BEST MOUNTAIN TOPS TO CLIMB
Join us in exploring five epic locations, alternative to Mount Everest, which give thrill seekers that top-of-the-world feeling
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Chris Henry
23 June 2023
If you are among the enthusiasts who dream of summiting the tallest peak in the world, you might be interested in Mount Everest’s controversy and the hiking alternatives.
In 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay were the first to climb the 29,035 feet to the top of Mount Everest. Today Nepal’s South Col remains the most common route for exploring this epic location at the Nepal-China border. However, the high number of climbers and staff has left a negative footprint on the mountain where piles of trash now greet adventurers.
The tourism industry revolving around Everest brings great revenue to the Nepali government, which issued hundreds of permits to climbing staff and enthusiasts just this year. Yet, pollution remains only one of multiple issues on the way to the top of the world. The severe climbing conditions have not only cost the lives of climbers in the past, but the challenging weather also limits climbing opportunities and creates traffic on the way to the top.
Whichever peak you decide to explore, however high, remote or famous, we kindly remind you to plan your adventures in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Nature has gifted us with epic peaks to summit and apart from the legendary Mouth Everest, here are top five challenging alternatives to test your climbing skills.
The Andes, PERU
The Inca Trail in Peru is a 23,000km road to the most famous climbing route in the Americas. Every year nearly 25 thousand climbers take on the 43km hike of stone-paved trail, which leads to the depth of the Cuzco cloud forest. In 1911 Hiram Bingham discovered the list city of the Inca and the extraordinary citadel of Machu Picchu, now accessible through the Inti Punko or Gateway of the Sun. Travellers should start their journey from the village of Qorihuayrachina. This adventure requires 3-4 days of hiking through a variety of ecosystems mixing tropical cloud forests, plain deserts and the high Andean landscapes.
Located on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya is the highest and most famous African mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet (5,895m) above sea level. It is the home of disappearing ice fields and shrinking glaciers that provoke scientists’ interest. Kilimanjaro consists of three volcanic comes - Mawenzi (5,149m) and Shira (4,005m) are extinct, while Kibo, the highest, is dormant and can erupt again. This major climbing location is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. The first time someone reached the top was in 1889 and to this day we remember the names Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller with great admiration.
Mount Elbrus, RUSSIA
Located in the Caucasus Mountains between Europe and Asia, lays Mount Elbrus. It is the tenth most prominent summit in the world and the highest mountain in Europe. The double-coned volcano consists of two dormant domes - the west summit (5,642m) and the east summit (5,621m). Elbrus is undeniably a rewarding climb, as the dynamic location of the mountain greets visitors with views over Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
This is one of the most recognisable mountains on the European continent, mainly due to its nearly symmetrical pyramid shape. It is located in the Alps, at the border between Switzerland and Italy, reaching a height of 4,478m (14,692 ft). It is considered a geographical landmark and the birthplace of mountaineering as a sport. Climbers reach the summit, which overlooks the Theodul Pass in the east, known since the Roman Era as a trade route and a main passage point between the north and south valleys. The Matterhorn Mountain peak offers views of the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia to the south and the Swiss town of Zermatt to the north-east.
Raising at 20,320 feet above sea level, Mount Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America. Located in the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, this mountain uncovers breathtaking views that inspire ambition in climbers from across the world. The name was used by the local Koyukon people for centuries. Denali is the third most isolated mount on the planet, following Everest and Aconcagua. On June 7, 1913 Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum were the first to climb the South Summit. Since 1951 the West Buttress route has been considered the safest and easiest way to reach the summit, following the footsteps of Bradford Washburn. We advise the use of that route and to plan a climb either in May or June in order to avoid the dangerous threats of avalanches.
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