Photo Credit: Swollib | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mountfujijapan.jpg (Wikipedia Commons)
There aren't many moments in life as satisfying as standing on top of a mountain knowing you have got there under your own steam. Standing there, thousands of feet in the air, taking in the vista around you is something words cannot do justice to; you have to experience it for yourself. You don't have to be a professional to feel this elation either, as there are mountains that can be conquered by those who have never climbed before in their lives.
Here are 5 of the best:
Mount Fuji, JapanRising 3776 metres above sea level, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, as well as being the most crowded. Literally hundreds of hikers can be seen every day on Mount Fuji, weaving their way up the mountainside looking for all the world like a colony of ants on a foraging mission. This sacred mountain is one of the Three Holy Mountains of Japan, along with Mount Kau and Mount Tate. Climbing Mount Fuji is seen as something of a pilgrimage by the tens of thousands of Japanese trekkers who make the trip here every year.
The steep ascent can be achieved through any of four trails and each are lined with both beds and concessions stands. It takes a full day to reach the summit and get back. But that doesn't stop those who want to follow in the footsteps of the monk who first made the climb back in 663AD. It has to be said that this iconic mountain looks a lot more attractive from a distance than close up, but the experience of climbing in the early hours to experience a beautiful sunrise is one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever have.
Mount Kilimanjaro, AfricaSince a plethora of celebrities climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009 for Comic Relief, this imposing, isolated mountain has become one of the best destinations for casual climbers. The general consensus is that, if Chris Moyles can do it, anyone can, and, while the climb can not be called child's play, it is considered easy enough for an amateur to make the ascent.
The most popular trail for climbing the 6000m mountain is the 'Coca Cola' trail, which offers huts for climbers to sleep or rest in and where you can buy food and drink to save you carrying supplies. The mountain itself is made up of 3 extinct volcanoes and the ascent will take you through rainforests, cultivated areas, alpine deserts and finally glaciers.
Ben Nevis, ScotlandThe highest mountain in Scotland, standing at a just over 1300 metres, is where many Brits first experience the thrill of reaching the summit of a mountain. Standing on top of Ben Nevis and admiring the surrounding valleys is an amazing experience for a beginner, and looking down you realise just how far you have come. The easiest way up is by the straightforward but sometimes strenuous Tourist Route. This is pretty standard as far as hill-walking goes, but those with little or no experience should read all the precautions signed at the foot of Ben Nevis.
The terrain is steep throughout the climb and once you have past the Red Burn the route takes you across scree fields and boulders. The upper sections, as you approach the summit, are often covered in snow, making it a lot easier to veer off the trail and into dangerous areas, so basic navigational skills are required. As a reward you get one of the finest views of Scotland’s glacial landscapes imaginable.
Mont Blanc, FranceGiven that 20,000 climbers reach the summit of Mont Blanc every year, 20 people held a jacuzzi party at the top a few years ago and there is a scientific observatory almost at the summit, this mountain suddenly seems very easy to climb. In fairness, the challenge of ascending the 4785m, give or take, is moderate depending on which way you go and, of course, the weather conditions. Endurance and care are the two key ingredients to reaching the summit safely, and getting used to the altitude is a vital factor.
The snow, glacier traverses and the sheer elevation are the major challenges to those who want a crack at climbing the disputed highest mountain in Europe. This dispute rises from the whether or not Mount Elbrus in the Russian Caucasus range is in Europe or Asia. You may not be at the top of the world standing at the summit of Mont Blanc, but you are on the rooftop of Europe.
Longs Peak, ColoradoThe importance of a mountain is marked in many ways, and Colorado has paid homage to their most famous mountain by having its picture on the state quarter coin. Longs Peak is the highest peak in the Rockies, and it is a favourite for amateur climbers to hone their skills and give them experience before they move onto full blown mountain climbing with all the equipment that is needed.
The most popular route up is the Keyhole trail, which starts from a camp site 9405ft up and then takes you to the summit. The weather is the biggest challenge on Longs Peak and it is advised you start the climb in the early hours to allow enough time to reach the top and get back down to base before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Late summer is the best time to head over there and have a crack at this true American Classic. Unlike the other mountains on our list real climbing experience is an absolute necessity to tackle this mountain – even though it is considered one of the easiest climbs out there.
If you fancy the challenge and accomplishment of tackling one of these peaks you’ll need to be physically fit, make sure you have appropriate gear for the terrain, bring plenty of water and follow all local safety procedures. Many of these mountains offer guided assents and it is highly recommended you take advantage of them. Travel insurance is also a must and we’d recommend adventure travel insurance from Columbus Direct to give you the peace of mind as you accomplish a truly inspiring and life changing challenge. However, be advised that some mountains will require specialist policies for you to be able to climb insured as many insurers will not cover you for actual rock climbing or above certain altitudes.
NOTE: This is a post from one of our contributors. Any views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views on www.pinoyadventurista.com.
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