Nobody ever said climbing a mountain was easy (and you shouldn’t believe them if they do). Particularly if that mountain happens to be one of the highest mountains in the world, or even in that respective country. But some peaks are far more manageable than others. The highest peak in UK, for example, is a bit easier to climb than the highest mountain in Nepal, for example (you might have heard of that one).
If you’re fit, have trekking experience, and are prepared to sweat, really sweat, there are a number of mountains around the world with attainable peaks. We've had a shot at giving you a list of top 10 mountains to climb. But it's a pretty hard task, given there are over a million to choose from! But the best mountains to climb are the ones, in our opinion, that give you the best memories. They may not be the highest or most gnarly. Here are ten mighty mountains that you might like to try.
1. Mount Triglav, Slovenia (2863m)
At 2863 metres, Triglav is the highest mountain in the Julian Alps (northeast Italy to Slovenia) and first in our list of mountains to climb. Attempts to climb the summit normally require two days. While the mountain itself is quite barren and rocky, it sits in the middle of Slovenia’s only national park, with the same name as the mountain. Reaching base camp takes about six hours of trekking through the forest. Much of the way is aided by via ferrata—or iron steps and cables attached to the side of the mountain. Slovenian tradition demands that those who have summited have their bums whipped by ceremonial birch branches!
2. Mount Toubkal, Morocco (4167m)
Toubkal, in the Atlas Mountains of southwestern Morocco, is the highest peak in North Africa, at 4167 metres. It's made the best mountain to climb list because you can climb it all year around, although crampons and ice-axes are needed between November and May. At other times of year no special equipment is needed. At the quickest, it can be climbed in two days and is accessible from Marrakech, although beware of altitude sickness - you want to enjoy trekking. As well as beautiful views, a highlight of climbing this peak is the Berber communities through which you’ll pass on the way. When skies are clear, the Sahara Desert can be seen in the distance from the summit.
3. Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia (4095m)
Mount Kinabalu and Kinabalu Park are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and protected area. Kinabalu is the island of Borneo’s highest peak, at 4095 metres. It’s a particularly important mountain because of its biological diversity—it has more plant species than all of North America and Europe combined! Climbing it doesn’t require any particular equipment or skills, just good fitness. It’s a two-day climb that passes through many climatic zones, from steamy tropical jungle below to the cold rocky summit.
4. Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia (3726m)
On the Indonesian island of Lombok is Mount Rinjani, a 3726-metre volcano (and the second-highest volcano in the country). Although it’s often advertised as a trek, reaching the summit of Rinjani should be considered a climb, and only attempted by fit travellers with plenty of trekking experience. It takes two days, but the ascent is rapid, on steep and slippery trails. It’s a tough hike to the crater rim, but the view from there is incredible: turquoise Lake Segara Anak below, lush green valleys, and active volcano Mount Barujari on the edge of the lake.
5. Yala Peak, Nepal (5500m)
Yala Peak had to be on our list of best mountains to climb in the world. Nepal is home to the highest mountains in the world and classifies certain peaks as ‘trekking peaks’. That means you don’t need an expensive expedition permit to tackle them or extreme mountaineering skills. This doesn’t mean that they’re easy or should be taken lightly though. Yala Peak is one of those - and possibly the highest trekking peak, depending on how you classify. It's a good introduction to Himalayan climbing as it gets you amongst those big peaks without the need for much mountain experience as it's not too technical. The trek takes between 6-8 days via the Langtang Valley, close to the Tibetan border, dodging yaks and sleeping in teahouse along the way.
6. Mount Kenya, Kenya (5199m)
Mount Kenya is the second-highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro, with Kilimanjaro just pipping Mt Kenya to the post by 696 metres. It has three distinct peaks, Batian, Nelion and Point Lenana - all three of which can be climbed - but Point Lenana (4985m) is by far the most accessible summit as it doesn't require any technical climbing skills to reach the summit. However, the ascent is still a challenge and will require a decent level of fitness and determination to make it to the top. If you take the Sirimon route, the longest, gentlest, and possibly most spectacular, the ascent will take approximately 3-4 days, allowing for a day of acclimatisation. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra as you look across the plains of Kenya from the top.
7. Mount Musala, Bulgaria (2925m)
Mount Musala, at 2925 metres is the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula and is easily accessible from Sofia. It’s located within the Rila National Park, which is rich in biodiversity and contains some of the best mountains in the world to climb. The summit can be reached in a day if you take the cable car, which cuts off 10 kilometres of uphill climb but still leaves you with several hours of climbing. The long route takes around two days. The ascent starts gently but gets steep quickly, and there are lakes, forests, meadows, rocky peaks and panoramic views to admire along the way. Snow can be found in the middle of summer, adding to the challenge.
8. Mount Fuji, Japan (3776m)
Summits to climb don't all have to be multi-day sieges. Mount Fuji has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. The practically symmetrical, snow-capped 3776m volcano is an iconic sight of Japan. It’s a very popular mountain among Japanese travellers so you’ll never have it to yourself; there are even vending machines at the top. The way is challenging as it’s covered in slippery scree, which is especially difficult on the descent. But the views from the top are phenomenal and reach all the way to Tokyo on a clear day. The climbing season is quite short, lasting from July to September, however, it is still possible to climb offseason from the end of September through October. Most people climb it in a single day by starting early, but a longer route through the thick woods at the bottom of the mountain can be taken, with the benefit of far fewer other travellers.
9. Mount Damavand, Iran (5610m)
Mount Damavand in Iran is the highest volcano in Asia, at 5610 metres, located in the Alborz range. Although Damavand is a dormant volcano, it is potentially active, and there are warm mineral springs at its base. It’s a popular climb with Iranian travellers and is one of our top mountains to climb. The actual climb from base camp to the summit takes a day (seven hours up, five down) and involves some pretty technical sections, so is best attempted by experienced trekkers and climbers. The final push to the summit is covered in snow, so can be particularly challenging. Due to its altitude, expeditions to climb Damavand should factor in a few days for acclimatising, these can be used to explore the ice-blue frozen waterfall of Abshar Yakhi (5100m), a 6-hour trek from the Bargah Savom stone refuge (4220m).
10. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (5895m)
Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is 5895 metres high and is one of the most famous climbing mountains in Africa. It’s not part of a mountain chain, and the dormant volcano (which is actually comprised of three volcanic cones) stands alone on the plains bordering Kenya. Although climbing Kilimanjaro is popular, it is actually a pretty challenging climb, and it’s estimated that only 75% of climbers reach the summit. The trip takes five days and must be done with a guide with a variety of route options available. Many people combine a Kilimanjaro climb with an animal-spotting safari in East Africa, and this certainly makes for a memorable trip.
Feeling inspired? Check out our full collection of mountain climbing adventures, taking you out of work, and up the highest mountains in the world.