Followers of my travels will know of my love of mountains, if I’m not hiking I’m probably planning, so I thought I’d share my top seven ambitious climbs; a bucket list if you will. While I’ve not yet climbed the below, perhaps this list will provide you with a little inspiration to mount (ha) an adventure of your own.
Turkey | 5,137 m
In eastern Turkey is the fabled snow-capped Mt Ararat, a dormant compound volcano where legend has it that Noah’s Ark settled once the flood waters receded. There’s something about this daunting yet beautiful peak that draws my need to ascend it’s 5,137 m summit. I’ve manged to see Ararat with my own eyes when visiting Armenia; Pictures don’t do it justice – it’s humongous!
How far have I got: I’ve worked out the travel logistics, and been in touch with a local guide (you have to have a guide) and even been offered a discount if I can get six friends to join me, so who’s in?
Russia | 5,642 m
At school I was taught Mt Blanc is the highest peak in Europe. I was taught wrong, sort of. Mt Blanc is the highest mountain in ‘Western Europe’ and back in those days Europe pretty much ended at the boarder of Eastern Germany. But now we all know that it is in fact Mt Elbus which is the highest peak on the whole European continental plate. I’d love to reach it’s summit one day, take a selfie and send it back to the teachers from my youth.
How far have I got: I’ve worked out how to get to the starting point. A flight to Mineralnye Vody or a 2 day overnight train from Moscow. Either option pretty much off the cards anytime soon. Thanks Putin.
Three Peak Challenge USA
Mount Whitney, 4421 m, California | Mount Elbert, 4401.2 m, Colorado | Mount Rainier, 4,394 m, Washington
Imagine taking part in the three-peak challenge; now imagine it being in America. It’s bigger and bolder, involves a road trip in a campervan taking in some awesome ‘Americana’ culture along the way. As the name suggests the plan is to summit the three highest peaks in the contiguous (main land) USA. That’s Mount Whitney 4421 m – California, Mount Elbert, 4401.2 m – Colorado and Mount Rainier, 4,394 m – Washington. The last being somewhat of a technical climb – so I probably need to do some preparation before I head here. But this could make for an epic summer adventure.
How far have I got: I made this cool sketch below.
Queen Mary’s Peak
Tristian de Cuhna | 2,062 m
Remote places are totally my jam, and it doesn’t get much more remote than the small island of Tristan da Cunha. A British Overseas Territories home to about 250 inhabitants in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is where I hope one day I’ll make it to its volcanic central peak, Queen Mary’s Peak. At 2,062 meters it may not be the highest peak on this list but looking down and seeing the vastness of the Atlantic ocean all around you I feel would make for one of the most awesome adventures.
How far have I got: After learning that it can cost over $1,300 return on a ship and take 5-10 days depended on the weather to just get to Tristian from South Africa (not forgetting I’d have to get to SA) – this is mostly on the back burner.
Ecuador | 6,263 m
I have no intention of ever attempting to climb Mt Everest. It’s too expensive, overcrowded, and deadly dangerous. I do know my limits and mine are substantially some way below the worlds ‘highest’ mountain. But that doesn’t mean I don’t crave to achieve reaching some geographical extreme landmarks. What I feel is still within my grasp (perhaps) is being the furthest person from the earth’s core, and the closest person to space. But how?
Due to the Earths shape not being a perfect sphere (just google equatorial bulge) the summit of Chimborazo’s in Ecuador is actually the farthest point one from our planets core one can actully stand. In fact the summit is 2,072 meters farther from Earth’s center than Mount Everest’s summit. So yeah – that’s totes on my bucket list.
How far have I got: Mostly wishful thinking, but I do keep an eye out on flight prices to Ecuador
Uganda | 5,109 m
It’s been many a year since I’ve done any hiking on the great continent of Africa, so I’d love to return and tackle one of its great peaks. But rather than heading to Africa’s overcrowded Mt Kilimanjaro I would much rather go a bit off the beaten track by giving the highest peak on the continent a miss, even skipping the second highest peak (Mt Kenya) by heading to the Rwenzori Mountains where Mt Stanley holds the title as the continents third highest peak. By all accounts this can be a challenging climb requiring some technical knowledge and the use of a guides – not something I have a problem with as I’d have the mountain to myself.
How far have I got: I found myself looking at Ugandan bus timetables – it might be better if I just hire a car.
Papua New Guinea | 4,509 m
Perhaps the only thing cooler then telling your mates you’ve been to Papua New Guinea is to tell them about your adventure summiting the country’s highest peak. Navigating mountain rain forest, alpine grassland, and a glacial valley as your make your way to the top. Whilst not considered a technical climb, it can be rather challenging so I know I would have to take precautions and be well prepared. Atop I would expect to be rewarded by amazing views of the Pacific and a number of coastal islands, but knowing my luck it would be cloudy and rainy, so I may as well just climb Snowdon!
How far have I got: Nothing.