Not everyone likes to sit back, relax, and watch the world go by when they travel. If you prefer your holidays to be a challenge, then the world has plenty of delights to offer you. There are more experiences to collect, activities to enjoy, and physically demanding sceneries to visit– but they are all beaten into submission for the Seven Summits.
As far as a challenging holiday goes, climbing a mountain is pretty much at the top of the list. The Seven Summits are the highest peaks on each continent. Some take years to prepare to climb; others can be managed by relative newbies. If you truly want your next travelling experience to push you to the limit, then you should consider one of the following.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is more feasible than you might imagine. The main threat comes from the altitude issues; the terrain itself is more like a rough hiking trail than scaling the side of a mountain. This dormant volcano is a good first summit to attempt if you’re new to the mountaineering experience.
Climbing Vinson tends to be difficult, not least because of its location– few of us will have considered Antarctica for a travel experience! However, as with Kilimanjaro, it’s not the actual climb that’s the biggest challenge with Vinson; it’s the temperature (freezing, as you’d expect) and the altitude. If you fancy trying it, then expeditions are fairly common throughout the southern-hemisphere summer.
Puncak Jaya / Kosciuszko
Puncak Jaya is the highest summit in Indonesia’s Sudirman Range, making it the highest point in Oceania. While beautiful, Puncak Jaya is a very technical climb that shouldn’t be attempted by a first-timer– perhaps one to save for when you have built up a bit of experience instead.
It would be impossible to talk about summits without a nod to the biggest of them all, Mount Everest. While climbing Everest is always going to be a tough ask, it is possible to do even with little experience. This reputation has been further enhanced by the demise of the so-called Hillary Step, which has meant the climb to the summit is easier now– though, of course, still a tough ask! Nevertheless, it’s a great ‘bucket list’ kind of goal, and one you might want to consider.
Climbing Denali, which is located in the US, is not the most technical of climbs, but a previous experience is beneficial. The climb is extremely cold due to the Alaskan location and exposure, so you’ll need to be ready to deal with a few shivering fits!
The good news is that Elbrus, which is located in Russia, is one of the most affordable of Seven Summits to attempt. The biggest risk comes from the conditions; the climb is relatively simple, with much of it able to be walked, but the weather is bitterly cold. If you do want to attempt it, then make sure you try during the northern hemisphere summer.
One of the easiest of the seven summits — the “climb” is mainly walkable up gravel paths — the main concern with Aconcagua is the altitude. As you can climb relatively quickly, it’s easy to not take enough time to acclimatise. If you can be sure you’ll take the altitude seriously though, Aconcagua is a great first attempt.
So, having read through the above, do you think you would be tempted to take the holiday of a lifetime and try to scale one of the seven?
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