13 Easy, Brag-Worthy Mountains

13 Easy, Brag-Worthy Mountains

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Height: 10,958 feet
Challenges: Volcanic fumes
Relative Difficulty:
Easy
Fissures and vents in this active volcano’s façade release drifting clouds of noxious gases, along with ash and lava—especially at low altitude—which present some risk to climbers. That being said, the peak (which occasionally shifts from volcanic activity), is well within most day hikers’ reach. Much like the olives and grapes that blossom from its rich volcanic soil, this Mediterranean mountain is well worth the hassle.

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Height: 12,388 feet
Challenges: Crowds (in Summer)
Relative Difficulty:
Easy
With over 100,000 trekkers each year, this sacred mountain—which, along with Mount Tate and Mount Kau, rounds out Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains”—has become a truly global pilgrimage. The steep climb follows four trails, each lined with concession stands and beds, and is a full-day hike. The picturesque mountain, which was first climbed by a monk in 663, was closed to foreigners and women for hundreds of years. Nowadays, though, anyone can hop the train from nearby Tokyo and catch the breathtaking sunrise from Fuji’s peak (just be sure to do it outside of tourist high season).

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Height: 14,411 feet
Challenges: Snow and Glacier Traverses
Relative Difficulty: 
Moderate
From atop its summit, the highest peak in the Cascade Range reveals a chain of volcanoes—St. Helens, Adams, Baker, Glacier Peak and Hood—stretching southward. Rainier is considered a beginner trek. But don't let this label, and its easy accessibility (just 50 miles southeast of Seattle) fool you into thinking it's without challenge. The mountain hums almost daily with high-frequency earthquakes, and it's riddled with crevasses.

Flickr/D.H. Parks

Height: 13,796 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Heat
Relative Difficulty:
Easy
Ever wonder what it’s like to be the highest person for thousands of miles? If so, take a crack at this dormant volcano. The rough, shifting (and, in the summer, hot) lava rocks can be exhausting on the ascent, and the high elevation coming from near sea level is enough to give an unprepared hiker a sharp altitude sickness headache, but the lofty summit is worth it. The quiet solitude lends particularly well to watching a Hawaiian sunrise, so start out early to squeeze the most out of this breathtaking view over all of the Pacific.

Flickr/Dusty J

Height: 14,259 feet
Challenges: Rock Scrambles, Steep Faces, Narrow Ledges, PM Thunderstorms
Relative Difficulty:
Easy-Moderate
You know a mountain is legit when it’s featured on a state quarter. Longs Peak is the highest in Rocky Mountain National Park, which makes a favorite target of less experienced climbers. The Keyhole Route is the most popular, beginning from a campground at 9,405 feet and gaining 4,850 feet to the summit.  Be sure to leave the trailhead early (like, 2am early), so as to make it back below tree-line before afternoon thunderstorms—a real danger on Longs Peak—roll in. The best time to go is late summer, as winter conditions are common at any other time. With steep scrambles and even more technical options for experienced climbers, this one’s an American classic.

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Height: 15,770 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Snow and Glacier Traverses
Relative Difficulty:
Moderate
When you consider that 20,000 climbers summit each year, that 20 people threw a Jacuzzi party on the summit a few years back and that a scientific observatory was built atop it, the highest mountain in Europe—if Mount Elbrus is in Asia—no longer looks as scary. The 15,770-foot summit does require a fair deal of endurance, though, and care taken to get used to the altitude.

Flickr/San-Tus

Height: 16,954 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Snow Traverses
Relative Difficulty:
Moderate
The faithful believe the remains of Noah’s Ark may be hidden somewhere on Ararat’s scenic, frozen flanks. Modern tourists and adventurers, however, simply find the 16,954-foot mountain challenging and inspirational. While it does demand some basic ice axe and crampon technique, the climb itself is relatively straightforward, particularly up the mountain’s south face. At the top, Armenia, Turkey, and Iran stretch out as far as the eye can see.

Flickr/laradanielle

Height: 17,159 feet
Challenges: Elevation
Relative Difficulty:
Easy
Mexico’s third highest mountain (pictured in the foreground, with 17,802-foot Popocatépetl behind) resembles a woman when viewed from the side. The most common route is La Arista del Sol, The Ridge of the Sun, which climbs up the “Sleeping Lady’s” feet, past her knees and across her stomach before summiting her… well, we’ll leave that to the imagination. Very few technical skills are necessary for scaling this extinct volcano, but acclimatization is vital to success.

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Height: 18,510 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Snow Traverse, High Winds
Relative Difficulty:
Moderate
Some scientists consider this to be Europe’s contribution to the “Seven Summits.” It bisects Europe and Asia along the Caucasus range, and is infamous in Greek lore as the mountain that Zeus chained Prometheus to for revealing fire to mankind. A chairlift gives climbers a boost up the inactive volcano, ferrying them to 12,500 feet. From there, most take the Standard Route, a technically simple trail if not for the high winds, dense snows, and high elevation that defeat many summit bids.

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Height: 19,341 feet
Challenges: Elevation
Relative Difficulty:
Easy-Moderate
As the tallest mountain in Africa—and the continent’s contribution to the “Seven Summits”— Kilimanjaro consists of three extinct volcanoes. Climbing more than 16,000 feet from the surrounding plains brings you through a stunning array of ecosystems: from cultivated soil, through rainforest, past alpine desert and up over glaciers at the peak. While this tough trek is well known as beginner-level, and most guide services require no prior experience, around 10 people still die on it each year, mostly from severe altitude sickness.

WikiCommons/SnowyFR

Height: 21,247 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Snow and Glacier Traverses
Relative Difficulty:
Difficult
Everest isn’t the only Himalayan mountain worth climbing. After trekking in through the rhododendron and bamboo forests of Hinku Valley, the basic ice axe and crampon skills you'll needed for the journey can be learned at the base of the mountain. The best time to ascend is between April and May, or October and November, when the frosty winds atop Mera Peak briefly calm. From the lofty summit, a clear day will reveal Mount Everest, Kangchenunga, Lhotse, Malaka, and Cho Oyu mountains.

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Height: 22,902 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Snow Traverse, Access
Relative Difficulty:
Moderate-Difficult
This massive Andean mountain is South America's member of the famed “Seven Summits.” Records show that about 60% of climbers who attempt the summit succeed, and that most failures are caused by altitude sickness and hypothermia. While this adventure is no joke, familiarity with crampons, ice axe self-arrest, trek camping and moderate alpine climbing experience are all you need to call this intimidating feat—which takes about 21 days, including the trek in and acclimatization—non-technical hiking.

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Height: 23,405 feet
Challenges: Elevation, Winds, Snow and Glacier Traverses
Relative Difficulty:
Moderate-Difficult
This massive mountain is surprisingly direct, though contenders must be fit to endure the arduous acclimatization process and harsh, frequent storms near the mountain’s peak. June through August is the optimal window for summit bids, as the winds calm and avalanche risk is lower than usual. The classic route is from the north side, and though it demands minimal technical training, the way is heavily glaciated.

13 Easy, Brag-Worthy Mountains