Mountains You Can Climb When You’re Not at Everest Level3 min read
The perception of climbing a mountain is that it’s dangerous, difficult and that it pushes you to the limits of your physical and mental abilities. That can be the case in some extreme cases, such as Mount Everest, but that’s actually not the norm.
There are mountains all around the world that are so safe and manageable to climb, that almost anyone can make it to the top. Other than being in good physical condition, these mountains don’t necessarily require you to train, hone special skills or have years of experience. It’s important to note that when you get to these altitudes, the air is thinner and you’ll likely find it more difficult to catch your breath.
If you’ve ever felt the draw to climb a mountain, but thought you couldn’t handle it, here are some beginner-friendly mountains.
Mount Fuji, Japan
This peak is the tallest mountain in Japan, standing at 12,388 feet tall. It’s also one of the country’s three sacred mountains. If you start your hike early enough, you can climb to the top of Mt. Fuji in a day. Some people start their climb at night so they can reach the top to watch the sun rise.
Every year, more than 300,000 people climb Mt. Fuji, making it one of the most-climbed mountains in the world. Its four main trails get crowded during the summer, and in the winter the weather can make it a bit dangerous. The most popular route, Kawaguchiko, is a great one to start your mountain-climbing career on. While you’ll need stamina, determination and strong legs on this route, you won’t be faced with technical terrain – the climb on this hike is on a well-established trail.
Official hiking season at Mt. Fuji is July 1 to August 31.
Mont Blanc, Italy and France
This mountain, which falls on the border of France and Italy, is one of Europe’s most iconic mountains. It’s also the tallest mountain in the Alps and one of the tallest in Europe standing at 15,780 feet. Mont Blanc has several routes leading to the summit on the French and Italian sides, each with a varying degree of difficulty. A typical climb takes about two days to reach the top – many climbers stay in mountain huts along the trail.
While this mountain isn’t incredibly difficult to climb, the biggest challenge it poses to climbers is its altitude and occasional bad weather. The weather tends to be most stable and predictable in September – you’re advised not to climb Cotopaxi in the winter, which is June through August in the Southern Hemisphere, due to potentially heavy snows and cold temperatures.
Cotopaxi stands at 19,347 with thin air challenging climbers trying to get to the top. It typically takes about three to four days to reach the summit, giving you the chance to camp and take in the views of the national park surrounding the peak.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
This is the highest peak in Africa and is one of the world’s tallest free-standing peaks at 19,341 feet tall. The biggest challenge climbing it is adjusting to the thin air at altitude. All of the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro require a local guide, but they’re all on trails. It can take anywhere from five to nine days to reach the peak depending on the route and speed of acclimatization.
One the way up, you get to pass through five unique climate zones: cultivated lands, rainforest, moorlands, alpine desert and artic conditions near the summit.