Yesterday I posted a link to a story from Outside Online that listed the top five mountains for beginners to cut their teeth on, with the idea that these are high altitude climbs that don’t require a lot of technical skills to complete. Their list included Mt. Baker in Washington, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Khuiten in Mongolia, Elbrus in Russia, and Aconcagua in Argentina.
When posting that story, I requested suggestions for other mountains that might fit the bill, that is to say they offer a good challenge, they can help you build mountaineering skills, but can be climbed by someone who is in good shape and has the desire to make the hike to the top. I had some excellent options from a variety of sources, and in case Outside‘s list doesn’t do it for you, here are a few more mountains for beginners.
I ended the story by suggesting Orizaba, an 18,491-foot tall volcano in Mexico and the always popular 14,411 foot Mt. Rainier, which is often used as a training ground for men and women who are looking to gain mountaineering experience. Another great suggestion, which came from a couple of readers, was Mt. Shasta in California, which is 14,179-feet in height and offers some nice glacier trekking. Shasta is a great place to work on basic technical mountain skills in a forgiving environment.
Another famous mountain that is well suited for beginners making a trek is Mt. Fuji in Japan. While “only” 12,388-feet in height, it is quite a challenging climb, with many hikers making a very early climb to the summit to watch the sun rise over the countryside below. Fuji is a tough slog to the top, but requires no technical skills at all to complete.
Paul, from the website Washington Adventures, thinks his state has the best mountains for beginners to gain experience on, and it’s tough to disagree. In addition to Mt. Baker and Rainier, both mentioned above, he lists the 12,281-foot tall Mt. Adams, as well as the 7980-foot Mt. Olympus and the always popular Mt. Saint Helens, which stands at 8365 feet, as good choices for climbers to gain experience on.
For something a bit more exotic, you could head to Ecuador to take on a triple-header of alpine challenges. Reader Wade Nichols suggests Cotopaxi (19,344 feet), Cayambe (18,996 feet), and Chimborazo (20,565 feet), which he did on a single amazing trip with Alpine Ascents. Now that’s a way to get some mountain experience! Wade says that these are good, challenging treks, but that you stay in huts along the way, and take a break in a hotel between each mountain as well. Sounds fantastic!
Finally, Chris Ord, editor of Outer Edge Magazine, offers up Huayna Potosí, a 19,974-foot peak in Bolivia, for your consideration. He went there awhile back and wrote about his experiences in this story. He describes it as mostly a tough trek, although there is an ice wall to deal with near the end, and crevasses are a danger along the way as well.
Good suggestions everyone. This list ought to keep all of us busy for awhile. 🙂
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