Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seven Mountains, Seven Continents

Every mountaineer dreams of climbing the world’s greatest mountain ranges. Conquering Everest and Kilimanjaro are worthy goals, ones that drive climbers to the edges of the Earth seeking thrills. Every country and every continent offers beautiful, sprawling mountain ranges to explore, for beginners and advanced climbers.

With so many mountains and so little time, how are you supposed to choose which ones you want to take on?

Here is a short list to help you get started! We’ve chosen a mountain or range from each of the seven continents that you can travel to and climb. Start at one of these suggestions, or use it to find your own mountain.

Asia: Mount Rinjani
Mount Rinjani is not just any mountain: it is also an active volcano. Located in Indonesia on the island of Lombok, the volcano is the second highest in Indonesia. The volcano’s caldera is partially filled with a crater lake, known as Segara Anak. The caldera also contains hot springs. Protected by the Gunung Rinjani National Park, touring is getting more popular all the time, and the views are worth the climb.

Africa: the Atlas Mountains
While Kilimanjaro is one of the biggest draws for mountaineers, the Atlas Mountains are a not-to-be-missed adventure. Stretching across northwest Africa, the range is home to a variety of plants and animals unique to that region; many are endangered. There is a calm and peace about this range, with Berber mud villages and superb trekking. Multi-day tours are best to see as much of it as you can.

Europe: the Matterhorn
The Matterhorn is said to be the home of mountaineering, and how could any climber resist that? This giant mountain in the Alps has four steep faces that rise above the surrounding glaciers, facing north, south, east, and west. The name itself means “meadow peak,” speaking to the verdant meadows on the mountain. There is a 10-day tour offered, which includes the alpine meadows, balcony trails, larch forests, and glacial crossings that make for an extraordinarily scenic trek.

South America: Machu Picchu
The ancient Inca village is located 2,430 feet above sea level, settled above the Sacred Valley. It has becomes an important tourist destination, with much of the village being restored to give visitors a better idea of what it really looked like when it was built in 1450. In fact, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and hiking up to see it is unforgettable and humbling.

North America: the Grand Canyon
While not technically a “mountain range,” the Grand Canyon still entices climbers from all over to traverse its gorges. It is one of the more grueling treks, as climbers go straight down and then back up, but it is completely worth it. The red stones, even prettier when drenched in the colors of sunrise or sunset, offer an amazing challenge and rewarding views.

Australia: the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area, and the range has both aboriginal and European history. Rock climbers, mountain bikers, and hikers can all enjoy a trip to the Blue Mountains, and they have been listed as a World Heritage. The mountains are named for the blue haze that forms from Eucalyptus oil and waves of light. With breathtaking scenery and a range of guided tours, every mountaineer at every skill level can appreciate the Aussie views.

Antarctica: Transantarctic Mountains
While Antarctica is for the most serious mountaineers, the Transantarctic Mountains are still a goal to be met. Faceted in snowy white, these mountains are not for the faint of heart. Requiring snow mobiles, expert guides, and lots of equipment, the trek is one that will last a lifetime. The trek brings people together, and the snow-bound wonderland you can see from the top is remarkable.

These seven must-climb mountains on our seven continents all offer something different for each mountaineer. Whether you are a beginner or could climb Everest with your eyes closed, you can appreciate each of these ranges impressive beauty.


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