,000 feet of this mountain. Mount Rainier is covered with many glaciers. Thus, you would need solid glacier travel skills and mountaineering training to scale it.
Some of the routes you can take toward the summit of Mt. Rainier include the Disappointment Cleaver, Ingraham Glacier Direct, or the Emmons Glacier. If you want a more technical route, you can tackle the Kautz Glacier and the Fuhurer Finger. Yet, if you want a wilder route, you can take the Tahoma Glacier route.
3) Mount Hood (11,249 feet or 3,425.6m)
Mount Hood is another excellent climbing destination, located in Oregon. It’s perfect for beginners who want to gain the rudiments of mountain climbing. It is around 11,249 feet (3,425.6m) high. Every year about 15 to 20 thousand summit attempts are made annually. Most of these attempts begin at the Timberline Lodge and go through the south climb route.
Mount Hood is a snow-covered peak and is covered with alpine meadows and forested slopes. The best day to climb Mount Hood is during midweek if you are seeking more solitude. At the Timberline Lodge, you need to register and then proceed along the Climbers Trail, emerging out of the Salmon River.
Before attempting to climb the mountain, be cognizant of the weather forecast and know avalanche conditions. Visibility over the tree line can transition quickly from good to bad, which could make your navigation challenging. If you take the Cooper Spur, you can reach the summit within 7-9 hours of hiking. If you go via the North Face, you can reach the camp from the trailhead within 5-7 hours, and from the camp to the summit will take you 4 to 8 hours.
4) Pikes Peak, Colorado (14,115ft)
Hiking Pikes Peak is not for the weak-hearted, for it is a long and arduous 13.5-mile climb, so you need to be in a top-notch physical condition when scaling it. The main route to the summit of Mount Pikes Peak is the Barr Trail. It is also the only trail that can take you to the mountain summit. Fred Barr was the one who built this trail, and for that reason, it was named after him.
You’ll find the trailhead in Manitou Springs with an elevation of 6,707 feet. The first three miles are the most challenging leg of your hike, with lots of tight switchbacks. At 10,186 feet, you’ll find the Barr Camp where you can take your overnight rest. From there, you need to hike for 4 to 7 hours to reach the summit.
5) Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (19,341 ft)
If you live in the vast continent of Africa, you will be familiar with Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano found in Tanzania, known as the highest mountain in Africa with around 19,341ft above sea level. First scaled by Ludwig Purtscheller and Hans Meyer in 1889, this mountain is one of Africa’s major climbing destinations.
There are around seven official trekking routes in the mountain by which you can ascend and descend. These routes are Lemosho, Machame, Lemosho Western-Breach, Marangu, Rogain, Mweka, Shira, and Umbwe. You can finish the Machame Route in just six to seven days. Lemosho, on the other hand, would take six to eight days, while the Northern Circuit routes in seven days or more.
Mount Kilimanjaro’s routes may not be technically challenging compared to the Andean or Himalayan Mountains; yet, you would still need to be physically fit to engage in it. Moreover, you may experience altitude sickness when climbing this high mountain.
6) Mount Kenya, Kenya (17,057)
If you still want to visit another peak in Africa, you can hop to Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa. It is around 17,057 feet high or 5,188 m, located in the Central Provinces of Kenya. Most peaks of Mount Kenya have already been reached.
Its highest peaks are the Nelion and Batian. Moreover, you can ascend Batian directly via the North Face Standard Route. You can climb this route in two days. You can also ascend Point Lenana, which is the highest peak that climbers can ascend without climbing.
7) Mount Fuji (11,249 feet or 3,425.6m)
Situated in Honshu Island, Japan, is the highest mountain in the country. It is around 3,776.24 m or 12,389.2 ft. Climbing Mount Fuji will enable you to create lifelong memories, and the early morning climb on this mountain is very rewarding.
The best time for climbing Mount Fuji is from July to September; wherein there’s no snow on the mountain, and you will experience relatively mild weather. The best trails are the Yoshida Trail, Subashiri, Fujinomiya, and Gotemba Trails.
You can tackle these trails between July to mid-September. If you don’t want to encounter huge crowds during your climb, it is best to do your trek during weekdays.
8) Mount Kinabalu (4,095m high or 13,455 ft.)
Mount Kinabalu, located in Sabah, Malaysia, is a World Heritage Site. It is around 4,095 meters high or 13,455 ft. You can climb its Low’s Peak Summit in two days and one night. There are two summit trails, the Kota Belud Trail and the Ranau Trail.
The Mesilau Trail is indefinitely closed because of some inaccessible paths. Only 100 climb permits are issued daily by the Sabah Parks at present, so if you are interested in ascending this mountain, it will be useful to book early.
9) Island Peak, Nepal (5,087 meters or 16,690 ft)
Eric Shipton gave the name to this mountain in 1952 because it reminds him of an island in a sea of ice. It is referred to locally as Imja Tse. This mountain is perfect for amateur climbers who want to have the hang of mountain climbing. This mountain is a Lhotse Shar’s extension and stands around 5,087 meters or 16,690 ft. Mount Everest—the highest mountain in the world—is only 10 kilometers away from this mountain.
Island Peak is considered one of the most popular trekking peaks in Nepal, and the trails to the mountain move across the Khumbu region. Spring season (from March to May) is the best time to do this mountain’s trek, while Autumn (October to December) is also great for climbing this mountain.
10) Mount Kosciuszko (5,087 meters or 16,690 ft)
Mount Kosxiuszko is a mountain in mainland Australia, considered the highest peak in the country. It is 2,228 meters (7,310 ft) above sea level. Moreover, it is found in the Snowy Mountains and belongs to the Australian Alps National Parks. You can approach the summit by driving from the Charlotte Pass and coming near the summit.
However, you can reach the peak from Thredbo, from the Thredbo Kosciuszko Express Chairlift’s top. The walking path from there is a mesh walkway, which is 5 kilometers to Rawson Pass, where the charlotte Pass meets. From there, it is only a 1.4-kilometer trek to the summit.
Amateur climbers and first-timers can summit the abovementioned mountains. Yet, I would recommend that you get a guide to provide you the proper training and teach you the dos and don’ts of mountain climbing. As mentioned above, it will be best to start with less challenging ascents before you even indulge in challenging mountain trails.
Mountain climbing, of course, is a difficult yet exciting adventure. It brings in many benefits to the climbers. Yet, before you even engage in mountain climbing, you need to be cognizant of the necessary precautions, for it can also be perilous if you don’t follow the right techniques and tips when mountain climbing.