10 Best Mountaineering Holidays In The World
Where should you head on your next mountaineering holiday? Put these destinations on your bucket list
Mountaineering holidays abroad are one of the most exciting prospects for climbers and trekkers - particularly if you are planning a trip to Chamonix or the Himalayas.
Whether you are a seasoned climber or hillwalker, there are plenty of options for mountaineering holidays across the world.
We’ve included a variety of climbs here for all abilities - including mountaineering climbs up Switzerland’s famous Matterhorn and less treacherous ascents for hillwalkers, like Mt. Toubkal in Morocco.
MT. BLANC, FRANCE
Climbing Mont Blanc is a mountaineering holiday every climber should attempt in their lifetime.
Rising up from the mountaineering epicentre of Chamonix, Mont Blanc is the tallest peak in western Europe at 4,810m. You need to have high fitness levels, but you don’t have to have climbed an alpine peak before.
World Expeditions run eight-day Mont Blanc expeditions from July through to September - including training and acclimatisation. They dedicate three days to making the actual ascent, giving enough time to have two chances at summiting.
MT. KILIMANJARO, TANZANIA
Celebrities like Cheryl Cole and Fearne Cotton might have tackled the African peak, but climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is no easy feat.
At 5895m high, the final push to the summit involves 16 hours at very high altitude, so you’ll need good stamina and fitness (and pray you don’t get altitude sickness).
Climbing Kilimanjaro have successfully guided more than 15,000 climbers to the summit - and they lead groups up the mountain all year round. The quickest you can hike to the peak with them is five days, staying in comfortable sleeping huts every night.
MT. ACONCAGUA, ARGENTINA
Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina is the highest peak in the western hemisphere - 3,500 climbers attempt to summit each year. The ‘Normal Route’ is perfect for an avid hillwalker than wants a taste of mountaineering.
Like hiking Snowdon, this route doesn’t require ice axes - you’ll be walking rather than scrambling. However, at 6,962m high, it is altitude that poses the greatest problem.
We would definitely recommend hiring a guide for this hike as it is unmarked and mostly on scree. For a more technical challenge, take the Polish route for some steep icy routes and climbs.
Aconcagua Expeditions takes groups up the Normal route and the Polish route. Contact them here for more information.
The Matterhorn is probably one of the most easily recognisable mountain peaks on the planet. You know, that large perfectly pointed one on a Toblerone wrapper? Who wouldn’t want to climb that?
It’s not the world’s most difficult climb - it would be ranked ‘moderate’ on the British climbing grade - but it is exposed and you definitely need to have some previous experience climbing alpine PD+ or harder.
The summit takes between 9 and 12 hours with zero long breaks, so stamina, fitness and determination are essential.
Mountain Tracks run expeditions up the Matterhorn from July to September - these last six days with four days worth of acclimatisation and training around the Zermatt area before making the ascent.
MT. COTOPAXI, ECUADOR
As one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, climbing Mt. Cotopaxi has an element of risk just by being there. There has been a marked increase in earthquakes in the past few months, so you climb this mountain at your own risk.
Climbing the 5,897m peak is often described by non-climbers as “one of the most difficult things I have ever done".
Less than 50 per cent of the people that attempt it make it to the top. But the view from the top is spectacular - and totally worth it.
You’ll need crampons, ice axes and crevasse rescue kits if you want to climb Cotopaxi - plus you need to hire an accredited mountain guide according to rules set down by the Ecuadorian government.
Cotopaxi Climbing run two day treks up the volcano which includes a night’s stay in a refuge, all equipment and meals.
STOK KANGRI, INDIA
Stok Kangri in the Indian Himalayas is perfect for those looking for their first taste of mountaineering at high altitude. You’ll spend two days acclimatising before embarking on a four-day trek to Smankarmo.
From here, it’s a walk to base camp, a rest day and then more acclimatisation before you head for the 6,121m summit.
Jagged Globe have been running expeditions from the UK to Stok Kangri since 1988. You need to be familiar with ice axes and crampons on low-angled terrain and be confident on British Grade I scrambles, like Snowdon’s Crib Goch.
Climbing Toubkal in Morocco is a walk rather than a climb, but a difficult one nonetheless. Most trekkers head up early to mid-morning to stay the night before making the final push to the summit the next day.
You will start in the village of Aroumd - it’s a 1.5 hour hike to the pilgrimage site of Sidi Chamarouch followed by another four to five hours to the Toubkal refuges at 3,208m - which is the foot of the final slope to the Toubkal summit.
The South Cirque is the most popular, straightforward route with a path that’s easy to follow. It should take between 2.5 and 3.5 hours to make the ascent and around 2 hours coming down.
You can hike Toubkal without a guide, but if you aren’t feeling confident then take a guide - they are available at the refuge.
THREE PEAKS CHALLENGE, ICELAND
Want to see Iceland while hiking and climbing? KE Adventure Travel run an eight-day exploration tour of Iceland, climbing three peaks including Vorduskeggi Peak (805m), Hekla volcano (1,491m) and Hvannadalshnukur (2,119m), the highest mountain in the country.
You’ll also get to visit the geothermal area at Geysir, see the amazing Gullfoss waterfall, take a dip in the famous Landmannalaugar hot pools and finally the Skogarfoss waterfall - before returning to Reykjavik.
The expeditions run from May to August and are perfect for strong walkers who are looking for an introduction to tackling mountains.
MT. KHUITEN, MONGOLIA
Adventure Consultants run 16-day expeditions up to this peak, including a tour around the town of Olgii and a chance to catch Mongolian horse racing.
Summiting Mount Khuiten itself takes seven days, including acclimatisation time. It’s mostly scrambling on low-angled technical terrain. You need to be relatively fit to complete this climb, not superman/woman.
Depending on how quickly the ascent takes and weather conditions, there might be time to summit another King of the Altai.
MT. SIGUNIANG, CHINA
Known as the Four Sisters Mountains, Mt. Siguniang is the highest in the Siguniangshan range in China with four peaks - the three lowest are all regular mountaineering destinations year round.
Ace Adventure run expeditions to climb the second highest peak - Er Feng (5,276m) - over two days.
Ideally you should have some trekking background as you’ll be hiking above 3,000m on most days and there are several steep scrambles at 5,000m, so good cardiovascular fitness is a must. You’ll be rewarded at the top with one of the most spectacular views over the Oriental Alps.