At first glance, mountaineering seems, well, hard. There are howling winds and freezing-cold temps to contend with; the gear is expensive, and so is traveling to reach the world's truly great mountains; there are risks—avalanches! crevasses! cliffs! storms!—inherent in high-altitude climbing; not to mention you have to walk (with your own feet!) to the top of each peak, presumably schlepping all your expensive gear. Just thinking about it all is exhausting.
But a little preparation and, more importantly, careful mountain selection can bring even some of the world's highest peaks—including three of the famed "Seven Summits" (the tallest mountains from each continent)—within reach of a fairly average Joe. You, too, can feel your crampons bite into snow, bear the weight of a pack filled with only the bare essentials and march beneath the stars to the soundtrack of your own steady breathing until you taste the rarefied air at the top of a big mountain.
So, what do you need to do? Open up your lungs with a little cardio, prep your body for a heavy backpack with some moderate weightlifting, take time to let your body acclimatize to high altitudes and, in a few cases where snow and glacier travel is required, learn some basic ice axe and cramp-on skills. On those mountains, unless you have experience, it's best to hire a guide service to help you navigate snowfields and glaciers. And, above all that, improve your chances of summiting by picking one of these 13 beginner-friendly (and still brag-worthy) mountains from around the world.
Tropical volcanoes? A 7,000-meter Himalayan monster? A peak that lords over thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean? Done, done, and done. We even found a sacred Japanese mountain the whole family can hike with refreshments along the route. Here are 13 of the most satisfying, yet entry-level climbs the world over.