Wildspitze, the Giant in Tirol

Wildspitze mountain Austria
Der Wildspitze, a true bucket-list giant.

The Wildspitze is the second highest mountain in Austria and the highest in Tirol. With more than 100 different ski villages, the Wildspitze is a well-known setting for many wintersport enthusiastics looking for a memorable winter holiday. In summertime, the historical towns, rich culture and traditional Tyrolean customs, make this spot on earth a great location to stay after a long day out and about.

About

Located in Ötztal in Austria

The Wildspitze is located in the Ötztal Alps in Tyrol between the Ötztal and the Pitztal. It is the second highest peak in Austria with an altitude of 3772 meters. Only the Grossglockner reaches higher. The mountain was first ascended by L. Klotz, a local farmer, in 1861. However, in 1848 a group of climbers had already successfully climbed the southern summit, which is slightly lower. During the twentieth century, the snow on the north peak melted away, making the south peak higher. According to some, the ascent of 1848 is considered the first one.

The route via the Breslauer Hut is the most common. It starts in the village of Vent and the summit climb takes about four hours. An alternative route includes a stay over in the Braunschweiger Hut. As this route is more glaciated, there are more crevasses to cross, expanding the climb to 6,5 hours.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Wildspitze

The mountain is heavily glaciated and has twin summits; the South summit which is quite rocky at 3,768m and the North summit which is mostly firn-covered at 3,760m.

Best Time to Climb Wildspitze

The summer months of July, August and September are ideal especially for the normal routes. In case you want to avoid crowds during peak season, climb during weekdays. Due to ice melting on the North face route during summer, there has been increased danger of rock fall. Therefore, spring and winter seasons are recommended while using this route.

Wildspitze Climbing Routes

The Normal Route

Wildspitze (photo Fuchs Robert)

This route is considerably easy; however complete glacial equipment and experience will still be required. A local mountain guide is recommended for the glacier crossing.

The normal route starts from the Breslauer Hut which is at 2,840m over the Mitterkarjoch. Most people opt to spend the night at this hut and proceed to the summit the next morning. You could also take the chairlift from Vent up to Stablein at 2350m. An uphill ride costs €11

Two routes lead to the Breslauer Hut from Vent (1,900m); via Rofen or via Stablein. The route to Rofen has a suspension bridge across the river and is more scenic. The trail gets steeper to the north while following the Rofen Bach and after 600m, the Stablein trail joins from the right. The trail zigzags towards the west for about 200m to the hut.

The chairlift that operates in summer that can take you to Stablein. After which it will take roughly one and a half hours to the Breslauer Hut. You can opt to hike through the trail from Vent to Stablein.

There are two trails that go west from the hut; the upper one goes to Wildspitze and the lower one goes to Vernagt Hutte.

Aiming for the Mitterkarjoch, stick to the valley centre while gaining altitude; make a wide turn to the north and eventually north-east on the glacier.

Once you get to the Mitterkarjoch, the Taschachferner will stretch towards the west. Be on the lookout for crevasses here. The rocky south ridge is the easiest way to reach the summit.

The North Wall Route

This route, like the other north face routes is currently succumbing to the effects of global warming, therefore winter season is recommended as ideal to attempt a climb.

From Pitztal ski area, you can take the lift to Mittelberg Joch and then descend to the Taschach Glacier. On its left side, head south through crevasses, then west to the base of the steep wall. Once beneath this steep wall of ice, the best summit routes will be generally on the right side of the rocks that are in the middle of that face.

From the Pitz Valley Glacier

From Mittelberg Joch, which can be accessed via a cable car, head southwards to the Taschachferner glacier’s eastern edge. Without height gain and under an icefall, proceed westwards. There will be crevasses on your left.

From the snow bridge, turn left heading south-east, pass below the Hinterer Brochkogel and proceed beneath the Mitterkarjoch. The slope is much steeper from here. Make a right turn once you reach the base of the summit. The last hundred meters to the summit are completed by foot over icy snow and rocks.

Pitztal Valley

Pitztal Valley
© Ben The Man

The Pitztal Valley is one of the most-visited places around Wildspitze. A unique family atmosphere permeates the village streets. You find yourself in the middle of the Alps. Pitztal is a side valley of the Inntal. The villages of Wenns, Sankt Leonhard im Pitztal and Arzl im Pitztal are the most important stops for tourists.

Ötztal

Ötztal
© Daniel Fuchs

Idyllic is probably the best word to describe the nature in the Ötztal from hilly alpine meadows to the eternal snows high up in the mountains. There are several villages in this valley that will immerse you into the traditional Tyrolean culture: Sautens, Haiming-Ochsengarten, Sölden, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Vent. All of them are great starting bases to discover the many hiking trails leading through this region.

Mountain Huts near the Wildspitze

Breslauer Hut

Mountain hut - Breslauer Hut
Breslauer Hut

The Breslauer Hut is a German Alpine Club mountain hut located at the base of the Wildspitze, the highest mountain in North Tirol. Due to its elevation of 2844m, it isthe perfect starting point for ascents up Mount Wildspitze. When the hut was built in 1882, there were only 15 sleeping places inside. Nowadays, it accommodates at least 172 people. It takes about three hours to reach the cabin from the village of Vent. Popular mountains climbed from this hut are the Hinterer Brochkogel, Ötztaler Urkund, Wildes Mannle and the Wildspitze. Hikers often stayover before hiking further to Braunschweiger Hutte, Taschachhaus or Vernagthutte.

Braunschweiger Hut

Mountain hut - Braunschweiger Hutte
Braunschweiger Hutte

The Braunschweiger Hut is slightly lower than the Breslauer Hut with an elevation of 2759m. The hut, owned by the German Alpine Club,is situated close to the Mittelbergferner Glacier along the E5 long distance hiking trail. Its wooden interior evokes the charm of the Tyrolean Alps. The smell of the traditional Austrian cuisine servedadds to the atmosphere. Many hikers set the cabin as their goal to get tremendous views of the Mittelbergferner Glacier. You can opt to hike your way up or use the Gletscherexpress lift, before descending your way down. The hut has 56 beds and 127 matress dormitories.

Vernagthutte

Mountain hut - Vernagthutte
Vernagthutte

Starting from Vent, it takes about three hours to reach Vernagthutte (2755m). The cabin is open from March to mid-May, and from mid-June to mid-September. There are 192 places to sleep.

 

 

Accommodations in the region of the Wildspitze

Tirol stretches over Austria and Italy and has become a popular winter sport destination. In the summertime, the region around Wildspitze lures active travelers from all over the world with its fine mountain vistas. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

geierwallihof
Geierwallihof

I highly recommend Geierwallihof in Vent. It is the last building up in the valley, where the road ends and the mountains begin. I stayed there a few times with my father and we had a lovely time. The Klotz family takes care of groups with the same personal touch as if you are by yourself. Enjoy the cordial and refreshing atmosphere surrounded by the most beautiful mountains of Tyrol.

Hubert is also an experienced  mountain guide who takes his guests for beautiful hikes. The route is discussed and fixed the day before. Food and drinks are prepared by their kitchen. When required, the hotel bus provides transport, free of charge.

 

Hiking near the Wildspitze

Vent: Webcam − Blick auf
 Live view of Vent

If you are looking for an active summer holiday, the Otztal in Tyrol has plenty to offer from family circular walks to glacier tours. The many huts, lakes and trails that connect them provide great fun while in the nature of Tyrol.

Mittelbergferner Glacier

From the village Mittelberg at the end of the Pitztal, you can take the Gletscherexpress or hike your way up to the Mittelbergferner glacier. This takes about 2 to 3 hours. If you wish to stay in the nearby Braunschweiger Hut, you will need proper equipment to cross the tongue of the glacier.
Starting from Sölden in the Ötztal valley you can hike to Pitztaler Jöchl.

Sellrain Hut Loop

The Sellrain Hut Loop is a tour divided into 7 stages with walking times between three and six hours. It is ideal for beginners and mountaineers planning for higher targets. The alpine paths lead from hut to hut all the way through the Sellrainer mountains. The tour often starts in Sellrain and has an overall distance of 78 kilometers during which it gains and loses 5,950 meters of elevation.

Nature exploration trail

The nature exploration trail is one of the many thematic trails found in the region. The hike is suitable for all levels across the Sölden ski area. The trail starts at the middle station of the Gaislachkogelbahn and ends at the Edelweiss Hut. Along the way of this 7km trail, you will be educated about several topics including the fauna and flora to be found there or the ancient customs and traditions of the Ötztal. Furthermore, it offers insight into the dangers that can be found on the mountains. Hiking the Nature exploration trail takes about two hours during which you ascend 100m and descend about 450m.

Hike to Heidealm

Starting in the village of Sölden, you walk to the church and take the steeply-rising trail leading to the hamlet of Innerwald. Then continue your hike to the area known as “Stiegele” before a rising pasture trail takes you to the Gaislach forest road. This will bring you to the Gaislach Alm mountain inn where you will find the further trail to the mountain hut, Heidealm. The remaining hike willascend and wind. This trail is rated an easy hike and can be completed in 1h30 min. However, most of the trail you will be ascending towards the hut, so make sure you are fit to undertake this hike.

Hut Tour Windachtal

If you have an active holiday in mind filled with hiking in beautiful mountain scenery, this hut tour might be perfect for you. This hut tour starts in Sölden and can be completed in three to five days, depending on your preferences. If you choose the five-day itinerary, you will find yourself hiking for 4 to five hours a day. Along the way, you can sleep in several mountain huts, where you can rest and enjoy some Austrian specialties. The severe elevation change (4000m+) makes this a difficult tour for experienced walkers.

Ötztal trek

For those with more time on their hands, the Otztal trek affords the ultimate Tyrolean experience. A total distance of 400 kilometers, divided into 22 sections and gaining over 30000 altitude meters, this multi-day trek guarantees picturesque mountain views, idyllic mountain lakes and thrilling trails leading to even better vistas. The Ötztal trek is a string of exceptional viewpoints to the summits of impressive 3000 meter peaks in the high alpine terrain.

Hochoetz

The alpine hut region, Hochoetz, is truly a hikers paradise. The Acherkogelbahn takes you up to 2020m in no time, at the starting point of several well-marked hiking trails. It is recommended whether you are looking for easy hikes to nearby mountain huts or a more challenging tour over the mountain tops and sidevalleys of the Ötztal.

Hiking with kids

If you are on an active holiday with young children, you can find many family-friendly hikes around the area. However, if there is one hiketo recommend, it would be the Zwerglerweg. This hike starts at the middle station of the Gaislachkogel gondola and leads to the quaint Goldegg hut. The hike will give the children an opportunity to discover different stories and fairytales. The hike only takes about 40min and leads downhill, making it an easy walk.

Things to do around Wildspitze

Mount Wildspitze is located in Tyrol, Austria, a region where visitors are enchanted by the imposing mountain surroundings. The Ötztal is surrounded by several mountain huts and alms, making for great daytrips for hikers. Don’t forget to soak up the traditional culture by participating in one of the festivals during the summer or enjoying typical Tyrolean specialties such as Tiroler Gröstl and Kiachl with cranberry jam.

Ötzi
In Umhausen (1031 meters) you will find the Ötzi Museum, which was established as a result of the discovery in September 1991 of the Ötzi iceman.

From the car park of the Ötzi museum you can take a walk to the highest waterfall in Tyrol. The Stuibenfall falls 150 meters in depth, and is the highest waterfall in Austria

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Wildspitze Map

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Wildspitze Map 46.885429, 10.867260

The Seven Easiest 4000m peaks in the Alps

Seven easiest 4000m peaks in the Alps

Are you looking for a climbing challenge, but lack the experience to tackle the Everest? No worries, there are several mountain peaks in the Alps that will look great on your climbing resume and are a good climb for novices.

  1. Breithorn, 4164m
  2. Gran Paradiso, 4061m
  3. Mont Blanc, 4810m
  4. Monte Rosa, 4634m
  5. Weissmiess, 4017m
  6.  Lagginhorn, 4010m
  7. Allalinhorn, 4027m

However, bear in mind that to climb the relatively easy 4000m peaks in the Alps you are best of with a local guide.  It is necessary to have basic mountaineering knowledge in terms of glacier safety, rope work, using crampons and ice axe. Also know how to deal with the changing weather and snow conditions.  

Climbing 4000m+ requires strength, endurance, and strong cardiovascular conditioning. Also bring some shoes fit for the job. 

Here are seven easy mountains in the Alps that will help you reach your goals, higher than 4000 meter. 

Breithorn, 4164m

The Breithorn is regarded as the easiest of all 4000 meter peaks in the Alps. This because a cable car towards Klein Matterhorn will bring you up 3883m, leaving with only a mere 300m to climb. Most mountaineers are able to get the climb done in 3 hours or less.

Easiest route – The easiest route to climb the Breithorn is by taking the cable car up to Klein Matterhorn and follow the normal route that leads you in about 3 hours to the summit. The route crosses a glaciated plateau before ascending and following the ridge.

Why climb it?

Not only because the Breithorn is an easy and short climb, but its location is one of the main reasons why it’s a popular climb. It is nestled in between the Monte Rosa massif and the iconic Matterhorn. Obviously you get impressive views from the summit.

How to reach it?

The Breithorn is best reached via Zermatt in Switzerland, a mountaineering village at the base of the iconic Matterhorn. The cable car at the end of the Mattertal will bring you to the Klein Matterhorn, just over 3800 meter. From here you can start your climb to the summit of the Breithorn.

Mountain huts

One of the best places to spend the night before attempting a summit bit is Gandegghütte. This is a cosy little mountain hut located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station (same cable car that leads to Klein Matterhorn).

It is not only a great place to spend the night for acclimatizing reasons, but the views towards the Matterhorn are simply impressive. Also, the Breithorn is looming behind the mountain hut and seems quite intimidating from this point of view, despite being an easy climb.

Another option is the Theodulhutte, with an altitude of 3317m, located near the highest mountain pass in the Alps. It would take a longer hike from Trockener Stegg and involves crossing a glacier (though be it a safe one).

Gran Paradiso, 4061m

The Gran Paradiso is the highest independent peak in Italy and offers impressive panoramic views on the Mont Blanc massif and many other renown peaks in the Alps such as Grand Combin and Monte Rosa. Most of the ascent involves crossing slight angled and glaciated snow slopes which require basic glacier travel experience. The last part of the ascent however, involves a simple though very exposed rock climb to reach the summit. However, this final 50m of ascent can be easily done due to the fixed bolts for protection. The Madonna statue on the summit makes a great photo opportunity. The peak is often climbed as a acclimatization climb for Mont Blanc attempts and can be quite crowded during peak season. For this reason, there can be a bottleneck on the last rocky part.

Normal Route – The easiest route to climb the Gran Paradiso is the normal route starting from Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele or Rifugio Frédéric Chabod. Both mountain huts are easily accessible from Valsavarenche via good mule-tracks. From the hut it is advised to rope up to cross the glacier and meandering through the easy-angled snowslopes. The real climb only starts when reaching the Traditional Peak, where the little statue of Virgin Mary is situated. To reach it, you need to scramble along the summit ridge. Fixed bolts make it an easy and safe rock climb. Though this part is quite exposed and might well be crowded. Allthough, the summit with the Madonna is the goal for all mountaineers with Gran Paradiso on their list, it is not the actual summit. The ‘true’ summit is more less towards the north, but is quite technical.

Why climb it?

Not only are you climbing an easy 4000 meter peak, but Gran Paradiso is the highest mountain completely located in Italian territory. It’s a great climb to learn basic alpine skills and gather experience in rock scrambling at high altitude with crampons.

How to reach it?

Both Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele and Rifugio Frédéric Chabod can be reached from Valsavarenche and are great bases to make your summit attempt. In Valsavarenche there is a free parking area, just at the begin of the path to refuge Vittorio Emanuele II, where you can leave your car.

Mountain huts

The Chabod Hut is one of the two most-used mountain huts for climbing the Gran Paradiso. It is located at the foot of the north-west-face of the mountain in the heart of the national park. Situated at an elevation of 2750 meters, a hike of several hours (2.5h) is needed to reach it. The footpath leading up to it dates from the hunting days of king Vittorio Emanuele II and winds through the woods. The refuge offers services with 85 beds during the summer season and in springtime (for skiing).

Refuge Victor Emanuele is the second refuge often used for Gran Paradiso climbs. It is named after king Vittorio Emanuele II who hunted in the area in the past and gave the national park its status. It takes about two hours to reach from the village of Valsavarenche. With an altitude of 2735m, it is similar in height to the Chabod Hut. It is capable of hosting 120 people, but is only open during the summer season. Prices to stay range from  €3 (sleeping bag) – €65 (all-inclusive)

Mont Blanc, 4810m

It might seem a bit surprising but despite being the highest mountain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc is also one of the easiest to climb regarded from a technical level. The normal route is a great first alpine experience and requires little technical difficulty. Though acclimatization and glacier travel basics should lie in the capabilities of those who attempt it. You need to very, very fit.

First ascent – The first ascent was made on August 8, 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard.  

Easiest route – The easiest route to climb the Mont Blanc is the Gouter route starting from Chamonix. Most summit attempts are undertaken from the Gouter Hut (3835m) or Refuge de Tete Rousse (3167m). In between lays the Aiguille de Gouter, the most technical part of the ascent with a dangerous crossing over the ‘Grand Couloir’ because of the constant stonefall. Allthough I climbed this part in early morning (spent the night at Tete Rousse), it is recommended to stay in Gouter Hut instead and cross this part in daylight for maximum safety. There is a safety line you can secure yourself on, to avoid fatal falls.  Above the Gouter hut, you are constantly exposed to strong winds, though the technical level of the route is low. Just be prepared for high winds on the summit ridge which is narrow and exposed.

Why climb it?

The Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe. The summit is located on the Swiss-Italian border, giving tremendous views in the Chamonix valley and the Aosta valley.

How to reach it?

Mont Blanc can be climbed from both Chamonix as well as Courmayeur. Chamonix however is your best choice when tackling from the easiest route, the Gouter route. The ascent starts in Le Faye tor Saint-Gervais where you can take the Mont Blanc Tramway to Nid d’Aigle. Both villages are reachable with public transport in the valley. From here a hike will take you to Tete Rousse. To reach Gouter Hut, one need to climb the Aiguille de Gouter, a more technical rock formation.

Mountain huts

The Refuge du Gouter(3835m) is a new hut replacing the older Gouter Hut and is the starting point for most Mont Blanc ascents on this route. This makes that can be quite crowded here and reservations well in advance are a must.

If you don’t mind a longer ascent (2-3 hours longer), you can sleep in the less-crowded Refuge de Tete Rousse (3167m). This makes for a very long ascent and requires you to cross the Grand Couloir and climb the Aiguille de Gouter in early morning.

Monte Rosa, 4634m


The Monte Rosa is the second largest mountain massif in the Alps. It has ten peaks reaching over 4000 meter, most of them easy to be climb for novice mountaineers. The highest peak is the Dufourspitze (4634m) and is located in Switzerland. This makes it the highest mountain in Switzerland. The peaks can be tackled from Swiss side, as well as from the Italian side. The two highest peaks, Dufourspitze and Nordend, are more technical and require some experience. Zumsteinspitze on the other hand is well within reach for beginners.

First ascent – The first ascent of Zumsteinspitze was made on August 1, 1820 by Joseph Zumstein.

Easiest route – There are several routes leading to Zumsteinspitze, allthough the easiest one is from the Italian side. Most ascents start at the Gnifetti (3647m) or Mantova hut (3498m). The time required for climbing via this route is 5 hours from Gnifetti and about half an hour longer from Mantova Hut. It goes fully over glaciated terrain, so glacier crossing experience is required, though the route is technically easy. Along the way there are several other peaks that are easy within reach such as Vincent Pyramid (4215m), Ludwigshöhe (4341m), Parrotspitze (4432m) and Punta Gnifetti (4556m). 

Why climb it?

The Monte Rosa Blanc is the second-highest massif in the Alps. Zumsteinspitze is a very good goal to set as you get tremendous views and can spend the night in the highest mountain hut in the Alps.

How to reach it?

Zumsteinspitze in the Monte Rosa massif can be both climbed from Swiss and Italian side, though the Italian normal route is easiest when setting Zumsteinspitze as your goal. It is best to take the cable car from Gressoney, Staffal all the way up to Punta Indren (3250m). From here you will have to walk and cross the Indren Glacier, so crampons are advised. You can spend the night in either the Mantova Hut or the Gnifetti hut.

Mountain huts

There are two hut options from the normal Italian route to climb Zumsteinspitze: Gnifetti and Mantova hut. The advantage of the Gnifetti Hut is the higher altitude and better location (closer to the mountain). Another accommodation option is the famous Capanna Regina Margherita, the highest mountain hut in Europe at 4554 meters, situated on top of Punta Gnifetti / Signalkuppe. Though acclimatization is required to spend the night here.

Weissmies, 4017m

Weissmies is a prominent mountain surrounding the famous Saas valley in the very eastern part of the Swiss Kanton Wallis, close to the Italian border. The name literally means ‘white moss’, which refers to the glaciated summit of the peak.

First ascent – The mountain was first climbed in 1855 by Jacob Christian Häuser en Peter Josef Zurbriggen.

Easiest routeThe route along the Northwest flank of Weissmies is considered the normal route on the mountain. The vicinity of the Hohsaas cableway makes it even possible for climbers to climb Weissmies along this route in a single day. However, since this would require descending in soft snow, it is recommended to spend the night in the Weissmies Hut and make an early start.

Why climb it?

Weissmies has a prominence of 1186 meter and an altitude of 4017m. The closest mountain that is higher (Lenzspitze, 4294m) is about 11 kilometers away, making Weissmies the highest peak in this part of the Alps.

How to reach it?

From the village of Saas Grund in the Saas valley, you can take the Hohsaas cable car to get higher in a short amount of time. Take the cable car ip to either Kreuzboden or Hohsaas to reach the mountain huts, located at the base of the normal route.

Also, the trails leading to Weissmies Hut or Hohsaas Hut start here as well.

Mountain huts

The Weissmieshüt is located to the west of Weissmies high above the Saas valley. It is easily reached from Saas Grund by using the cableway system up to either Kreuzboden or Hohsaas. The hut is situated at the base of the normal route up to Weissmies along the Trift glacier (NW-flank).

An alternative for the Weissmieshütte is the Hohsaas Hut. Though it is less cosy and doesn’t have the typical mountain hut “feeling” like the Weissmies hut, but it is closer to the summit (and at an higher elevation) and therefore a good alternative. 

Lagginhorn, 4010m

The Lagginhorn is only to be seperated of the Weissmies by the Lagginjoch (3499m) and is therefore located in the Wallis kanton. It might well be the only 4000 meter peak that requires no crampons or ice axe.

First ascent – The mountain was first climbed on August 26, 1856 by Johann Joseph Imseng, Franz Joseph Andenmatten, Edward Levi Ames, 3 English climbers and 3 guides .

Easiest route

The easiest route to the summit of Lagginhorn is via the West Ridge. Most of the route is a steep path in very loose scree, only to be interrupted by short sections that require a little scrambling. From the Weissmieshut, it takes about 4-5 hours to reach the summit. From Hohsaas, only 3-4 hours are required.

Why climb it?

When the summit is snow-free, no crampons or ice axe are required making this mountain a great goal for those who wish to have the mountaineering feel without having the technical experience.

How to reach it?

From the village of Saas Grund in the Walliser Saastal, you can take the cable car to Hohsaas or hike your way to Weissmies hut.

Mountain huts

The Weissmieshüt is located to the west of Weissmies high above the Saas valley. It is easily reached from Saas Grund by using the cableway system up to either Kreuzboden or Hohsaas. The hut is situated at the base of the normal route up to Weissmies along the Trift glacier (NW-flank).

An alternative for the Weissmieshütte is the Hohsaas Hut. Though it is less cosy and doesn’t have the typical mountain hut “feeling” like the Weissmies hut, but it is closer to the summit (and at an higher elevation) and therefore a good alternative. 

Allalinhorn, 4027m

The Allalinhorn is a well-known peak in the Swiss Alps. Firstly because it is one of the 82 mountains that reach above 4000 meters. Secondly because it is one of the easiest to climb 4000 meter mountains. The vicinity of the Mittelallalin top station, which drops climbers off at an altitude of almost 3500 meters, makes the climb quite similar to the Breithorn. Still, the Allalinhorn is an alpine climb and should not be undertaken lightly.

First ascent – The mountain was first climbed on August 28, 1856 by Johann Joseph Imseng, Franz Joseph Andenmatten and Edward Levi Ames.

Easiest route

The heavily ascended Normal route of the Allalinhorn is graded F+ and is one of the most climbed routes in the Alps. The route starts at the Mittelallalin top station at 3450 meters. As a result, climbers only have to deal with an altitude difference of just over 500 vertical meters to reach the summit. Though the climb is considered no more than a mere walk-up on glaciated terrain, it still has the dangers of crevasses present.

Why climb it?

The Allalinhorn is the easiest of 4000 meter peaks to climb and therefore is an great way to claim bragging rights. The summit offers views on famous peaks such as the Monte Rosa, Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Mont Blanc Massif.

How to reach it?

The starting point for the normal route on Allalinhorn is Saas Fee, also named the Pearl of the Alps. From here you can access the ski facilities to reach Mittelallalin.

Mountain huts

There are several mountain huts in the region of the Allalinhorn, however none are really needed to climb to the summit due to the vicinity of the cable car system. For those who wish to climb from the valley up, the Berghaus Langfluh (2870m) is a good option for climbing Allalinhorn along the normal route.

Mountain Death Rate, The Dark Side of Mountaineering

Mount Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu from Gokyo Ri
Cho Oyu from Gokyo Ri Photo: McKay Savage

Mt. Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest peak stands at 8,188m above sea level. It is located on the Tibet-Nepal border. At the Khumbu sub-section of the Mahalangur Himalaya, it is the westernmost major peak, 20km west of Mt. Everest.

It is claimed to be the easiest eight thousander to summit due to its relatively easy access and minimal technical sections.

 

Death Rate Cho Oyu 1.4%

Mt. Cho Oyu has had about 3,138 successful ascents with 44 fatalities recorded. It has a death rate of 1.4% which is the least among the 14 – eight thousander peaks. Most of these deaths have been caused by falls, avalanches and altitude sickness. Other minor causes are exhaustion, hypothermia and crevasse falls.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Cho Oyu

There are two seasons, pre-monsoon and post-monsoon. The months of May through to June are warmer, however there’s time limitation considering the upcoming monsoon.

The post-monsoon (September-October) offers more stable weather conditions with clear skies. You may need to watch out for the ferocious winter storms though.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Cho Oyu

There have been successful winter attempts and ascents, but some have resulted in tragedy. Frost bite and rapid weather changes are not to be risked during winter.

 

Mount Gasherbrum II

Mount Gasherbrum II

Mt. Gasherbrum II is the world’s 13th highest mountain with an elevation of 8,035m above sea level.

It is located in the Karakoram Range on the Pakistan-China border in Gilgit-Baltistan Province and Xingjian, respectively.

It is also Gasherbrum massif’s third- highest peak.

It is claimed to be the most straight-forward of the fourteen peaks above 8,000m and climbers enjoy a reasonable summit success rate.

It was first climbed in 1956 by an Austrian expedition.

 

Gasherbrum II Death rate 2.3%

Gasherbrum II has had 930 successful ascents with 21 fatalities. Its current death rate is 2.3%

Most of these deaths have been caused by falls and avalanches. Heart failure, extreme cold and exhaustion are other additional causes. Others disappeared.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Gasherbrum II

In Pakistan, summer season is the best to attempt a climb. The season starts in May all through to early September.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Gasherbrum II

The first documented winter summit took place in 2011. Winter has always been said to be the worst time to climb this peak. However, a few successful attempts have been made despite the huge risks.

Unless you are an experienced mountaineer, stick to the summer season.

Mount Lhotse

 

Lhotse 8516 metres
Lhotse and his big neighbour Everest Photo by Guillaume Baviere

Mt. Lhotse lies on the Tibet-Nepal border and stands at 8,56m above sea level. It is the world’s fourth highest mountain. The east-west crest of this mountain lies on the south side of Mt. Everest and has been mostly mistaken as the Everest massif’s south peak.

It has three main summits; Lhotse Main, Lhotse Middle and Lhotse Shar.

The first climbing attempt was in 1955, while the first summit was in May, 1956.

 

Mount Lhotse Death rate 2.8%

In 2008, the total number of climbers who had successfully summited the mountain was 271. 20 deaths had been recorded by the said period. In the years 2014-2016, climbing escapades had been halted due to a series of fatal incidents but were later resumed in 2017.

About 27 people have lost their lives to date.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Lhotse

Like many other Himalayan peaks, the best climbing periods are before the monsoon season begins, that is April to May. The post-monsoon season can also be ideal in the months of September through to October.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Lhotse

Winter season is normally the worst time to climb any Himalayan peak. This means that Mt. Lhotse too is off limits at this time.

 

Mount Everest

Mount Everest

Mt. Everest – the world’s highest peak above sea level, stands at a whopping 8,848m. It is located on the border between China and Nepal. It mainly consists of rocks that have been faulted southwards, both metamorphic and sedimentary.

Mt. Everest Death rate 6.0%

Due to this peak’s elevation, many climbers have found themselves under its magnetic allure. Many experienced climbers attempt the summit. However, there are many dangers that are associated with the climb. Most accidents happen during the descent.

Avalanches, high speed winds, icefall, altitude sickness and crevasses are among the fatal hazards climbers encounter. The mountain has claimed almost 300 lives as of 2017. Most deaths occur during descent.

Its current death rate is 6.0% with about 5,700 successful ascents. [2018 red.]

Best Time to Climb Mt. Everest

The period between April and May are ideal to summit Mt. Everest. Most attempts are made in the month of May before the monsoon season begins. The high speed winds are reduced when the jet stream shifts upwards.

September and October can also be ideal periods to summit after the monsoon.

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Everest

The autumn period is said to be the most dangerous time to attempt a climb. This is because it is after the monsoon season when lots of snow has been deposited and the weather is mostly unstable. High summit weather conditions can be quite unpredictable as well.

Mount Broad Peak 

Broad Peak

                  

Broad Peak – the world’s 12th highest mountain, lies in the Karakoram Range, 8km from Mt. K2 on the China-Pakistan border. It has an elevation of 8,047m above sea level.

The mountain is home to several summits including Broad peak, Broad Peak Central, Broad Peak North, Rocky Summit and Kharut Kangri.

It was first climbed in 1957.  The name is in reference to the similarly named Breithorn in the Alps.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Broad Peak is 5.3%

Broad Peak has a death rate of 5.3%. It has had 404 successful summits with 21 fatalities.

A large number of these deaths have been caused by falls and avalanches. 3 climbers lost their lives during descent due to extremely bad weather. 2 of them drowned in a glacier stream. Exhaustion and pulmonary edema claimed 2 more lives. Others just disappeared.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Broad Peak

The months of June through to September are ideal to summit Broad Peak.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Broad Peak

The first winter summit took place as recent as 2013. A Spanish team had earlier attempted an ascent in 2003 but was forced to turn back due to extreme winds and cold temperatures.

Several camps got destroyed but no lives were lost.

Despite a few winter successes, you are advised to stay away from these Himalayan peaks.

 

Mount Shishapangma     

Shishapangma mountain
photo by John Town

         

Mt. Shishapangma has an elevation of 8,027m above sea level. It is the world’s 14th highest mountain after Gasherbrum II.

Also known as Gosainthan, it is the highest peak in Langtang Himal and the last peak of the 14 eight-thousanders to be climbed.

It is located in the south-central part of Tibet about 5km from the Nepal border. It is the only peak among “the fourteen” that is entirely within Chinese territory.

It was first climbed in 1964 by a Chinese expedition.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Shishapangma is 8.4%

Mt. Shishapangma has a current date rate of 8.4%. It has had 302 successful ascents with 25 fatalities.

Most of these deaths have been attributed to avalanches and falls. Crevasse falls and altitude sickness have also claimed a number of lives. Others disappeared.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Shishapangma

The pre-monsoon season of the months of April through to May are ideal for summiting this peak. Possibly the beginning of June as well. The second season for expeditions is the month of October after the monsoon.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Shishapangma

The first documented winter summit took place in 2005. The unstable weather conditions during winter make it the worst time to attempt an ascent.

Mount Makalu 

Ben Tubby
Makalu photo by Ben Tubby

Mt. Makalu is the world’s fifth highest peak standing at  8,463m above sea level. This magnificent mountain lies 19km south east of Everest in the Mahalangur Himalayas, specifically in the Khumbu region on the Tibet-China-Nepal border.

This mountain is spectacular due its perfect pyramidal shape accentuated by the four sharp ridges.

Its first summit ascent was in 1955 after Everest was conquered in 1953.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Makalu is 8.9%

This peak is a technical climb with only 5 successful ascents of the first 16 attempts.

A total of 22 fatalities have been recorded and successful ascents to date are 206. The deaths have been linked to crevasse falls, exhaustion, rock falls, altitude sickness, avalanches, falls and pneumonia.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Makalu

Best time to attempt a summit is in the months of April and May (pre-monsoon season) and from late September through to October (post-monsoon season).

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Makalu

Winter season in the Himalayas region is a dangerous period to attempt an ascent. Mt. Makalu is no exception. High speed winds near the summit can be fatal during winter. Plus low atmospheric pressure and highly unpredictable weather decreases your chances of a successful climb.

Mount Gasherbrum I   

Gasherbrum
Gasherbrum I photo by  Ivan Zhdanov

Mt. Gasherbrum I – the beautiful mountain, has an elevation of 8,080m above sea level. It is located on the China-Pakistan border, in Xingjian and Gilgit-Baltistan regions, respectively.

Also known as Hidden Peak, it is the world’s 11th highest mountain after Annapurna I. It is also the second highest peak in the Karakoram Range.

Mt. Gasherbrum I is home to 6 peaks and is the venue of the first pure Alpine Style climb of the world’s 8000m. This means it was climbed from the bottom with no supplemental oxygen, just personal gear. Whoa!

It was first climbed in 1958.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Gasherbrum I is 8.9%

Mt. Gasherbrum I has had 334 successful summits with 29 fatalities. It has a current death rate of 8.9%.

These deaths have been highly attributed to avalanches, falls during descent, crevasse falls, pneumonia and pulmonary edema. Others just disappeared.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Gasherbrum I

The months of June through to September are the normal periods for expeditions. The days are warmer and weather conditions more stable.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Gasherbrum I

The first winter summit took place as recent as 2012. Despite these few successes, winter is still off limits for inexperienced climbers.

Mount Manaslu   

Manaslu mountain                      

Mt. Manaslu is the world’s eighth highest mountain with an elevation of 8,163m above sea level after Mt. Dhaulagiri I. It lies in the west-central part of Nepal, Nepalese Himalayas in Mansiri Himal. Its name means “mountain of the spirit”.

Mt. Manaslu is also the highest rock in the District of Gorkha and lies 64km east of Annapurna.

Its long ridges and valleys make it approachable from all angles.

Its first ascent was recorded in 1956 and the first winter ascent was in 1984.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Manaslu is 9.9%

Mt. Manaslu has had 661 successful ascents with 65 deaths recorded. It has a current death rate of 9.9% from 35% before the year 1990.

95% of these deaths were caused by avalanches. Others were caused by falls, exhaustion and altitude sickness.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Manaslu

The best time to summit is during the months of April through to May (pre-monsoon).

Also the period starting late September through to early October (post-monsoon season) can be ideal.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Manaslu

Despite a few successful winter attempts, this is still the worst time to climb any Himalayan peak.

Avalanches, high speed winds and unpredictable weather conditions above 7,000m are quite a threat to climbers.

 

Mount Kangchenjunga            

Mt. Kangchenjunga at 8,586m above sea level is found partly in Nepal and the other section lies in Sikkim, India. It is located on the east-south-east, 125km of Mt. Everest. It is the world’s third highest peak after Mt. K2 and Mt. Everest. It is also the highest mountain in India and ranks 4th in the Himalaya among the most prominent peaks.

It is home to five high peaks and four glaciers.

 

Death rate on Mt. Kangchenjunga is 14.5%

This mountain has a high death rate of about 15%. Since 1955, there have only been 243 successful ascents recorded. The main reason for these fatalities has been linked to falls especially during descent. Some have been caused by exhaustion, suffocation, hypothermia, ice falls and avalanches.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Kangchenjunga

The spring and fall seasons are the best for attempting this summit, especially the month of April.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Kangchenjunga

Mt. Kangchenjunga is the second least attempted peak among the 14 peaks above 8,000m. Avalanches are quite prone among the other common hazards associated with high altitude mountains such as altitude sickness, extreme storms and high speed winds. The worst time to climb is during winter.

 

Mount Dhaulagiri I                    

Mt. Dhaulagiri I is located on the central west part of Nepal. At 8,167m above sea level, it is ranked 7th among the world’s highest peaks.  Within the borders of a single country, it is the highest mountain.

It is commonly known as the White Mountain.

It was first summited in 1960 and its winter ascent was first recorded in 1985.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Dhaulagiri I is 15.7%

Mt. Dhaulagiri I has a current death rate of 15.7%. Before 1990, the death rate stood at a whopping 31%. 69 fatalities have been recorded to date, with 448 successful ascents.

Avalanches have been the major cause of these deaths. Falls, exposure and exhaustion are among the minor causes – about 5%.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Dhaulagiri I

The months of May through to June (pre-monsoon season) are ideal to attempt a summit. It is however important to watch out for the approaching monsoon dangers.

Post-monsoon months of September and October are also recommended as the best time to climb Mt. Dhaulagiri I.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Dhaulagiri I

Due to heavy snow deposited on this massif, winter season is the worst time to attempt an ascent. Avalanches are a sure threat. Although a few winter ascents have been attempted before.

 

Mount Nanga Parbat               

Mt. Nanga Parbat, also known as Diamer, is a dramatic peak rising at 8,126m above sea level. It lies in Diamer District, northern Pakistan and is the western anchor of the Himalayas.

Mt. Nanga Parbat is the world’s ninth highest mountain after Mt. Manaslu and the second highest peak in Pakistan after Mt. K2.

Its first ascent was in 1953.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Nanga Parbat is 20.7%

Before 1990, Mt. Nanga Parbat had the highest death rate of 77% among the 14 – 8000m peaks. Its current death rate stands at 20.7% with 335 successful ascents and 68 fatalities.

Most of these deaths are attributed to avalanches and quite a number of climbers were killed by Talibans at the Diamir Base Camp. Other minor causes were falls, exposure, lightning, pneumonia and frostbite. Others just disappeared.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Nanga Parbat

The months of June through to September are the best to summit this peak.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Nanga Parbat

Its first winter ascent was as recent as 2016. Before that no winter attempt was ever recorded in Pakistan among the seven 8000m peaks climbed during winter.

Snow at high altitudes is the major threat during winter.

 

Mount K2                                  

K2 which also goes by the name Chhogori has a height of 8,611m above sea level, making it the world’s second highest mountain after Mt. Everest. It is situated on the Pakistan-China border, Xingjian County, China.

It mainly consists of metamorphic rocks.

 

Death rate on Mt. K2 is 29.5 %

K2 is nicknamed the Savage Mountain because of its high death rate and the extremely difficult ascent. Actually, it ranks second on the summit fatality rate chart of the eight thousanders after Mt. Annapurna. A summit success rate of 300 has been recorded along with 77 fatalities. This means that for every 4 people who attempt the summit, 1 person never returns home.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. K2

Many attempts are made on the Pakistan side since the Chinese side is more hazardous. The months of June, July and August are the warmest hence, the most ideal periods to attempt a summit.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. K2

Winter season is the worst time to attempt an ascent. High altitude, low atmospheric pressure, long durations of extreme storms and steep elevations make this escapade a daunting one. No winter ascent has been successful despite a number of trials. Descents are equally difficult as ascents.

 

Mount Annapurna I                  

Mt. Annapurna I rises to an elevation of 8,091m above sea level, making it the tenth highest mountain in the world. It was the first eight-thousander to be climbed.

It lies in the Himalayas region in north-central Nepal. It is home to 6 major peaks that are above 7,200m above sea level.

Its first summit was in 1950 and was not summited again till 1970.

 

Death Rate on Mt. Annapurna I is 38%

In 1999, during autumn, 200 climbers set off to conquer this massif. 106 successfully summited while the remaining 54 climbers never saw the light of day again. As of 2009, there were 157 successful ascents and 60 fatalities.

To date, there have been 191 successful ascents and 61 deaths.

With a current death rate of 38%, Annapurna I is ranked to have the highest fatality-to-summit ratio among the 14 peaks above 8000m.

Most deaths were caused by avalanches. Falls and exhaustion were minor causes.

 

Best Time to Climb Mt. Annapurna I

October and November are the best months to summit this peak.

 

Worst Time to Climb Mt. Annapurna I

The monsoon season is the worst period to attempt an ascent. Extreme cold, leeches and heavy rain are a major threat.

Climbing Cho Oyu – the ambition of every mountaineer

Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu Himalayas Mountain
Cho Oyu

There are only fourteen 8,000 meter peaks in the world. Climbing one of these giants is an ambitious goal often set by mountaineers. Cho Oyu, found on the Everest Massif at the China-Nepal border, is a name that more than often pops up in their mind. Why? Despite being the sixth highest mountain in the world with an elevation of 8188 meter? Cho Oyu is regarded as the easiest of 8000 meter peaks. An expedition on Cho Oyu is the best introduction in Himalayan mountaineering. If this expedition is on your list, here are a few things you should know.

History

As is the case with Everest, a 8000 meter peak that is considered to be ‘easy accessible’ attracts more than just experienced mountaineers. This reputation is good news for amateur mountaineers who want, well earned, bragging rights on having climbed one of the highest mountains on the Earth.

This huge flock of tourist mountaineers caused the Chinese government to ban climbing routes to the summit of Cho Oyu for a year in 2009. Reason was there were simply too many ambitious climbers who had set Cho Oyu as their climbing goal.

Cho Oyu was first attempted in 1952 by an expedition financed by Great Britain, as a preparation of the Mount Everest climb in the following year. It was led by Eric Shipton and had members Edmund Hillary and Tom Bourdillon. However the attempt failed at an altitude of 6650 meters. It was only two years later, on October 19th, an Austrian expedition succeeded in reaching the summit. Cho Oyu was the fifth mountain above 8000 meters that was climbed in mountaineering history, after Annapurna (1950), Everest (1953), Nanga Parbat (1953) and K2 (1954).

How easy a climb, is Cho Oyu?

The reputation of a mountain being ‘easy’ is a dangerous one. While the grade of difficulty of a mountain peak often goes together with the technical difficulty, it is often overlooked that there is physical aspect as well as the the important factor of the altitude. The latter one causing altitude sickness, the main cause of deaths in mountaineering.

read here all about climbing 5000+ mountains

So yes it’s true, Cho Oyu lacks the technical difficulty other 8000 meter peaks do have or even smaller mountains around the world, still an expedition in the Himalayas should be regarded as one of the greatest physical challenges one can engage to. Carrying a heavy pack with gear and food for several weeks in thin air is much harder than on sea level. While most climbers have experience with mountaineering on 4000 and maybe even 5000 meter peaks, reaching the altitude of 8188 meters is of a whole other level.

While sea level often means humans have an effective oxygen level of 20.9% in the air, altitudes above 8000 meters only have an oxygen level of a mere 7.5%, which is only one third of what we are used to. It is a fact that humans can’t survive on this altitude for a longer period of time, why is the reason it is referred to as the Death Zone.

What are the dangers of climbing Cho Oyu?

Cho Oyu

A Cho Oyu climb offers no really technical sections and the objective dangers are close to non-existent. Yet, this climb has claimed the life of so many people. One of the main reasons is altitude sickness. This can only be prevented by decent acclimatization and even then, it can still occur.

Altitude sickness is a common reason of fatalities in the sport of mountaineering and is caused by a lack of oxygen. Both high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) can prove to be fatal when no measures are taken. It is often hard to diagnose altitude sickness, why is the reason that it often leads to these serious and deadly syndroms. The first symptoms of altitude sickness are similar to a hangover. Headache, nausea and vomiting are the primary ones. However dehydration also comes with headache and is for this reason another diagnose that could be made.

Cho Oyu death rate

Despite the fact that Cho Oyu is regarded as the easiest mountain above 8000 meters, it has claimed the lives of 200 mountaineers since its first ascent in 1954. It has a death ratio of 1,46 which isn’t that high compared to the Annapurna the deadliest mountain with a ratio of 37,91. Still, in actual numbers Cho Oyu has a high death toll.

How to get to Cho Oyu?

Likewise the most famous mountains in the world you will find Cho Oyo on the Everest Massif at the China-Nepal border. Although it’s deeply in the Himalayas, you can easily reach the Base Camp by jeep from the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla or Kathmandu. The drive usually takes about two days to drive, however most organizations tend to stop on the way for acclimatization as you are going from 800 meters to 5150 in one go. Nyalam is the only major city where climbers spend time acclimatizing. Along the way, you will be treated with excellend views of the upper sections of Everest and Cho Oyu. Once at base camp, mountaineers start a easy two day hike to advanced base camp where expedition spend the majority of the time.

What is the best time for climbing Cho Oyu?

As with most Himalayan expeditions, spring is the high season for mountaineering as the days get warmer and there is less chance of snow. Most expeditions start in March and reach their climax around beginning of May.

The Fall season also is an option for expedition but less chosen, since it is the opposite of spring season with colder days and increasingly unstable weather. This has the disadvantage that the weather window could be very short or lacking towards the end of the expedition. In reality, Fall season is often used by guides since they are working on other mountains like Everest during Spring.

Most used routes to the top of Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu is one of a few eight-thousanders, which offers two main routes to the very top.
The first route runs along the Western side, while the second one starts from the Tibetan Village of Tingri. You must have heard about the village as the starting point of the Everest climbing as well as the other Himalayan giants.

The easiest and the most popular route to the top is through the Nangpa La Pass (5716 meters) from Nepal to Tibet.

Nowadays there are a lot of tours are available for those who want to step on the top of Everest Massif. Sherpa service is available if you don’t want to carry the heavy bag. Don’t overestimate your stamina – this climb requires lots of your energy!

The North West Ridge & The South East Ridge

  1. The North West Ridge

It is the most common route to the summit of Cho Oyu and is also known as the Tichy route.  It requires little or no technical skills making it quite popular.

From Kathmadu, you cross the Tibetan Plateau all the way to Chinese Base Camp.  It will take a roughly 3 days to Tingri from Kathmadu. There will be a few acclimatization stops in Nylam and Zhangmu.

Once you get to the Base Camp which is about 5,000m, you will proceed to Middle Camp at 5,300m and finally get to Advanced Base Camp which is 5,700m. It will take you a minimum of 10days to get to this point from Kathmadu.

From Advanced Base Camp, trek to Camp 1 which is at 6,400m and is located at the base of the North West ridge. This trail is dotted with a glacier, some snow and loose scree. You will therefore need trekking poles and good ankle support shoes for balance.

Proceeding onwards on this ridge will open onto the North West face and later onto Camp 2 which lies at 7,000m on a huge and flat plateau.  The route between Camp1 and Camp two has many unskilled mountaineers and has many fixed ropes. You will climb another headwall that is above Camp 2 to Camp 3 at 7,450m. From Camp 2 to the summit it will take about 7-10 hours.

To get to the summit, trek through a mixture of snow and small rocks onto a wide summit plateau. Pass the long traverse onto a little bump that is considered the actual summit. Incredible views of Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, the entire Khumbu valley and Cho Oyu itself await you on the true summit.

The Himalayas from above
  • The South East Ridge

This route is not popular and is mostly recommended for experienced Alpine climbers. The south west face is accessed from the Tibetan side.

Pavle Kojzek, an alpinist from Slovenia is now famous for using this route on a solo expedition from the Advanced Base Camp via the Gyabrag Lho Glacier in a single push to the summit. He did this in a record fourteen and half hours. The route follows the Polish Ridge and at 7,200m you will find a crux that he bypassed on his right to get to the summit.

Itinerary of a Cho Oyu expedition

A Cho Oyu expedition starts in Kathmandu, Nepal where the last logistics are done such as securing Tibetan visas. From Kathmandu, mountaineers fly to Lhasa and travel further by jeep towards basecamp (5400 meters). This drive takes about two days since most of the climbing organizations visit several Tibetan towns and monasteries along route, while acclimatizing.

When Base Camp is reached, they start a 3 to 4 day easy trek to Advanced Base Camp, which is the place where most mountaineers spend their time after having done acclimatizing treks. At this point, the expedition is 2 to 3 weeks on its way.

The next few weeks is filled with acclimatization hikes, setting up camp I and camp II. After about a month, mountaineers move to Camp III, where they rest before placing a summit attempt.

The cost of a Cho Oyu expedition

The cost of a Cho Oyu expedition varies widely depending on what you want. Commercial expedition with reputable guides often charge 30.000 dollars or more. They often ask for a climbing resume as well to check your experience. Ideally they like to see climbs on mountains like Denali or Aconcagua.

Still, it is possible for everyone to get a spot in a commercial expedition without too many questions asked. However, this never is a very good idea. The cost of the expedition includes all logistics such as transfers, permits, food, gear, bottled oxygen, sherpa services and guides.

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Cho Oyu on a budget

However, if you have the time, skills and money, you can try to set up your own expedition and arrange your logistics. Cho Oyu is a serious high-altitude climb so think twice before deciding to skip on guiding costs. If you doubt whether you have the experience of going without guide, opt for a local guide instead, which often costs less than the Western companies.

Another option is to contract local agencies for yaks and porters. Usually,there are lots of mountaineers on Cho Oyu so you would never be truly alone, but bear in mind that in harsh weather or in a medical emergency, you will be on your own.

Getting all the logistics done yourself is a time-consuming endeavor. Basically everything needs to be arranged: permits, travel, hotels, food, gear, routes, communications, emergency contentions, etc. Make the right decision taking your experience level into account. Saving a few thousand dollars is not worth your life.

The expeditions organized by SummitClimb are recommended for mountaineers on a budget. They offer the option of Full Service (15,000 dollar) or Basic (11,000 dollar). This latter one includes transport, permits, taks and medical serviced, but excludes tents, gear, meals, toilets and showers.

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Cho Oyu

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Cho Oyu 28.097300, 86.658500

Kilimanjaro – The Ultimate Guide

kilimanjaro

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Kilimanjaro

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Kilimanjaro -3.065653, 37.352013


The Ultimate Guide to
 Kilimanjaro Climbing Mount

At 5895m high, Mount Kilimanjaro exudes intimidating presence as the highest mountain in Africa. Hence, its unbeatable name-the Roof of Africa. As if that wasn’t enough, it is also known to be the tallest free-standing mountain in the world!

It majestically seats by itself in the beautiful plains of East Africa, specifically in the Kilimanjaro region in North-Eastern Tanzania.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano and has three volcanic cones that were formed eons ago after subsequent volcanic eruptions. Kibo is the highest cone and it houses the famous Uhuru peak. Mawenzi and Shira, the other two cones, are now eroded and extinct.

Mt Kilimanjaro Volcanic Peak
Mt Kilimanjaro Volcanic Peak

Mount Kilimanjaro Climate

Mt. Kilimanjaro’s height influences the climate around it. Due to its isolated positioning, it experiences upslope winds during the day and downslope winds during the night. The southern side normally has a stronger current than the northern one.

It has two rainy seasons which fall between March and May and the other in November. The southern slopes receive more rainfall than the northern ones.

The summit area has an average temperature of approximately −7 °C (19 °F). Daytime experiences high temperatures of −4 °C (25 °F) and nighttime −9 °C (16 °F) which can go as low as  −15 to −27 °C (5 to −17 °F).

 

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

So, you want to summit this phenomenal mountain? Great! The good news is that you do not need to be a mountaineering expert or have technical skills on climbing or hiking. You may need to use your hands once in a while for stability in some areas, which is doable. Though this doesn’t mean it is a licking-of-ice-cream kind of climb. The low temperatures at high elevation and occasional high winds may act against you making the trek difficult and dangerous. This means that acclimatization is essential to reduce the high risk of altitude sickness.

You may also need to put a few things in place before undertaking this venture;

  • Organize your visa if you aren’t a Tanzanian citizen.
  • Get the necessary vaccinations especially Yellow Fever and/or anti-malaria medication.
  • Book your flights. Kilimanjaro Airport is the closest to this mountain, situated between Moshi and Arusha.
  • Get in shape.
  • There are tour operators who offer climbing equipment, so you may choose to buy or rent.
  • You will need proper hiking boots, sunglasses, a hat and well-layered clothing to beat the frost.
  • Access to Mt Kilimanjaro is restricted because it is protected by the Kilimanjaro National Park. So some park fees will definitely apply.

You pay once a Rescue Fee: $20

You pay per day
Your Entry Fee: $70 (listed as “Conservation Fee”)
Guide and Porter Entrance Fees: TZS 3500 (about $1.70 and includes entry and camping/hut fees)

You’ll end up with 3-5 staff per climber, depending on the size of your group.

You pay per night
Hut/Camping Fee: $60/$50

 

Accommodation on the Mountain

You will mostly sleep in tents because most routes are camping routes. The only route with huts is the Marangu route.

There is no running water but the tour guides have porters who will cater to you in terms of food and drinking water.

However, there are hotels near the mountain such as Mt. Kilimanjaro View Lodge, Aishi Machame Hotel, Ameg Lodge Kilimanjaro among others. You could choose to relax in one of these after the trek.

 

Mountain climbing routes

Most of the main routes up the mountain are walking routes. You have quite a number of routes to choose from depending on foot traffic, climate, scenery and difficulty. The official routes are Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe, Northern Circuit and Rongai.

Machame is the most scenic route, albeit steeper. It can be done in a minimum 6 days. It is suitable for the more adventurous personalities.

Marangu is relatively easy with the same ascent and descent routes. It is the only route with huts as accommodation and foot traffic is common. It can be done within 5 days.

Lemosho is a highly recommended route which can take about 6-8 days to complete. It has an incredible view and with low foot traffic.

Sunset at Shira Huts Camp
Sunset at Shira Huts Camp Photo by Stig Nygaard

Shira is a beautiful route to use considering you will cross the Shira Plateau before joining the Machame route. It is similar to Lemosho because of its high starting point and also important for climbers to acclimatize. It takes roughly 7 days to complete.

Umbwe is the shortest route but very steep. It takes 5 days to complete. However, the success rate is quite low with this route so it is not popular.

The Northern Circuit is the longest and newest route. It is considered to be one of the best because of the scenic views and provision for enough time for acclimatization. It can be done in seven or more days.

The Rongai is a slightly difficult climb because it is moderately steep. It is recommended for those people who want minimal human contact.

To get to the base of the Kibo cone, you can use any of these 6 routes;

To get to the summit, the Barafu route, Kibo Huts route, and the Western Breach are used depending on which of the six routes you choose.

However, the Western Breach was closed due to being prone to rock slides and rock falls which claimed the lives of some climbers in 2006.

Upon descent, two trails lead down the mountain. You will descend via the Mweka route if you used the Umbwe, Machame, Lemosho and Shira routes to go up.

You will descend via the Marangu route if you used the Rongai and Marangu routes to ascend.

 

Best time to climb

Any time of the year can be ideal to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. However, it is best to climb during the driest months of the year, September/October and July/August. January and February are also appropriate months because the weather conditions are most favorable.

You may experience occasional rainfalls in March with the rainy season being in April and May.

 

Flora on Mount Kilimanjaro

Mt Kilimanjaro has five ecological zones. At 800m to 1800m there is the Bushland vegetation with farms and villages.

Next to it is the dense Rainforest at 1800m – 2800m. This beautiful lush green zone receives a considerable amount of rain yearly. You will get to see huge sycamore trees, junipers, moss, and ferns.

The next zone is the Semi-Alpine Heath and Moorland zone found at 2800m- 4000m. Here exist the strange giant groundsel, Lobelias and the Senecio trees.

Above 4000m you will find the Alpine Desert zone which has extreme weather variations and little rainfall. Minimal variety of plants can be evidenced.

From 5000m you will get to the Frozen Moonscape zone. It only has rock and ice. The nights are extremely cold and no life is found here.

 

Fauna on Mount Kilimanjaro

Silvery cheeked Hornbill
Silvery cheeked Hornbill

In the lower areas like the forest zone, you will find various species of birds ranging from the Hartlaub Turacos, the tropical Boubous, Silvery-cheeked Hornbills and more. The colobus monkeys, elephants, olive baboons, leopards, mongooses can also be found in this zone.

 

Hiking with Kids

Yes! You can go hiking with your kids on Mt. Kilimanjaro as long as they are 10 years and above. How exciting is this! So, if your children are up to the challenge and fun, you can have them join you. It will be a great way to bond as a family.

 

Things to do

Apart from conquering this majestic mountain, there are quite a number of exciting things to do during and after the climb. Some of these include:

 

Wildlife Watching

Mount Kilimanjaro being inside the Kilimanjaro National Park and in the Moorland zone is diverse in game. It’s easy to take hikes on this zone however, you may have to hire a park ranger to reach some areas. You will get to see some, if not all of the “big five” animals. Elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalos graze these lands. You will also encounter baboons and bush pigs.

 

Visiting Chala the Crater Lake

Lake Chala was formed after a volcanic eruption on Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is located on the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This lake covers an area of 1.6 square miles. It’s mostly famed for its color-changing waters that range from emerald green to turquoise blue to midnight blue depending on which time of the year you are visiting. The only available accommodation near the scenic lake is Lake Chala Safari Camp.

Lake Chala,Tanzania
Lake Chala,Tanzania Photo by Joachim Huber

You could go swimming or hiking along the crater walls. You can even spot the endangered Chala tilapia and capture a shot for memory’s sake.

 

Hiking

Hiking normally happens at the lower levels of Mt. Kilimanjaro, especially the area surrounding the Shira Plateau. These hikes take roughly 3 days and you will sleep in the camps. The trails may not be smooth because they are not frequently maintained. But you will still get to experience scenic view and wildlife while putting your fitness level to a test as you climb over steep slopes and rocks.

 

Bathing in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs

After you have conquered the Roof of Africa and realize that you still have some energy and time to spare, you could go sightseeing outside the Kilimanjaro region. You will come across the Kikuletwa Hot Springs that will literally take your breath away. The clear blue waters of this hot spring will draw you in like a magnet. A dip in these springs may be the perfect version of relaxation that you needed. Plus, you will deserve it anyway after the great conquest!

Kikuletwa Hot Springs
Kikuletwa Hot Springs Photo by Mwangi Kirubi

But before you embark on this life-changing feat, here are some handy tips that will increase your chances of success and make the trip more enjoyable. More like greasing your wheels. Here we go!

Clothing:

  • We did mention that Mt. Kilimanjaro has 5 different temperate climates. This means that you will need a set for the cold and hot conditions. But keep in mind to pack lightly.
  • They should be layered. Test that you can comfortably wear them before you leave home.
  • Don’t wear cotton during your climb. At such high altitudes, it doesn’t dry easily. Wear synthetic and breathable fabric. You can wear my Kilimanjaro T-shirt at the campfire or when you go to sleep. I do.
  • Your essentials should be proper hiking boots and socks, hiking pants, enough underwear for the 7-8 day duration.
  • You should be prepared to “recycle” your outfit. Since the air is thin there, you will not sweat as much. But the case might be different if it’s not a rainy season because it will be extremely dusty.
  • In higher altitudes, solar radiation is equally higher because of the low levels of UV Protection. So throw in a pair of sunglasses and a brimmed sun hat to wear during the day.
  • Any other item or equipment you may need you could hire from the service providers.

Climbing:

  • Train physically as much as possible. Prior to the climbing date, I would recommend intense physical training at least 4 days a week, for about 3-4 months.
  • If you have access to hills in your home turf, try making use of them. If not, walk up-hill on a treadmill to improve your muscle strength.
  • As much as physical preparation is emphasized, Mt. Kilimanjaro will equally stretch you psychologically. The Summit day will entail 15 hours of climbing in very cold temperatures. You may have episodes where you will ask yourself existential questions and doubt your sanity, but stay positive.
  • Also be mentally prepared to sleep outdoors for a continuous 6-8 days.
  • Choose the right trekking route. For your trip to be a success and safe, the best advice I will give you is to choose a route that will enable you to spend a minimum of 8 days on the mountain for acclimatization. The best is the Lemosho Route.
  • Since the climb is not a competition, pace yourself. Go slowly (Pole Pole-The Swahili word for “slowly “mostly used by the locals). You will thank me for this tip later!
  • Hydrate and hydrate! You’re likely to be more dehydrated on high altitudes, so take lots of water. At least 3-4 liters a day.
  • Buy or hire a ski-pole. Ski poles reduce external and internal pressure on knee joints by almost 20%.
  • Acute Mountain Sickness attacks indiscriminately, whether you’re an expert mountaineer or not. So to acclimatize, find a guide who follows the “climb high-sleep low” rule. This simply means that you will climb to a higher altitude in the evenings and then descend to a lower altitude for sleeping.
  • On the second or third day of your ascent, take Diamox tablets, even if you will not be experiencing any symptoms of altitude sickness. The downside, however, is that you will have to pee almost every 10 minutes because it is diuretic.
  • Sunscreen is also quite essential.

Camping:

  • Pay for a package that offers hot meals than packed lunch boxes. It might cost you a few more dollars but it will well be worth it.
  • Earplugs will come in handy at night because the porters may be loud and some campers snore loudly.

Hygiene:

  • Please rent a toilet. Especially if you’re a lady. Privacy and convenience is quite rare on that side of the mountain, considering during daytime you will be using the open spaces. Yes, you heard me right, so the sooner you accept this fact, the better. There are some outhouses, though they aren’t well maintained.
  • Carry toilet paper, it will be equal to gold!
  • Bathing water is not available, just a bowl of warm water. So have some wet wipes with you.

Additional Miscellaneous Tips:

  • Bring along some snack treats like cereal energy bars, candy or chewing gum. A little sugar rush won’t hurt.
  • Prepare for the descent. Walking down a mountain is never easy on your knees. I would suggest some anti-inflammatory medication to ease this tension.
  • Be friendly to the porters, chefs, guides and fellow climbers. You will need each other literally! After all, making friends will be inevitable.
  • Carry an extra pair of batteries for your camera. You don’t want to miss out on capturing a once-in-a-lifetime moment, do you?
  • Also, make sure the camera fits in the hip pockets of your backpack for easy access.
  • Carry a pen and a journal to document the journey. Those days literally vanish.
  • On summit night, don’t carry your drinking water on the outside of the backpack, it will freeze. Insulate it or protect it with under clothing.
  • Sing, laugh and dance to release endorphins! They are scientifically proven methods actually. You will definitely sing the famous “Hakuna Matata” from the movie Lion King in its various crescendos and diminuendos.
  • And most importantly…wait for it…enjoy yourself! Remember you’re on vacation and the goal is to relax. Take some time off, away from the camp to walk as you reflect on your life. Practice solitude and meditation during your free time. And don’t forget to watch out for the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises!

Wildstrubel

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Wildstrubel

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Wildstrubel 46.400300, 7.528600

The Wildstrubel 3,244 meters (10,643 ft.) is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the border between the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais. It forms a sizeable glaciated massif, about 15 km wide, extending between the Gemmipass in the east and Rawilpass in the west, which connect the cantons Bern and Wallis of Switzerland.

The Wildstrubel has a unique location providing magnificent views of the most famous mountains in the Swiss Alps, the appearance of Wildstrubel is less rugged and steep. So Wildstrubel is a mountain that is suitable for incipient alpinists to make the first experience with ice and snow of glaciers.

 

About Wildstrubel

The Wildstrubel is one of Switzerland’s highest peaks rising to over 3,250m and circumnavigating this magnificent mountain is an ancient trail which has now become the renowned Wildstrubel Trek. The scenery, landscapes, and culture also contrast with the Bernese Oberland – very much‚ High Mountain with alpine characteristics while the Valais is more gentle and warm with vineyards adorning the steep slopes as they fall away from the high peaks above.

The mountain has three summits, these three summits are connected by a curved ridge of length about 3.5 km, which makes a convenient traverse. Usually, the summit region is reached across one of the numerous glaciers surrounding the mountain.

  • The western summit (the Lenkerstrubel, named Wildstrubel on Swiss maps) (3,244 or 3,243.5 m).
  • The central summit (named Mittelgipfel on Swiss maps) (3,243.5 m).
  • The eastern summit (the Adelbodnerstrubel or Grossstrubel) (3,242.6 m).

Still, ascending these glaciers on usual routes is relatively easy. The terrain is glaciated, making basic alpine knowledge necessary.

However, it is not only the facility of climbing this mountain that attracts so many climbers. The Wildstrubel is located between Gemmipass in the east and Rawilpass in the west, giving it an idyllic location with great views of two impressive mountain ranges.

 

Accommodations near Wildstrubel


Wildstrubel lies about halfway between Lank BE; 9 km, Sierre and Adelboden BE; 10 km, its summit being in the district of Lenk and Leukerbad.

Lank is the base for those who wish to see or climb the Wildstrubel. This mountain offers fantastic view stretching into the distance with the beautiful glacial scenery. The nearest settlement is the Oberried section of Lenk, at the head of the Simmental.

 

Hotels/ Campsites in Wildstrubel

Campingplatz Hasenweide Camping Hasenweide is located at the end of the valley, in the middle of nature. I stayed there myself a few times and the campsite is particularly suitable as a starting point for hikes. There is good public transport in the valley.

Lenk is flocked with day tourists; the location is fantastic with a view around the mountains from every angle. You can spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village.

However, there are several lodgings around with fantastic views of the Alps, delicious Valais specialties and no end of relaxation. So camping is not necessary for ascending Wildstrubel. But camping is possible in several camping sites in all the villages around.

If you are looking for a hotel, these are worth considering:

Hotel Oester-Mueller is located in Engstligenalp, 1954m in the north of Wildstrubel Center of winter-sports. In winter only to be reached by mountain railway from Station. Great location! At the station, you find the beginning of the footpath to Engstligenalp that can be used during summer-season, too. It is ideal for active snow sports enthusiasts. Beautiful location, rooms with breathtaking views, you feel comfortable in the cozy rooms, and you feel at home.

 

Hotel Berghotel Wildstrubel enjoys a unique location at the Gemmi Pass, 1.2 miles from Leukerbad and right next to the Gemmi Pass Cable Car Station. It offers a spacious sun terrace; no wonder sun-seekers feel entirely at home here. And sports enthusiasts discover an ideal base to set-off from at this mountain hotel too. And offers a magnificent view onto the Valaisian and the Bernese Alps from every room. A bus station is 0.6 miles away.

During their stay, guests can enjoy climbing at Daubenhorn Kletterstaig or Gemmiwand.

 

Hotel Schwarenbach 2060m, lying at the ancient footpath from Kandersteg to Gemmipass above Leukerbad (“Gemmiweg”). From this gloriously located hotel, Schwarenbach welcomes you to a refined yet familiar atmosphere and in rich of tradition, expressing a touch of Art-Deco, invite you to enjoy tranquility and relaxation.

Opened spring and summer. Enjoy comfort with excellent beds and mattresses.

 

Hotel Wildstrubel 2314m nearby upper station of mountain railway from Leukerbad to Gemmipass. Feel comfortable in the amazing rooms that make you feel at home, rewarding with a superb view of two glaciers.

 

Mountain Huts near Wildstrubel

The way into the Wildstrubel offers a breathtaking first view of the three peaks of the Wildstrubel, for those who wish to have a bit of a mountaineering feel, there are several points of supports around the massif.

The Lämmerenhütte hut in the east of Wildstrubel, 2507m is an excellently managed hut of SAC-section Angenstein accommodating climbers and hikers. The starting point for Lenker Strubel and Wildstrubel-traverse to Engstligenalp. Opened during the ski-touring season in spring and summer.

Not only is it an excellent base for climbing Wildstrubel, but it provides a comfortable night of sleep for those who wish to hike. From the hut, you get splendid views of Wildstrubel.

The Wildstrubel mountain hut is 2793 meters above sea level, though it bears the call of the mountain range, it isn’t truly at the Wildstrubel, but between the Weisshorn and a mountain called the Rohrbachstein. Many hikers carry on for the next day, together with the Plaine Morte Glacier on their walk to the 3 peaks of the Wildstrubel.

The terrace of the Wildstrubel hut is the precise putting to calm down with a coffee and feel the colorful night spectacle – the sunset. It looks like someone emptied pots of paint all around the sky. Intense reds and yellows shimmering over the sea. The night time sky is sprinkled with stars, a sight so beautiful which you almost so amazing.

 

Climbing the Wildstrubel

In the west of the Bernese Oberland, the Wildstrubel massif offers lovely panoramas culminating at more than 3000m. Your itinerary will be a grand traverse from the west to the east, during which you can climb many summits accessible on skis. If you no mountaineering experience, you will need a guide from Lenk.

 

 

Best Time to Climb

Best time for ascending Wildstrubel is summer from June to August. Besides Wildstrubel is a worth-while object for ski-touring.

 

The Normal Route

Wildstrubel is an excellent ski mountain with many different ascents and descents. Many variations are possible.

The Ski Route East on Bern / Wallis (Valais) is one of the most accessible routes in the Alps. It can be reached from the south Valais using a cable car or from Leukerbad or Kandersteg – Schwarenbach. From Schwarenbach climb to the Daubensee, a mile long lake, full of ski tracks for cross-country skiers. From there a lift leads to the hotel.

The usual route may be easy, but the views from the summit are very rewarding. If you arrive on Gemmipass, climb the nearby Daubenhorn 2942 m. Gemmi pass offers a beautiful view of the Alps of Valais.

 

Route Description

Wildstrubel area can be reached from Bern, the capital of Switzerland in the north, by motorway to Spiez and following the highway to Frutigen. From Frutigen either to Adelboden or Kandersteg. Lenk on the north side of the mountains can be reached from Spiez, too. In the south Leukerbad or Crans Montana are starting points in the Wallis, both reached from the bottom of Rhone valley.

From Gemmi pass glide smoothly and fast to the east slope of the Wildstrubel. Now positioned the furs on your skis and climb up the couloir without delay leading straight to the Wildstrubel. Take the tracks from that hut which follows the left north side of the Wildstrubel glacier. At ca. 3000 m you can pick which of the 3 peaks you need to climb.

Descent the identical way, but at 2500 m preserve left to the Laemmern hut. Enter the Laemmerental that leads as much as a saddle at 2900 m. This route is renowned under the name of Roter Totz. The descent follows the Ueschinen valley and ends near Kandersteg at 1200 m.

 

Hiking Routes near Wildstrubel

Wildstrubel is undoubtedly one of the best regions to go walking in Europe It offers many beautiful places to base yourself for a trekking holiday in Bernese Oberland, along with the pretty villages of Kandersteg, Adelboden, and Lenk.

The scenery is not just out of this world, however it additionally offers access of entry to an extensive network of trails, both calm valley walks, and cable vehicle-accessed great routes. Exploring the mountain provides a host of glacial features which characterize this region, genuinely are a hiker’s dream.

 

Kandersteg & Kandertal Valley

A famous hiking paradise with an outstanding network of trails from high alpine to family-friendly and excellent transport links with a wide variety of accommodation options. It offers easy access to idyllic Lake Öschinen and the beautiful deep blue Lake.

Gstaad-Saanenland

Gstaad, at an altitude of 1,050m (3,445ft), is surrounded by beautiful scenery, high society and shopping in Gstaad, but also idyllic villages and 300km (186mi) of hiking trails in Saanenland. Discover the picture-perfect Lake Lauensee and the fairytale mountain village of Abländschen and even Whitewater rafting on the River Saane!

Interlaken

Bustling Interlaken is located between Lakes Thun and Brienz, the snow-capped peaks of the mighty Eiger, Mönch, and Interlaken offers access to a vast variety of hiking trails (500km / 311mi). Take advantage of the extensive rail, bus, boat, and cable-car network. The starting point of the world-famous Jungfrau Railway.

Lenk-Simmental

Some of the very excellent of Swiss alpine wonderland, the Simmen Valley offers an remarkable 600km of hiking trails, which are no doubt the key point of this location. Lenk at 1,068m / 3,504ft, has been awarded the ‘Swiss Families Welcome’ quality mark. The Wildstrubel chain (Mt. Wildstrubel 3,243m / 10,640ft) divides the Valais (Wallis) and the Bernese Oberland.

Things to Do In the Wildstrubel Region

With its numerous mountain transport facilities, growing number of wellness havens and family-friendly attitude, the idyllic chalet village at the foot of the Wildstrubel in summer and winter is among the most versatile holiday destinations in the Bernese Oberland.

In addition to hiking, the Wildstrubel is the ideal place to enjoy other outdoor activities, including swimming, mountain biking, and cycling.

Hike the icy natural landscape of Wildstrubel, while Leukerbad also has excellent tails during the spring and autumn seasons, hiking it during the winter months is also quite an experience. At this time, you will get to experience the snowy fairytale landscape of Switzerland. Mountain guides are available all throughout Leukerbad to guide you through the icy terrain.

Also, you can take a thermal bath in the largest thermal spa resort in the Alps. Leukerbad as a whole is considered the largest thermal spa resort in the Alps, whether you’re coming here for therapeutic purposes or relaxing.

You should, by all means, try the cable car or adventure sports at Torrent. Take the cable car which goes up to 2,313 meters (7,589 feet) above sea level. From there, you can catch a beautiful view. It’s also excellent for trekkers, skiers, and mountain bikers who want a little bit of a lift going up before they take the slide down.

 

Hiking with Kids near Wildstrubel

If you searching for a calm experience for hiking with children, then the southern and western region of the Bernese Oberland offer magnificent trekking experience. Spending your holiday in Wildstrubel with small children? There are some excellent round-trip hike suitable for those who wish to get some superb scenery. Bernese Oberland makes it ideal for families with children to enjoy the magnificent and breathtaking views on Wildstrubel.

 

Wildstrubel is undoubtedly one of the best regions to go walking in Europe with the most incredible panoramic views and gorgeous mountain surrounded by impressive rock walls. Not only is the scenery out of this glob, however there are many trails to pick. A strolling holiday within the Bernese Oberland gives something fantastic and exciting to discover at each flip. The region is dominated with the aid of the astounding Jungfrau Mountains and the glowing lakes of Thun and Brienz.

A captivating geological vicinity with amazing vegetation and fauna. The spring brings swathes of colour in alpine vegetation and butterflies; autumn is not any less colourful as the foliage changes, however in winter the landscape is beautifully carpeted in glistening snow.

 

Dufourspitze 4634m

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Dufourspitze

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Dufourspitze 45.937000, 7.867600

Dufourspitze is the highest mountain peak (4634m) in the Pennine Alps of Switzerland. The summit of this mountain lies in the massif of Monte Rosa which has about ten summits that are over 4,000 meters. However, there is some discussion about that, depending how you count them. Of them all, Dufourspitze is the highest peak.

Where

The summit peaks stretch to form a giant arc that proceeds from the southern region of France while passing through Switzerland and then proceeding to Austria. Here the peaks pass through the Dolomites in the northeastern region of Italy as well as the Julian Alps of Slovenia.

The highest summit of all the 76 is of course the Mont Blanc lying between the French and Italian border with a height of 4807M. On the Monte Rosa, the Dufourspitze is the highest summit with an altitude of 4634M although in the Alps generally, it is ranked as the second highest.

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Places to stay

The Dufourspitze is located near the village of Zermatt in Switzerland. Zermatt has a wide variety of places that you can stay during your tour. This ranges from hotel suits, campsites, mountain huts, chalets, youth hostels as well as the bed and breakfast hotels. All these places offer the best accommodation services to suit your budget plans.

  1. Hotels in Zermatt

Zermatt offers some of the best awe-inspiring sceneries. For that reason, a one day trip is never enough to the Zermatt. Some of the best hotels where you can unpack your bags include;

  1. Hotel Bellerive

This is a chic as well as a very charming hotel located in the central region of Zermatt. It is right next to the cable cars and its offers exemplary décor, opulent furnishings as well as modern furnished and accessorised rooms.

The room brings in that feeling of a luxury considering that they offer a private bathtub and the Mountain View. This is just the place to be if you also love the Bar lounges that come with complementary fire sitting places. The hotel also offers the spa and sauna baths after your long hiking days.

  1. Hotel Firefly

This Firefly hotel is located at the foot of Matterhorn. It has 15 suites which are all themed out by diverse elements. It features the modern alpine feel, heavy on leather décor as well as open fires. All the suites in this hotel have amazing views and complementary kitchens.

  1. Hotel Welschen

This is a charming hotel that comes with that rustic and chalet style. From this hotel, you have easy and fast access to the centre of the town within a short period. More to that, you can also access the Sunnegga lift. Here 16 rooms available go for up to $120 per night. This guarantees you a good stay during your trip to the Dufourspitze Mountain Peak.

Mountain Huts

The huts are a favourite among most of the tourists who come to this region. There are a few huts that you may consider for a better touring experience

 

Monte Rosa Hut

This hut is a modern looking one, and it is one of the most famous accommodations as mountain cabin go in the region. Most of the mountaineers who set out on hikes to the Dufourspitze using the normal route prefer to unpack here. The cabin comes in an innovative style that integrates thermal solar collectors and solar panels to accumulate enough energy.

This makes the hut sustainable, hence its popularity among most of the hikers. With the glaciated terrain in this region, you may need a guide advisory to reach the cabin safely.

Margherita Hut

This is the highest mountain hut in the Alps region. To get to this hut, you must have exclusive mountaineering skills. This Margherita hut is located at an altitude of 4554 meters. It stands entirely on Italian ground. The only access is always on foot with a two-day straight climbing. 

Gnifetti Hut

The hut is found on the Italian region of Monte Rosa. It sits at an altitude of 3647 meters. The hut is an excellent choice for those climbers who are looking forward to exploring a number of peaks at Monte Rosa mastiff. Inclusive is the Dufourspitze Mountain Peak through the Italian route. As long as the hikers have steady feet, the can manage the Rifugio since there are no glaciers on the way.

Chalets

When picking out the location to unpack your bags, it needs some hard thinking. The town is very spread out, and there is a whole lot of options that you could consider. Some lovely chalets can be suitable for you too in this location. Some of the best in the region include;

 

Cervo

This Chalet comes in a modern Swiss style which is themed out in deer designs. From the hotel, you can access the Sunnega tunnel elevators easily. The rooms here are spacious and offer at least 5 to 6 chalets which are complemented with sauna baths, steam rooms as well as outdoor hot bathtubs.

Youth hotel

During such vacations, you may be accompanied by your better half. With such a person as part of your trip, you may need a place that offers ultimate privacy and comfort. Below are two places that you would like to consider;

The Unique Hotel Post

This is a high-end hotel that has the sleek modern feeling. The hotel has 29 rooms that are located in the central region of Zermatt. This comfortable and outstanding hotel has open fires, spa as well as luxurious bathrooms.

Hotel Juen

This is an influential family run hotel that has a wide variety of personalities. It has 32 large rooms and suites that have all the romantic details that you would be looking for when out there on your vacation. The interior décor features plenty of wood, antlers and sheepskins. The restaurant and bar, swimming pool and gym is a bonus to you.

Hiking routes with views of the Dufourspitze

3600 Loop Gornergrat

The Gornergrat is among the top excursions in Switzerland with some good reasons. The course is circular. The sight of this hiking routes lets you feel the magic of Gornegrat. Not to mention the breath-taking scenery that will warm your heart out. The Loop Gornergrat is indeed a memorable place.

Before you enter the Monte Rosa, the glacier which happens to be the second highest in the Alps, Dufourspitze and another panorama with over 20 mountains are quite close to each other. Their closeness will allow you to have one of the best hiking views of all time. With a bit of luck, you may get the chance to see some of the wild ibex found in the area.

5-Seenweg

If you are in search of some swimming activities, this might be the best route for you. The 5-Seenweg (Five Lakes Walk) is one of the best views in the Zermatt region. It has a fantastic panorama of the lakes which I must admit are superb and has a variety in its trail.

When you are planning one of those hiking trips with your kids, and they love swimming, this can be the route for you. The Leisee has outstanding calm water that is perfect for swimming, especially for kids.  The Grunsee lake looks more rugged landscape compared to the Leisee.  The shores of the Grindjisee is home to some of the rare flowers. More to that, each of these lakes is home to a beautiful view of the Mountain Peak. You will never lack an experience to remember the mountain peak.

Abenteuerweg

This steep trail will give you an eye-catching view of both sides of the Alpine panorama. If you are in love with mountaineering and trekking, you will feel at home with this route. This route has a steep descent hence you will end up with a challenging climbing experience.

This route offers a thrilling hike experience that will never disappoint. From the top of this route, you will be able to see some of the best views of the dramatic peaks. Take your climbing gear and start booking your way to Abenteuerweg.

Bike-tour

Every tourist will have a different way to enjoy their stay at the Zermatt peaks. Some prefer mountain climbing while others just a simple walk around will do the trick. The cyclers also will never lack an opportunity to experiment their mountain biking skills. That is why this route might serve them right.

The downhill road from the Blauherd station to the Zermatt offers an incredible cycling venue that will surely warm the heart of any bike lover. More to that, the lake view is quite spectacular hence you are sure of a serene feeling while you are enjoying your hobby.

The Sunnega is also another attraction site that will capture your attention.

Activities you can engage in while taking a tour of the Dufourspitze

Well, the region has lots of events so you will never lack something to do. All in all, I will break down a few fun stuff that is a must do if you want to make your stay memorable.

Let’s start with the basics. You’ve naturally fallen in love with mountain peaks, so start with a sightseeing expedition of the mountain peak. You can choose to take a helicopter which needs a bigger budget. However, there are also other options you can choose.

From the above-touring routes, you can pick one and get the right guide to take you through a mountain climbing experience. You can also do rock climbing which requires expertise and at least prior experience in the field.

One of my most preferred activity is merely trekking to some of the best viewpoints, for instance, the 360 degrees loop has a fantastic view of the area. A walk around will always give you a calmer feeling and is quite pocket-friendly.

The activities present in this area do not end there. You can also opt for snowshoeing. You can decide to take your skiing skills for a test run in the forest. The course is rated medium difficulty which will require at least some moves from you. The best part is that, if there is a bit of snow, the forest will give you a fantastic view that you will fall in love with instantly.

If you are lucky enough, you will get the chance to see a deer or squirrel which are some of the wildlife found in this area. You can also go for a bird watching experience through this forest. The forest is covered with a vegetation cover that larch branches at the beginning of winter.

Some tourists prefer snowboarding which will work well with the steep slopes of this mountain. You will have to find something that works best for you.

More to that, bike lovers will always have an opportunity to experiment the toughness of the mountains. Mountain cycling is quite the eye catcher, and most hotels offer rental bikes to their customers.

You can also opt for paragliding if you are into extreme sports. Paragliding kits are offered at a considerable amount by most travel agencies around the areas or different hotels. You will have to book earlier.

The best part is that the mountains offer the perfect setting for family holiday camping experiences. There is more than enough space hence you won’t have to struggle with other tourists to get the right camping spot.

Only pack your gear, and you are good to go. You will, however, need someone to guide you on some of the best places to set up camp and enjoy a beautiful picnic with your family.

Dufourspitze summit offers some of the best spots for bungee jumping and kayaking activities. If you have kids, you can choose to take them to some of the amusement parks, so they get the chance to mingle with the natives.

With all the above tasks for you to consider, I’m sure you will have to stay longer than you imagined. Make a simple list so that you don’t end up forgetting any activity.   There is also a Hospital close by so you won’t have to worry about getting sick.

Wildlife

The area is full of different animals, for instance, the squirrels, deer and wild ibex. You will have to be lucky just to get a glimpse of the wildlife in this area.

Easy 4000m peaks

7 Easy 3000m+ and 4000m+ peaks to Climb

There are many experiences in this in this world, but few can compare to that of reaching the summit of a mountain. The feeling is indescribable, the view is fantastic, and the physical sensations really speak for themselves. The perception that mountaineering (mountain climbing) is a dangerous, difficult endeavor that pushes climbers to the very limits of their physical and mental abilities is not necessarily true. The fact is that, mountains come in different shapes and sizes, with peaks of up to 8,848m above sea level (Everest) and most are climbable depending on your skill level. But beginners may need to set their sights a little closer to earth and the easy 4000m peaks are reachable even for complete beginners.

Read here about 7 easy 4000m peaks in the Alps

You don’t necessarily need to have years of mountain climbing experience to summit some of the world’s highest peaks, you just have to be reasonably fit and able to adapt to the weather and snow conditions. You also need basic mountaineering knowledge in terms of rope work, glacier safety, using the ice axe, and crampons. Beginners can begin scaling easy 4000m peaks after just a few weeks or even days of training and acclimatization. The following seven easy 4000m peaks are by no means a walk in the park but they can be achieved with the help of a guide.

1. Mount Kilimanjaro — Tanzania, Africa

Elevation: 5,895m (19,341ft)

Mount Kilimanjaro is undoubtedly the highest peak in Africa and the one of the easiest to climb. It also has one of the most accessible moderate-altitude treks in the world with several easy-to-moderate routes up the summit. The mountain is a freestanding peak not attached to any mountain range as it was once a volcano, this makes adjusting to the thin air at altitude the biggest challenge in climbing it. Taking longer routes up the mountain guarantees a much higher rate of success since altitude is the biggest obstacle. Climbing the Kilimanjaro can take between five and nine days to complete depending on the route taken and speed of acclimatization. It is also the perfect place for aspiring mountaineers to see how their bodies react at high altitude without the technical risks of other higher mountains.

Paths up the mountain pass through five famously unique climate zones each different from the last. Climbers going up the mountain will first pass through cultivated lands at its base followed by rainforests, moorlands, alpine desert and, finally, arctic conditions near the summit. The mountain is accessible during most months of the year since it sits just off the equator and more than 37,000 people attempt climbing up Kilimanjaro each year. However, the raining season runs from March through May and this may make the trek a little uncomfortable during that time. There are several guide services take climbers from the start of the climb to the 5,895m summit over the course of five or six days, allowing climbers to acclimatize to the increasingly thin air.       READ MORE ABOUT KILIMANJARO…

2. Mount Fuji — Honshu Island, Japan

Elevation: 3,776m (12,388ft)

mount fuji

Japan’s Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the most climbed mountain peaks in the entire world. It is one of the country’s three sacred peaks as it towers over the surrounding landscape making it a beautiful sight from above or below. Hiking up the mountain side doesn’t resent much technical difficulties making it a great introduction to the stamina needed for climbing even higher mountains. There are several well well-established trail that climbers can make use of, they generally start at about 2,000m and ends at the summit at 3,776m. This journey takes about eight hours round-trip for fit individuals if they set out early enough and more than 300,000 people trek to the summit each year.

If you want to experience one of the most beautiful sunrises possible, you can make the ascent at night so that you can reach the top in time before dawn. The main trails can get very crowded during the summer months as the official hiking season lasts for only two months from July 1 to August 31. Winter climbs are not advised for beginners as the weather can prove dangerous at times making the climb 4 to 5 times harder to accomplish. However, for the most part, this is an easy hike that only requires strong legs, stamina and bit of determination to complete.    READ MORE ABOUT MOUNT FUJI…

3. Mont Blanc — Europe

Elevation: 4,808.7m (15,777ft)

You can wet your mountaineering appetite with this easy 4000m peak that is also the highest in Western Europe. Mont Blanc which translates to White Mountain is one of Europe’s most iconic climbing peaks and it straddles the French/Italian border. More than 30,000 people attempting climbing to the summit of Mont Blanc annually (as many as 200 people on a busy day) and reaching the summit is considered a rite of passage for most European climbers. The main problem for beginners will be getting used to the altitude as there are numerous routes to the summit from both the French and Italian sides, the level of challenge can vary greatly.

Typical it takes about two days to complete the climb to the summit, with several comfortable mountain huts located at notable points along the trail to the summit that climbers can stay in. Ascending the Mont Blanc may not be all that technically challenging, but it still requires a high level of physical fitness and experience using crampons and an ice axe. Climbers can choose one of the two most common routes to climb the Mont Blanc from Chamonix. The first route that starts from the Aiguille du Midi plains, over Mont Blanc du Tacul is easier and more popular while the Mont Maudit route is generally quieter but slightly more technical depending on the conditions. READ MORE ABOUT THE MOUNT BLANC…

4. Mount Elbrus — Russia, Europe

Elevation: 5,642m (18,510ft)

Mount Elbrus is the tallest mountain in all of Europe and its height makes for a most imposing sight. The summit is usually covered in snow all year long but accessible via a chairlift that takes most climbers up to the traditional starting point located at 12,500 feet. This greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to reach the top so that climbers can reach the mountain summit in one or two days. Most routes up the mountain are fortified with a string of huts, making it easy to plan for accommodation and acclimatization. Potential climbers may require several permits before they can attempt the Elbrus, so be sure to plan well in advance.

Climbing up Mount Elbrus is completely nontechnical if you are using the normal route, the only concerns you need to be worried about along the way are the weather and altitude. If you like to hike up the summit with a party then July and August are the best times for an attempt, as the mountain can be very crowded during those months. However, if you prefer fewer people around when attempting the climb, you can go in the months of June and September. The weather during this time can be more unpredictable, with possible high winds and heavier snow. Over 10,000 people attempt the mountain climb each year.   READ MORE ABOUT THE ELBRUS…

5. Mount Temple — Canada, North America

Elevation: ‎3,544m (11,627ft)

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Mount Temple is one of the easiest 4000m peaks in the Canadian Rockies and also one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the area. The summit is an impressive one dominating the landscape around Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada. However, thanks to its relatively low elevation gain, climbers can reach the summit in a day with an early start. The climb does not require much technical knowledge as the summit is accessible by most fit hikers willing to work their way up the trail, which can be a bit of a scramble at times.

Although Mount Temple is relatively accessible, it should be noted that it is a giant and finding easy routes can be a particular challenge. However, this can easily be overcome with the use of an experienced mountain guide. Climbing Mount Temple provides all of the adventures of climbing a massive mountain, without requiring any advanced technical knowledge. The best part is that the views from the top are unbeatable and the trip is enjoyable throughout (despite the scrambling involved).

6. Mount Rainier — Washington, USA

Elevation: ‎ 4,392m (14,411ft)

Easy 4000m peaks

Mount Rainier offers limitless mountaineering possibilities and is considered to be the most extensively glaciated mountain in the United States. The mountaineering experience is heightened by the combination of high altitude, a variety of routes, and unpredictable Northwest weather. This also makes the mountain a great place for beginner climbers to gain important skills that they wouldn’t get anywhere else. Some basic rope skills are necessary when attempting to climb Mount Rainier’s slopes as the extra layers of ice and snow can make both the climb up and the descent a bit more treacherous.

This is why it is a common location for beginners to gain valuable experience not just with glacier trekking and crevasse avoidance, but also with ropes and scrambling techniques. It is also the perfect setting for beginner/mid-level climbers who are considering moving on to more challenging peaks. It is possible to attempt the mountain all year long, depending on weather conditions. However, the season between May and September is best for inexperienced climbers as the weather is less severe. About 13,000 people make the attempt each year and the climb takes about two to three days to complete. READ MORE ABOUT MOUNT REINIER…

7. Jbel Toubkal — Morocco, Africa

Elevation: ‎ 4.167m (13,671ft)

Standing at 4,167m, Mount Jbel Toubkal is the highest peak in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It offers a non-technical and relatively easy trek to the summit, although poor weather conditions, high winds, and altitude sickness can still be of concern. The climb requires only a reasonable degree of fitness and determination as the mountain is easily reachable from Marrakech. There is also the presence of a network of trekking trails that offer striking high altitude lush valleys, mountain scenery, and relatively untouched Berber communities.

The Jbel Toubkal is accessible all year round, but the best time to take on this peak is between May and September. This is because snow settles above 3000m in winter, from Nov – May, and crampons and ice axes are required. Even with its considerable height, it only takes about two days to complete the hike to the summit and beginners are advised to stick to climbing during the warmer, drier season instead. The summit provides some outstanding views of the surrounding peaks and valleys and it is a perfect setting for those looking to dip their toe in the mountaineering waters for the first time.

These seven easy 4000m peaks are all possible for beginning mountaineers with the help of a guide. It also helps to be fit and to have some basic training regarding your equipment and the terrain you are attempting to climb. Although not every climb is a success, your drive and motivation can make your sojourn up these easy 4000m peaks an exciting experience.

Which Hiking or Mountaineering Travel Insurance Should You Buy for Your Trip?

hiking mountaineering travel insuranceTravel insurance can’t prevent emergencies while in the mountains.  However, it can mitigate the extent of negative consequences.  For this reason, insurance registration should become your top priority before every hiking adventure.  Through buying travel insurance, you invest in your health and safety.

* I do not sell insurances, I sell T-shirts. This article is just to inform you*

Nowadays, with so many insurance options to choose from, many hikers are concerned with how to choose a reliable one that will cover all possible emergencies in the mountains.  Choosing proper insurance is not easy, especially considering the variety of factors at play.  Let this article guide you towards making the right decision!

 

What a Standard Travel Insurance Package Must Cover?

mountain rescue helicopter

Travel insurance is one of the most popular and profitable types of insurance, hence why the niche is so competitive.  Although in many countries it is not compulsory to obtain everyday insurance, hiking routes are still potentially dangerous.  In addition, the cost of medical treatment may be more expensive depending on the country you choose to hike in.

Thus, you can always count on quality travel insurance to relieve you of worries concerning your health.  Let’s discuss standard travel insurance, and point out “must-haves” that you need to include in each insurance package you create:

 

  1. Organization of medical treatment abroad, including: negotiations, transportation, etc.
  2. Fees from medical services a doctor may provide you.
  3. Dental treatment.
  4. Price of medical supplies required for recovery.
  5. Compensation for delayed flights or luggage, as well as assistance in finding lost items.
  6. Organization and all fees for medical evacuation or repatriation of the body.
  7. Compensation for any other unexpected expenses according to your particular insurance program.

 

What to Consider When Choosing Quality Insurance for Hiking?

 

Hiking insurance generally costs more than generic travel insurance, as it includes a higher probability that an emergency may occur.  However, there is no ideal for hiking insurance, as trekking routes are not always similar.  The following is a list of individual cases for you to consider when choosing quality insurance for your particular mountain adventure:

 

●          Sports Insurance for Mountaineers

Generic insurance packages are usually not enough when hiking or approaching mountain peaks.  Mountain climbing is a far more extreme activity compared to package tours and ordinary independent traveling

 

Don’t hesitate to mention that you intend to climb mountains, and require a “sporting” type of insurance.  Yes, its 2 – 3 times more expensive than standard travel insurance, however the cost is worth every cent.  Otherwise, you may be very disappointed to find out that your travel insurance does not cover all your expenses in the event of an emergency in the highlands.

 

●          Accident Insurance

An accident case is an unexpected incident that entails:

  • injury
  • harm to health
  • death
  • or disability occurrence of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd groups within a year as a result of the accident.

 

Having accident insurance is critical in the mountains.  Even though accident insurance comes with most packages by default, ensure that this is the case for yours.  Otherwise, only medical treatment is covered, not accident cases.

The cheapest versions of medical insurance do not cover accident risks, which are highly probable in the mountains.  Do not skimp on your health!

 

 

●          Contacting the Travel Insurance Company

Inform the insurance company of all details related to your hiking route to make sure you are able to contact them quickly while hiking.

In any case that the insurance company is not available 24/7, get the contact information of an assistant company.  If you have a bad feeling about it, muse over your decision to deal with the company in the first place.

 

●          Terms of Insurance

You can get insurance for any period following your insurance policies.  Some hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts consider buying coverage around the world for a whole year; but this is quite costly.

Instead, it is much cheaper to buy coverage for specific periods of your hiking trip and the countries you intend to visit.

 

●          Amount of travel Insurance Coverage

Always check the sum insured, since this amount depends on the insurance company and the type of insurance.

Also, check all cases when you receive the sum insured.  Read the whole insurance contract carefully.

 

●          Country Where You Are Going to Hike

The price of travel insurance depends on your intended mountaineering destination.  If your route belongs to several countries (like Peaks of the Balkans), then your insurance must cover risks in each included country.  Who knows where you might have an emergency!

Keep in mind that travel insurance covering some countries are costlier than others.  The insurance price depends on the given country’s medical care price level, as well as general living conditions.

If you don’t know exactly which countries you are going to hike in, you can always get insurance for the whole year and the entire world.  This option provides extra security, although it is much more expensive than getting insurance separately for cheap countries.

 

●          Altitude Sickness

Consider the highest altitude you are going to reach on your next hiking trip.  Most travel insurances are only applied up to 3000 meters.  This is not cheating policies, but rather a condition you must confirm before paying for your insurance package.

 

Most insurance companies do not want to cover the risk of altitude sickness.  Unfortunately, the risk for altitude sickness is high when 3000+ meters above sea level.  In most cases, qualified assistance requires helicopter transportation and extraordinarily expensive treatments.

 

Although general insurance is entirely suitable for most hiking routes in the Alps, the Dolomites, and other average-height mountains, it is insufficient for the majority of trekking routes in the Himalayas or Pamir.

 

●          Viper Bites

The possibility of meeting a viper along your trail is pretty low, but the risk should not be underestimated.  The probability of encountering a viper only increases if you have an explorer’s spirit, and can’t stand tourist trails.  There are an abundance of vipers and insects lying in wait along remote paths, usually hiding in the terrain.

 

If you plan on taking your route off the beaten path, get-to-know how to deal with viper bites in the region you seek to hike in.  Moreover, ensure that your insurance covers the possibility of an unexpected meeting with a venomous creature of the wild.

 

●          Emergency Transportation

In substance, trekking really isn’t that dangerous.  In fact, it is much safer than rock climbing, scuba diving, paragliding and base jumping, all in which require premium insurance.  However, no one can avoid an emergency situation without doubt.

Even benign health problems such as a pulled muscle or a twisted ankle can quickly become dangerous when climbing mountains.  Most seasoned mountaineers have experienced avalanches, thunderstorms, altitude sickness, and other emergencies in the highlands.  However skilled you may be, the possibility for emergencies outside of your control still remain.

Efforts to trek down on your own after an accident might lead to terrible consequences.  That’s why you should always pay attention to whether or not accident transportation is covered.

Every mountain climber should always be well-prepared for an emergency.  Get to know the whereabouts of the nearest rescue center, and always keep their contact information on hand.  Believe us, it’s not heavy!  Also, figure out whether registration for your hiking route is required.  It is beneficial, as rescuers can track your location in case of an emergency.

 

 

●          Non-Mountain Accidents

Mountains are dangerous by definition, but don’t overestimate the overall risks while traveling to another country.  Be careful wherever you go, as any region may hold dangers in their own right.  No wonder there are many cases of hikers climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or the Himalayas safely, but feeling the need for insurance as they come down.

Hikers from Europe, the US, Canada or Australia are often not used to the spicy food or levels of hygiene they face in Asia or Africa.  Countries like India have cuisine that are much hotter than what Westerners are used to.

 

 

●          Organization Issues

 

1.         Lost or stolen luggage

Some of us are familiar with the feeling of a “pit” in your stomach when you can’t find your luggage upon arrival.  Whether the luggage was lost or stolen, does it really matter?  What matters is that you urgently need to buy new equipment for your designated trekking period.  The situation becomes especially dire if your lost luggage includes some expensive gear – not funny at all.

Most insurance companies cover the risk of baggage loss nowadays.  However, you should still ensure on your own time that this option is checked off, as it usually does not come by default.

 

2. Delay or cancellation of flights

Consider whether or not the insurance you may choose covers delayed or cancelled flights.  If you only have one direct flight, then a several hour delay is probably not going to be much of a problem for your mountain journey in the long run.  But if you are anticipating connecting flights that belong to a different airline, a delay can be quite a nerve-wracking experience.

 

Insurance Policy: What to Remember?

When buying insurance, always double check to make sure your personal data (name, date of birth, passport number, etc.) are written correctly.  Also, be very attentive when checking the dates of hiking and the amount due.  Even a minor typo can cause significant problems in the case of an emergency.

 

While leaving the insurance company, don’t forget to take your insurance policy as well as your payment check, and carry them with you when traveling.  As an extended measure of security, companies make extra copies of the documents and store them in their office.  These documents legally legitimize your agreement with the insurance company.  You may present them in case of an emergency to get your insurance options.

Travel Insurance

Insurance Case: Action Plan

 

Emergencies usually appear suddenly, and leave travelers in shock.  Don’t be panicked if you cannot think clearly.  Try to understand that shock is a natural reaction of your mind in response to accidents that don’t occur every day – luckily for us!

 

No matter what happens, try to pull yourself together and think clearly.  Remember to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.  Here is a precise action plan to ensure you do not forget anything important:

 

  1. Open your insurance policy. The action plan is written down in detail.  Every true adventurer must remember it.
  2. For extra security, save the numbers of your insurance company or an assistance company on your mobile device, as well as other gadgets.
  3. Contact the assistant company first to coordinate your actions.
  4. Save all original documents, checks proving payment, prescriptions, and diagnoses in a sealed case in the event that you ever need to show it to the insurance company.
  5. If hiking with a tour company, don’t hesitate to report the number of your insurance policy to the tour company representatives.

 

Insurance registration must be an essential part of preparing for every hiking adventure.  It’s up to you to choose which company best suites your needs.  But remember, only a quality and well-informed package from a reliable insurance company will give you peace of mind.

 

Get insurance for every hiking adventure, while hoping you will never need it.  Let your beautiful hiking vacation remain a safe travel!

 

P.S. Even though we provide information about insurance companies, that is not our field of expertise.  The article does not aim to promote any travel insurance company, and is based on personal experience and internet research.

 

 

Plan a Trip to Mount Whitney, California

Mountain in Sierra Nevada

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Mount Whitney

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Mount Whitney 36.578500, 118.292300

If you want to witness nature’s brush strokes on Earth’s canvas and explore beauty in raw form, then Mount Whitney is where you should start. The scenic beauty of this wondrous mountain is unmatched and the view from the top is to die for. If you are one of those explorers who also happens to like a challenge, then the world is your oyster and you already know where to start.

As the highest peak of the state and the most hiked mountain in Sierra Nevada, it makes for an incredible story to tell. The height of the mountain is an astonishing 14,505 feet and the view from up there is one where thoughts of the rest of world dissolve into nothing.

The best part about hiking here is that it requires little wilderness survival skills or technical skills to cover the peak. This is another reason why this peak is so appealing and attracts so much tourist attention. Since the place is full of tourist traffic, many businesses related to hospitality have been set up and are throbbing. If you need a place to crash, rest up before carrying on, camp or just grab a bite, you have quite a few amazing options.
Along the ranges on Sierra Nevada, you will find a ton of lodges, cabins, motels, inn and hotels that offer great views to sit by while you sip your favorite morning beverage or even better, breakfast in bed.

Since Mount Whitney is so famous with tourists and hikers, it may not come as a surprise that finding a room can be an issue due to excessive bookings. If you want to beat that, then it is best to make prior arrangements with a motel or inn to avoid any such inconvenience. Some of the best options around the area are The Log House Lodge, Bellevue Guesthouse and Wuksachi Lodge.

mount whitney, Mountain in Sierra Nevada , CarliforniaNature is not the only thing you enjoy on your trip to Mount Whitney. Since it is such a happening spot, it has a nightlife of its own. You can enjoy some good music, a bonfire and some kickback-and-relax dancing while you are there. Before you plan your trip though, it is important to do some homework. To control traffic on the hiking trail, you have to apply for a permit. You can find more information regarding the permit here.

Some climbers and mountaineers who have an eye for spotting and appreciating raw beauty, often tell you that the view of Mount Whitney of Lone Pine and the Mount Whitney range is absolutely gorgeous. Somewhere near the Portal Store the trail can get a bit sandy which may be a little annoying on the way up but it makes the hike down the trail much easier on your knees.

All-in-all it is an amazing place to start your journey to rediscovering the world. The best part is that the pictures from this trip should look great on the mantelpiece.

Rosengarten hiking and via ferrata’s in the Dolomiti

mountain in the dolomiti

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Rosengarten

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Rosengarten 49.063519, 9.731483

Rosengarten And Its Direct Surroundings

Rosengarten holds a special place in the hearts of many people around the globe, not only because of its beauty but also due to the wonderful pink hues that are dancing on the huge rock faces during twilight. Legend has it that King Laurin lived there and grew a huge garden of roses, so there really is something special about this place.

In this article, you will find out more about the summer offers that these mountains have in store for you. You will learn a lot of things such as the food you should order for lunch and the rifugios where you should stop on your hike.

ABOUT

The Rosengarten group is a massif in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, which is surrouned by Tieser Tal, Eggental and Fassa Valley. The highest peak is known as Kesselkogel and is 3002 meters tall. You can access the massiv from many towns. Among the most popular ones are Carezza, Nova Levante, Vigo di Fassa and San Cipriano.

This is a great holiday destination for all four seasons. As for as sports are concerned, skiing, hiking, golfing and other sports are popular among those that choose this area to spend their vacations and have a lot of fun at the same time.

The ski areas and hiking trails are well organized and there are trail markings everywhere so you don’t need to worry about getting lost. You have a couple of high mountain rifugios to choose from to spend a night or have delicious lunch in.

WHAT IS A RIFUGIO?

Rifugio is a type of mountain house/hut/refuges. Rifugios that attract a lot of visitors are more like small hotels and great restaurants with comfortable rooms that you can rent to spend your nights in. Higher up in the more demanding slopes of the Dolomites, the primary purpose of rifugio is to provide shelter for alpinists and mountaineers in case of bad weather. No matter which one you choose to stay in, they all evoke feelings of safety, and nourishment.

WHAT TO DO?

For first time visitors, we suggest that you choose the summer season to enjoy the beautiful sights. If hiking and delicious food are your favorites, summer is the best time of the year.

HIKING

Rosengarten is one of the best hiking destinations for beginners. If you are just starting out, we have a couple of suggestions for you. You can choose any of the suggestions depending on your skill set and fitness level.

ELISABETHAN PROMENADE

Dedicated to Empress Elisabeth, this is a nice destination for hiker where you may want to go if you just want to enjoy your surroundings without spending a good deal of energy. It is a round 8km long trip and will take you about 3 and a half hours to complete. It starts and finishes in Nova Levante and the height that you will reach will be just 430 meters. It might feel a big deal if you are new to this, but I can assure you that it is just enough to make you feel like you’ve made an achievement. However, it won’t make you feel sore the next day. For directions and map, click here.

RODA DI VAÈL HIKE

This beautiful hike takes you to the center of the massif where you can enjoy beautiful views and have wonderful lunch as well.

You will start your day in Carezza, a popular winter ski resort town that turns into hikers’ paradise in summer. You can also visit Carezzalake just outside of the village. its amazing bluish-green color will mesmerize you!

You need to get a pass for Paolina ski lift, so you can start your hike a bit higher up. You can also hike up to the top station of the lift. However, keep in mind that it will take you around 1 or 1.5h to get to the top station. From there, you will follow the path no. 522 that will lead you to North. You will climb Vaiolon pass on the other side of the massif where you can stop at the RifugioRoda di Vaèl and eat your lunch. The whole hike will take you about 4 hours.

This rifugio is a good destination for families with small children. Instead of doing the whole lap, you will turn right at the top station of Paolina lift, walk for about 1h to the rifugio, have lunch, and go back the same way. For exact information about the lap hike, click here.

VIA FERRATA

These high mountain routes are not very well known outside the Alpine region of Europe. Soldiers constructed the first routes during the First World War to cross high mountains as fast as possible. They installed metal ropes that were attached to the rock face for support while climbing up a steep mountain.

Nowadays, these mountains allow you to experience the exhilaration of climbing in addition to help you cover more distance than the traditional rock climbing. Special gear is needed, such as a belt and a special safety rope that tie you to the cable. You may also need a helmet and proper shoes with good sticky sole and ample ankle support.

All via ferratas routes are described on different websites, so you can decide on one based on your knowledge and experience.

VIA FERRATA SANTNER

This is a relatively short hike, only about 4 hours, but can be extended to see more of the Rosengarten group. It requires ferrata gear and a steady footing. Rock climbing experience is required to avoid any problems on the way. You will climb all the way to 2700m to experience the beautiful surroundings.

To learn more about this beautiful experience, click here!

VIA FERRATA MASARÈ

This is another interesting via ferrata route that passes RifugioRoda di Vaèl. You will start at the top station of Paolinalift. You can get the necessary information by clicking here.

Wake up early in the morning so you have all day for hiking. Starting early is a good idea as weather gets worse in the afternoon. The highest peak you will visit is over 2700m tall, so get ready for some serious views!

RIFUGIOS

These wonderful mountain huts are what most hikers look forward to. Some of the huts described below are popular weekend destination. The practice of going on an easy hike and then having lunch is quite common in Trentino and Alto Adige regions of Northern Italy. On these high mountains, you can eat delicious food and enjoy great views all around!

mountain hut
Photo Ansgar Koreng

RIFUGIO RE ALBERTO

Situated at around 2600m, surrounded by majestic Vajolet towers, rifugio Re Alberto is truly a gem of the Rosengarten massif. It was first built in 1929 and is still in great shape. Many people keep coming back to this place for inspiration.

People who are managing this place are known for their hospitality. You can stay in shared rooms and meet other avid hikers, while the owners will serve you with incredible traditional dishes. Order a cheese and meat plate to understand the tradition of this area, and enjoy some traditional desserts. They taste even better at an altitude! If this is where you are going to spend the night, ask for some traditional mountain bitters at the end of the dinner. Besides, if you just need a refreshing drink during a hot day, ask for a radler.

Rosengarten
Photo by Matthias Schmidt

RIFUGIO RODA DI VAÈL

This is my personal favorite. This place gets busy during summer weekends due to easy access so you may want to visit it on a weekday if possible. The staff is always nice and each member of the staff carries a big smile on their face.

And the food… oh the food! Order eggs, potato and speck if you need a serious portion of pick-me-up food. Get yourself some kaiserschmarrn – a traditional alpine dessert, often served with some apple or berry jam. Cheese and meat plates are always a good choice but I like their desserts. Eating desserts is a great way of giving a treat to your sweet tooth. After all, you deserve it at the end of a long hike.

THINGS TO SEE CLOSE BY

The above listed hikes, via ferratas and rifugios are highly recommend as I’ve been there before. There are many other rifugios to visit. And all of them hold the spectacular soul of Rosengarten massif in their hearts.

I highly recommend Carezzalake that I mentioned before. If you prefer rugged mountains that don’t attract a lot of hikers, explore Latemar. You can rent a bike to explore the mountain passes or head to the center of any small village. In a village, you can buy a coffee and dive right into the special culture that is a mixture of Italian, Tirolean and Ladin.

 

Check out the Rotwand, Rosengarten T-shirt

 

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The World’s Most Dangerous Hike, Mount Huashan

The World’s Most Dangerous Hike

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Mount Huashan

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Mount Huashan 34.477900, 110.084800

Mount Huashan: Folklore and Fear

The World’s Most Dangerous Hike
Mount Huashan

Piz Roseg in Switzerland and La Grivola in Italy are absolutely stunning and whether you’re a mountaineering enthusiast, a nature photographer or just someone who appreciates unique mountains, I would highly recommend you visit. Both of these mountains, as well as others mentioned on the blog such as Grand Cornier and Eiger in Switzerland, stand at over 3900 meters above sea level. Can you imagine the views from these heights? There’s no denying that the world-renowned mountains in Europe such as these are astonishing and intriguing natural miracles. However, there are praiseworthy mountains in all corners of the world, from the Tafelberg in South Africa, also called Table Mountain, to Mount Huashan in North Western China.

Mount Huashan is arguably one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Its beauty is acknowledged by the hundreds of people who visit annually. The greenery on the mountain, combined with the clouds that frequently rest on the mountain top is picturesque. However, anyone who appreciates mountains knows that, while beautiful, they can also be dangerous. Mount Huashan is both the site of legendary folklore and dangerous, fearful hiking paths.

 

The Legends of Mount Huashan

Mount Hua, also known as Mount Huashan, is located in North Western China near the city of Huayin in the Shaanxi province. It is one of the Five Great Mountains of China, also known as the Sacred Mountains of China. This mountain range holds particular religious significance for the Chinese and is an important pilgrimage destination. Huashan, which translates to “Splendid Mountain,” is the Western Great Mountain. While the Sacred Mountains of China are a popular pilgrimage destination, the summits on Mount Huashan aren’t as easily accessible as those on other mountains in the range, so those who pilgrimage there are mostly locals. Mount Huashan has a rich history that stretches back thousands of years. There are two temples that rest at the base of Mount Huashan and have existed since as far back as 2 BCE. The Yuquan Temple, also known as the Jade Spring Temple, was built during the Northern Song Dynasty to honor Chen Tuan and was named by the legendary Golden Fairy Princess. The Xinyue Temple was built to honor and communicate with the god that Daoists believed lived inside the mountain. It’s so large and beautiful that it earned the nickname “The Forbidden City of Shaanxi Province.” However, those aren’t the only temples on Mount Huashan. Taoist temples, shrines and teahouses are scattered across the mountainside, offering a cultural experience and resting spot for those brave enough to hike the mountain.

 

There is a mystical feel that visitors get when they’re walking along the summit and can see the clouds gently rolling in, covering the bottom of the mountain and leaving only the smaller summits at the top of the mountain visible. For several millenium, Mouth Huashan has been revered as a source of Chinese folklore. There are many myths about the mountain, which draw the attention of both local and international visitors. Located high up on Mount Huashan is the Immortal’s Palm Peak. Legend has it that Immortal’s Palm Peak is the site of deity Juling’s handprint. The story goes that the Jade Emperor sent Juling to stem a flood on earth that was as result of jade wine spilled by the Queen Mother of the West. Juling descended from the heavens on a cloud and reached for Mount Huashan with his left hand and right leg, ripping the mountain in half. Thus, it’s said that Juling’s handprint can still be seen on Immortal’s Palm Peak.

 

There is a different legend for each of The Five Great Mountains of China. Today, these myths are regarded as part legend and part history, as they have been around for many, many centuries. Mount Huashan’s legend is related to the folktale “The Magic Lotus Lantern.” In addition to being called Mount Huashan, the mountain also has a second name- Lotus Flower Peak. This name was given to the mountain thanks to Cuiyun Palace, a Taoist temple located on the mountain, which is home to a large rock that strongly resembles a lotus flower. Seven other rocks surround Cuiyun Palace and are said to be the location where Chenxiang, a mythical hero, rescued his mother, Heavenly Goddess San Sheng Mu, in the tale known as “The Magic Lotus Lantern.”

 

Mount Huashan is filled with unparalleled culture, history and legends. Today, people come from all over the world to experience the magic that is Mount Huashan. However, they come to experience the terrifying hike, as well.

 

The World’s Most Dangerous Hike

Those who are hiking, climbing or mountaineering enthusiasts will know that, while exhilarating, climbing mountains can also prove dangerous. The Matterhorn in Switzerland has been the site of over 500 deaths, not to mention the amount of near-death experiences hikers and rescue workers alike have faced on the Matterhorn. While mountaineering can be risky anywhere, did you know that Mount Huashan is referred to as the most dangerous hike in the world?

 

A surprising fact is that Mount Huashan only stands at 2154 meters tall. While it may be shorter than other dangerous mountains in Europe, don’t let its height fool you. Mount Huashan is beautiful, but climbing it is not for the faint of heart; it’s called the world’s most dangerous hike for a reason. The trails that lead up to Mount huashan are riddled with vertical paths, incredibly steep staircases and a plank trail that will make your stomach drop. The plank trail is made only of wooden platforms that are secured to the mountainside with bolts.

 

The routes up to Mount Huashan may be filled with uneven paths, sharp inclines and mountain-hugging trails, but there is an easier way up if you’re wary of dangerous hikes. There are two cable cars that transport hundreds of people to the summit of the mountain daily. The first cable car was installed in the 1990’s and drastically increased the amount of visitors to Mount Huashan. However, if you’re a thrill-seeker, or enjoy living vicariously through those who are, then you’ll find the adventures of those who have taken on Mount Huashan of particular interest.

 

It’s impossible to hike Mount Huashan and leave without any riveting stories. When climbing the mountain, it’s not uncommon to come across pathways that barely leave enough room for one person to pass through safely. And if you take after the Chinese, you may even hike the terrifying mountain at night! Many Chinese prefer to hike at this time because they believe it’s safer to climb Mount Huashan when you can’t see its dangerous tracks. Plus, it’s said that watching the sun rise from high up on Mount Huashan is a sight to see. Climbing the mountain from its base to its summit isn’t only incredibly risky, but it’s also time-consuming. However, for what some trails may lack in safety, they make up for in beauty. You can find quiet streams weaving along the mountain, trickling past the many Taoist temples. The walkways are sometimes flat, but more often than not, hikers must walk on steps carved into stone or along vertical ladders bordering steep drops, with only the guides of steel bars or chains on the sides. The most treacherous part of the journey is always the Plank Walk in the Sky. When walking across the Plank Walk in the Sky, visitors have to buy a compulsory upper body harness- it’s that risky! The only thing ensuring that you don’t fall to a painful death is a steel cable, which your harness is securely fastened onto. The adrenaline rush that a visitor gets when they’re fastened into their harness, walking tentatively across steel bars bolted into the mountainside is unparalleled. It’s terrifying. It’s breathtaking. It’s exhilarating! When the sky walk is filled with terrified hikers who cling to the mountainside, you often have to use the chains secured to the mountain to swing your body around the other visitors so you can proceed walking. It’s at that point that hikers usually recall the rumors of 100 visitors dying per year on the Plank Walk in the Sky. But they’re just rumors…right?

 

Assuming visitors finish the terrifying Plank Walk in the Sky, there are several other dangerous paths to try. One is the hike up to the Chess Pavilion. The hike to the Chess Pavilion, precariously perched on a peak across from the Plank Walk in the Sky, may not involve as many heights, but it is still risky. Visitors have to scale a slippery mountainside, guided again only by chains mounted into the ground. Not to mention that the only way to get there is via a terrifying steep descent from the sky walk. However, the trip is rewarding. When standing in the pavilion, visitors can take in the beautiful sights of Mount Huashan, from rivers along the base of the mountain to the higher summits above, lined with beautiful green foliage. Regardless of the paths that you take and the varying sights you may see while hiking Mount Huashan, all who have visited say that the trip was well worth it.

 

No matter who you are, there is an aspect of Mount Huashan that will draw you in. If you’re a history and culture fan, the rich tales of the mountain will intrigue you and make you want to see the source of the folklore for yourself. If you enjoy nature photography, capturing shots of the legendary and stunning Mount Huashan will be a dream come true. Similarly, if you love climbing mountains or are constantly seeking your next adventure, you have to visit Huayin and climb the mountain known to be the most dangerous hike in the world.