The most impressive vacation photos are the ones featuring grinning travelers standing atop a mountain that they’ve conquered. However, many people consider summiting mountains to be far beyond their experience. Certainly, there are imposing peaks that require great expertise and training – not to mention expensive gear – but many summits are feasible for amateurs with nothing more than a passion for hiking. Those looking for an adventure vacation that will take them to the top of the world have a number of options available that cater to all skill levels.
Aspiring mountaineers need little more than a willingness to spend a full day hiking in order to summit some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Experts often recommend Mount Baker in Washington or Texas’ Guadalupe Peak, lengthy day hikes that go up and down the mountain, although one of the most famous beginners’ hikes is Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Half Dome is so popular that the park service operates lotteries to select lucky hikers seeking to conquer the nearly 9,000-foot legend. For those with limited mountaineering experience, but plenty of athletic pluck, the ultimate hike is Mt. Kilimanjaro which, at 19,336 feet, offers nearly a week of pleasure in some of the most astounding and diverse landscapes in the world, provided that one can handle the enormous altitude changes.
Those looking to get started with serious mountaineering, however, would do well to begin at home, ideally with the help of local climbing clubs. Most beginners learn their skills at a nearby gym with fellow climbing enthusiasts. However, those looking for a serious crash course should seek out a dedicated mountaineering school, which may serve as a fun vacation in and of itself. With some experience, real challenges become possible, although it’s often best to start out with mountains aimed at novices who are still garnering experience with technical maneuvering. Becoming an experienced mountaineer can yield incredible dividends. Mountaineers can enjoy incomparable experiences, such as trekking up to the peak of the Andes’ Aconcagua or navigating the Altai Range up to Mount Khuiten.