5 years, Australia
Well, guess what: is it Mont Blanc? Kilimanjaro? Is it Aconcagua? Take a moment to read and find out what factors make mountains most guided.
It is hard to calculate the exact number of guided сlimbs on the most popular peaks in the world. Nevertheless mountainplanet.com managed to study various analytical and statistical data provided by national and reservetion parks, custom services, control and rescue forces, climbing and mountaneering federations as well as experts’ opinion in order to present more or less verified statistics for this story.
As a rule National Parks where the mountains are located issue mountaineering reports summarizing the total number of сlimbs for a designated season.
However, there are factors which impact the final statistics:
Basically there are two major factors which сan make some mountain a popular destination for climbers. First - accessibility and infrastructure which facilitates logistics and preparation process. Second - a distinctive feature - altitude, location, shape, glaciers etc. - some individual thing of the mountain which can draw the attention of the adventure seekers.
At this article we cover guided climbs only. Some of the most popular climbing destinations such as Fujiyama, Mount Kosciuszko, Sinai, Machu Picchu or Breithorn are not included in our list since summiting these peaks does not require mountain guide’s services.
Let’s take a look at TOP-10 most guided summits according to mountainplanet.com:
Mount Matterhorn is an iconic Alps mountain with distinctive and amazingly perfect pyramidal peak. By far Matterhorn could be the most visually appealing mountain in the current list. Its stunning images have been drawing adventure seekers and climbers for many decades. Regardless of its beauty it would be wrong to assume that climbing Matterhorn is easy. Steep slopes and unpredictable weather changes have claimed some 500 lives since 1865. Access to the international airports and great infrastructure have made Matterhorn one of the most preferred choices for climbers around the world.
Orizaba is the tallest mountain in Mexico and also one of the Volcanic 7 summits. These factors make Mount Orizaba one of the most desired destinations for climbers. Mount Orizaba rises above the Gulf of Mexico drawing the eye with its magnificent snow-clad peak and glacier running down its slopes. Ascending on Mount Orizaba is considered an excellent choice for those who want to experience a big mountain glacier climb before progressing to the higher altitudes.
Mount Elbrus - the highest peak in Europe - is often mistakenly considered as an easy climb. Summiting Mt. Elbrus has always been a challenge. During the summit push climbers have to deal with vertical gain about 2 000 meters. The journey may become extremely exhausting, there have been cases when exhausted climbers descending Elbrus got off the trek and went missing in the glacier maze. Every year Mt. Elbrus claims 10 lives on average.
7. Island Peak
Island Peak is one of the most popular locations in the Himalayas. It offers a memorable and fabulous journey into the Everest region with a hike towards Everest base camp. The whole expedition may take up to 16 days. Island Peak may not be among the Himalayan giants nevertheless it requires technical skills and proper climbing gear: crampons, ropes etc.
Mount Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside Asia and one of the legendary 7 Summits. This is the only summit in the world with elevation almost 7,000 meters which can be tackled even by people who have never had climbing experience before. Despite this fact it is highly recommended to ascend on Aconcagua with knowledgeable mountain guide in order to avoid possible risks and increase chances for successful summit.
Ecuador has always been a sort of Mecca for adventure seekers and mountain enthusiasts around the world. The country’s landscape offers a variety of amazingly beautiful mountains and volcanos most of which can be scaled in one or two days. One of them is Mount Cotopaxi - the second highest peak in Ecuador and the highest active volcano in the world. Summitting Cotopaxi is generally considered not difficult in a technical sense but there are some threats Cotopaxi may pose on the route such as hidden crevices in the glacier ice and steep snow slopes.
Although ascending on Cotopaxi is often forbidden due to seismic activity in the area it is the one of the top mountaineering destinations with nearly 5 000 climbs annually.
Mount Rainier is one of the most popular commercial climbing destinations in the United States. There are a few reasons for that. First, Mt. Rainier is located nearby Seattle metropolitan area with some 3.7 million people living there which makes Mt. Rainier one of the most accessible locations in its class. Second - Mt. Rainier serves as a training ground for american climbers before scaling Mt. Denali - North America’s tallest mountain. Today over 40 routes run to the very summit of Mt. Rainer providing climbers with breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding mountain range, alpine meadows and snow-clad summits.
3. Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc is the tallest mountain in the Alps and earned the reputation of merciless killer with confirmed 1,800 deaths on its account. Unlike legendary climbing locations in Alaska, Himalayas or Andes, local authorities require no permit to ascend Mont Blanc. With the death toll growing each year there have been serious discussions lately whether it’s still good idea to have unrestricted access to Mont Blanc. So what makes Mont Blanc so popular amongst climbers? First - historical heritage for international Alpine community. Mont Blanc is regarded as the birthplace for modern mountaineering. Second - great infrastructure and accessibility to European cultural and historical landmarks. One needs to remember before attempting Mont Blanc: it is often mistakenly considered as a simple trek, but in reality it’s a high-altitude act of mountaineering.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain on Earth. It is also in the 7 Summits and Volcanic 7 Summits collection which makes it one of the most popular climbing destinations. Mount Kilimanjaro summit is perfectly achievable for hikers and trekkers with average degree of physical strength. Nowhere on Earth it is possible to scale a mountain of this elevation without crampons. Beyond that outdoor enthusiasts are excited to combine climbing Kilimanjaro with famous safari rides in the national parks and visits to Zanzibar. These factors make Mountain Kilimanjaro one of the most preferred choices on the adventure market.
1. Kala Patthar
For many mountain enthusiast this may come as a surprise. Why Kala Patthar? Mount Kilimanjaro or Mont Blanc seem to deserve a lot more to be on the top of the list. But the statistics speaks for itself. Tens of thousands climbers summit Kala Patthar every year. Much of its popularity comes from the fact that ascending Kala Patthar is a final destination of the Everest Base Camp trek. For this reason summiting Kala Patthar has become one of the most desired adventures for thousands outdoor enthusiasts. It provides climbers with the most accessible point to view the highest mountain on Earth. First time climbers are usually overwhelmed by the majestic Mount Everest and neighbouring summits splendour and it takes some time to catch the breath back again. Every year Kala Patthar is ascended by nearly 40 000 people, most of the climbs are accomplished with assistance of local mountain guides.
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