Nothing quite beats standing on top of a summit (at least that’s my view), but the question is where do you start if you’re new to climbing mountains?
This list of must-climb mountains will see you trotting all over the globe in search of outdoor adventure.
Ben Nevis (1,345 m)
Starting on my home turf with the highest peak in the UK. Ben Nevis is the smallest peak on this list but the climb up from sea level will get those calf muscles screaming.
Make sure you can read a map in case the cloud descends and be prepared for rapid temperature changes (it is Scotland).
Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m)
Accessible to everyone with a reasonable level of fitness, climbing Kinabalu is a memorable adventure. The mountain is in Borneo and you climb through exceptional flora to emerge on bare granite rock.
You currently need a two-day Mount Kinabalu Permit and stay overnight at Panalaban part way up the mountain. Take lots of warm layers if you’re intending to catch the sunrise on the summit.
The Climbathon race is excellent fun if you’re a mountain runner and the summit area is a rock climber’s paradise.
Mont Blanc (4,808 m)
This majestic mountain towers above Chamonix in France and it’s the highest mountain in the Alps. It’s technically easy, but prior experience with crampons and ice axes is essential.
There are two main routes, via the Gouter Hut and via the Cosmiques Hut. The latter is becoming increasingly popular with guided parties, with guides preferring the quick ascent to the hut via the Aiguille Du Midi. Both routes come with hazards – so be aware. Take a guide unless you’re an experienced climber.
Island Peak (Imja Tse 6,189 m)
This peak in Nepal is rated as technically easy, but sign up with a guided party unless you know what you’re doing. Acclimatizing to the altitude will be the hardest part of the trip.
Standing on the summit your view is overpowered by the massive bulk of Lhotse. You’ll be inspired to return and climb yet higher mountains! It’s a big step up from trekking to the viewing point of Kala Patthar, but doable for most people with a reasonable level of fitness.
Huayna Potosi (6,088 m)
A little lower than Imja Tse, this peak is the hardest climb on the list, with the added adventure of traveling to Bolivia. It’s rated as the easiest of the Bolivian peaks but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not a serious undertaking.
Go with a reliable climbing company (unless you’re experienced) and allow time to acclimatize. Choose your guide carefully – look for a guide badge and pick a 3 -day trip. Huayna Potosi is an excellent introduction to mountain climbing but go prepared!
These tips are based on my own experience. Judging easy or hard is subjective, depending on the fitness and experience of the climber. If you’re a beginner, be aware of the risks, train fully and take a qualified guide to get the best out of your trip. I’d love to know how you get on!