For travelers seeking a challenge, climbing a mountain is a big ambition. Now is the best time to book a mountain hiking getaway in the great outdoors with increased bookings for active travel.
The best-known trekking destinations are often the ones people seek – such as Everest Base Camp in Asia and Kilimanjaro in Africa – both well-known destinations served by specialized tour companies.
There’s, however, a wide variety of lesser-known peaks to explore as well, including those in Argentina, Cuba, Morocco, Malaysia, and Kenya.
Here are some top picks of the great mountains worldwide that will pique your interests and give a new meaning.
1. Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia
There are only 135 climbers allowed each day on Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kinabalu guiding tours often include several days immersing yourself in Sabah’s incredible biodiversity by visiting orangutans, proboscis monkeys, sun bears, and more.
For this summit, climbers start on a well-marked, humid jungle trail through Kinabalu National Park, moving through lush rainforests until they reach the cool, craggy plateaus of the mountainside.
The two-day endurance test to reach Borneo’s highest point is well worth the experience of watching dawn break across tropical Borneo from above the clouds.
2. Aconcagua, Argentina
Climbing Aconcagua is a great goal and a rewarding experience. The cost to climb Aconcagua is also not that high.
With a height of 6961 meters, Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside the Himalayas and part of the famous “Seven Summits.” An essential part of the Andes, Aconcagua, is located north of Argentina.
Because of its short climbing season and the small number of climbers each season, Aconcagua accommodates only a few climbing operators. Several routes lead up to Aconcagua, but the most common routes are the Normal Route and the Polish Traverse.
The main routes are not technical to climb, but two-thirds of the people who attempt the mountain never make it to the summit because of their sheer altitude. They are both relatively easy and don’t require any specific climbing skills. Generally, the Normal route is the easier one.
3. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Climbing Africa’s 5,895-meter-high Kilimanjaro, a classic challenge worth trying before you die, requires decent fitness but is doable for those with a basic fitness level.
There is no better way to experience Tanzania than an adventure in the savannah under the shadow of a mountain, surrounded by giraffes, elephants, warthogs, and water buffaloes. Africa’s highest peak can be accessed via seven routes.
Marangu, or the Coca-Cola route, is a relatively gentle climb with huts where you can stay between climbs, but it provides less chance of acclimatizing to the altitude, so that it may be more difficult.
The Machame route is recommended for its slow pace and similar altitude campsites that allow climbers to follow mountaineering advice to ‘climb high and sleep low’ while ascending.
Known as the scenic route, the Lemosho route takes approximately eight days to complete and takes you through green forests, moorlands, and alpine desert before you emerge in the high alpine desert. The Rongai route is arguably the least busy.
4. Pico Turquino, Cuba
As Eastern Cuba’s backbone, the Sierra Maestra is covered in lush rainforest that feels like a lost world only explorers could discover.
On an adventurous tropical trek through a landscape of jungle-encroached slopes and waterfall-filled valleys in Turquino National Park, it is possible to scale Pico Turquino, its highest point, within a couple of days.
You can set out from Las Cuevas, on the coast of Santiago de Cuba, and hike from there in a day or stay overnight in rustic mountain shelters. The pinnacle is marked by a bronze statue of José Marti, a national hero.
As well as spotting Cuban wildlife like painted snails, tiny bats, and the country’s national bird, the tocororo, hiking up the Sierra Maestra offers a glimpse at Fidel Castro’s former hideout in the mountains.
5. Mount Everest, Himalayas, Nepal/Tibet
Everest was first climbed by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on July 15, 1953, and it’s the highest mountain on earth. Recently, Everest has been under a great deal of scrutiny. Overcrowding on Everest has been a hot topic since photographs showed enormous queues near the summit.
However, there’s no doubt that Mount Everest will never lose its allure anytime soon. Like moths to a flame, people are captivate by the mountain. Trekking to the Everest Base Camp is hugely popular, especially for those taking the route from Everest Base Camp to the summit.
As well as attracting experienced climbers seeking a challenge, Everest also attracts many skilled climbers who hire guides to get them as high as ‘Everest base camp,’ a real feat in itself.
Despite Everest’s exhilarating appeal, there are several dangers a climber must be aware of, such as extreme weather, frostbite, hypothermia, and altitude sickness, among others.
Everyone who can climb mountains should do so. When you reach the top, it’s one of the most rewarding feelings. A few things in life compare to that sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the summit, along with the amazing scenery you’ll see along the way. Taking on some of the world’s most significant peaks doesn’t require you to be the best climber or most accomplished adventurer. Almost anyone can conquer some excellent climbs with some fitness and determination.
If you invest a little effort and time to plan well in advance, you can avoid the most common climbing mistakes and achieve your goal.