The term mountaineering encompasses all sorts of mountain activities, including mountain climbing, hiking, glacier crossing, and rock climbing. Mountain climbing has become one of the more popular extreme sports, and as such has become a popular travel trend among adventure tourists. Mountain climbers are often called Alpinists (especially in European languages), because it implies climbing extremely high and difficult mountains like the Alps.
Pros and Cons
Climbing a mountain provides a tremendous sense of achievement, and it is a common item on a person’s bucket list. It also helps improve your overall stamina, fitness, and strength.
You need to be in excellent shape to climb a mountain, and getting in excellent shape helps improve your health and will likely extend your life.
You generally climb as part of a team, and it can be a great bonding experience, while meeting locals (such as Sherpa guides) can also be a very rewarding experience. There are some obvious downsides, however, such as the safety risks. Hazards such as falling rocks, falling ice, crevasses, avalanches, and poor weather can all endanger your life while on the mountain. It will be extremely cold, so hypothermia is another risk. It also costs a large sum of money to climb a mountain, and takes (at least) months of training to get in the proper shape.
One of the most popular mountain climbing destinations needs no introduction. Rising 29, 035 feet above sea level, Mount Everest in Nepal is the highest mountain on Earth and has been considered one of the greatest mountaineering achievements for decades. More than 2,000 people have reached the summit through South Col, which is the most successfully climbed route on the mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro is another popular destination. It is Africa’s highest mountain, located on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. The highest peak is Uhuru, which stands at 19, 340 feet high. For sheer beauty, it’s hard to top Mount Khuiten in Mongolia. The rolling landscapes that define the Altai Mountains and the endless green steppes make the trek to Mount Khuiten just as beautiful as the climb itself.
The Road Less Travelled
Some people may be surprised to learn that Iran holds one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The Elburz Mountains are stunning towards the northeast of Tehran against the Caspian Sea, and Damavand’s peaks are over 19,000 feet high. The two small glaciers provide spectacular views. Mexico is also home to two beautiful mountains, the Cilaltepetl and Iztaccihuatl, which are the third and seventh highest mountains in North America. They offer two of the most attractive climbs in all of North America, particularly Iztacchihuatl, which is called the “white woman” because its snowcapped peaks look like the feet, breasts, and head of a sleeping woman.
Costs and Savings
Mountain climbing is one of the most expensive endeavours in the world. To start, personal travel will cost at least a couple of grand, depending on where you are going. Getting to the Base Camp and accommodation will cost another few thousand dollars. Climbing fees, however, are where things start to get very expensive. For Mount Everest, climbing fees generally range between $16,500 and $21,500. This includes a permit to climb, medical support, Sherpa guides, and other necessities. Add on climbing gear and other miscellaneous expenses, and mountain climbing becomes one of the most expensive tourist attractions in the world.