In this article we will look at the most accessible six-thousanders on the planet.
What are the guidelines for choosing your first six-thousanders?
We'll highlight a number of criteria that will help you choose your first six-thousanders:
- Required experience. Different summits require different amounts of experience. According to this criterion, six-thousanders can be divided into two groups: "for beginners" and "for experienced".
- Technical complexity. If the altitude complexity of the mountains of this category is approximately the same, then the technical complexity can differ greatly. For example, on Mera Peak (6,461 m) in Nepal you can climb on foot without using special skills and equipment. And Yerupaha (6,617 m), located in the Peruvian Andes, is very difficult even for the most experienced.
- Service availability on the mountain. The cost of many of the programs described below include the services of porters (porters), cooks, overnight stays in hostels or shelters, equipment drop-off at high-altitude camps, etc. This affects the cost and comfort of the ascent.
- Duration of the program. Depending on the time of arrival and approach to the mountain, as well as the availability of reserve days - the duration of the ascent may vary. For the programs described below - from 10 to 28 days.
- Seasonality. In different mountain systems the season of optimal weather for ascents can vary greatly. Knowing this, it is easier to choose the region for your free time.
- Price. The cost of the program affects the complexity of the logistics, the presence of additional services, the need to pay for the permissions, the entrances to the national parks and other parameters.
Climbing the easiest six-thousanders
Climbing Mera Peak
Mera Peak (6,461 m) is the highest trekking peak in Nepal and one of the most preferable options for first time climbing at 6,000 meters. Mera Peak overlooks 5 of the 6 highest peaks on the planet - Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Kanchenjunga! The peculiarity of the mountain is that usually it is very windy and therefore cold (up to -30 C on the day of the climb). Therefore, it is necessary to select the equipment responsibly.
- Required experience. To participate in the ascent of Mera Peak it is enough to have experience of five-thousanders, for example, Kazbek, or high-altitude Himalayan trekking.
- Technical difficulty - 4/10. Not high. In terms of technical complexity it can be compared to Elbrus from the south. The mountain is ideal for those for whom height is more important than technique. On an assault participants leave in bundles, there are no cracks on the way. Assault set is only 600 meters, which is less than most similar peaks. In general the ascent is very smooth, there is a small pre-top ascent with handrails about 20 meters long.
- Availability of service on the mountain. Nepal has a very developed mountain tourist infrastructure. Tourists and climbers stay overnight and eat in lodges - special mountain shelters. Also actively used the services of porters, who carry personal and group equipment. Everywhere, wherever there is supposed to be at least some complexity, there are ropes. All this also applies to the ascent of Mera Peak. You will spend only 2 nights in tents (in Base Camp and Assault Camp).
- Duration of the program. Duration of the ascent is 18 days. You also have an opportunity to extend your stay in Nepal by 3 more days and visit Chitwan National Park.
- Seasonality. You may climb Mera Peak in one of two seasons: spring (March-April) or autumn (October-November).
- Price. The cost of the program is $1690. You can read more in the description of the program of climbing Mera Peak.
Climbing Island Peak
Island Peak (6,189 m) is another very popular six-thousand meter peak in Nepal. It is slightly lower than Mera Peak, but the ascent is more technical and interesting. The view of Ama Dablam from the top is breathtaking. Usually there is no wind here - Lhotse wall protects it. We do not recommend Island Peak to those who participated in the Everest trek, because their first 9 days are the same.
- Required Experience. To participate in the program you will need experience of any five-thousanders or high-altitude trekking at altitudes over 5000 meters.
- The technical complexity is 5/10. Participants expect snow and ice fields, moving in crampons, crossing the crack on the ladder (possible) and the steep pre-top ascent (60-70 degrees), which must be overcome with a jumar.
- Availability of service on the mountain. Participants shall have lodging and meals in lodges along the route (we shall stay overnight in tents only once - in the summit camp), and use the services of porters and a certified high-altitude Nepalese guide.
- Program Duration. Duration of the ascent - 19 days.
- Seasonality. As in the case of Mera Peak, Island can be climbed in spring (March-April) or fall (October-November).
- Price. The cost of the program is $1,690. You can see more details in the program description of the Island Peak climbing program.
Chachani (6,057 m) is a dormant volcano located near the Peruvian city of Arequipa. Thanks to convenient logistics and low technical complexity it is considered one of the most accessible six-thousanders in the world. Our program will include climbing El Misti, another famous active volcano (5,822 m). We will acclimatize on the other side of Peru in the rainbow mountains and Lake Titicaca, so this trip will be as full and interesting as possible.
- Experience needed. As a preliminary experience hiking in Georgia, or any higher mountains are suitable. We also recommend to pay attention to winter programs in the Carpathians: hiking to Hoverla and Petros or school of mountaineering in the Carpathians.
- Technical difficulty - 3/10. Technically both volcanoes are relatively easy. In the presence of snow on the mountain assumes the use of crampons and ice axe.
- The presence of service on the mountain. In the cities we live in hotels, 2 days in the base camps of the volcanoes we spend the night in tent camps. Porters will carry all the necessary equipment, fuel and food for the nights.
- Duration of the program. Duration of the ascent is 14 days.
- Seasonality. You can climb Chachani all year round, but there is more rainfall from January to March.
- Price. The cost of the program is from $990. For more information, see the program description for the El Misti and Chachani climbing program.
Lobuche (6,119 m) is another popular trekking peak in Nepal. The path to it also follows the trek to Everest base camp, and from the summit itself you have great views of the highest peaks of the planet.
- Required experience. To participate in the ascent you need the experience of other peaks from 5000 meters. In addition, we recommend you to pass the school of mountaineering in the Carpathians to practice the mountaineering skills that you will need on Lobuche.
- Technical difficulty - 5/10. Lobuche is not the easiest six-thousanders, you will have to move the difficult terrain, use crampons, handrails and insurance.
- Availability of service on the mountain. On the trekking part of the route we live and eat in lodges. During the ascent we spend the night in tents.
- Duration of the program. Duration - 18 days.
- Seasonality. As on the other trekking peaks of Nepal, to Lobuche it is possible to go in spring (March-April) or autumn (October-November).
- Price. The cost of the program is $2,700. More details can be found in the description of the Lobuche climbing program.
Climbing the more difficult and higher six-thousanders
Aconcagua (6,962 m) is an iconic peak. It is the highest point in South America, the Western and Southern Hemispheres, and is also part of the Seven Summits program. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is very popular with climbers from all over the world. It is of additional interest to learn about the culture and life of exotic Argentina.
- Required Experience. To participate in the group you need experience in climbing any five-thousanders, or other six-thousanders from this article.
- Technical difficulty - 3/10. Aconcagua is not technically difficult, we will climb the summit practically along the trail. But we have to keep in mind that it is not less than 7,000m high, so it will not be easy.
- Availability of service on the mountain. The price includes taking cargo by mules to the base camp. During the ascent to the mountain we live in tents and cook food by ourselves under the supervision of our guide. There is an opportunity to order food from locals along the route, but it will not be cheap: about $100-120 per day.
- Duration of the program. Duration of the ascent is 19 days.
- Seasonality. Aconcagua is best ascended in the winter months - from the middle of December to the end of February.
- The price. The cost of the program is 2580$. You can see the details in the description of the program of the ascent to Aconcagua.
Chimborazo (6,310 m) is the highest volcano in Ecuador and the furthest point from the center of the earth. It is relatively easy to climb, so Chimborazo can be considered as the first six-thousand meter volcano. In our program we suggest climbing not only it, but also one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, Cotopaxi (5,897 m). Add to this an introduction to the exoticism of South America and you get one of the most interesting programs in this altitude category.
- Experience needed. Hiking in Georgia, or any higher mountains is good as a preliminary experience. You can also consider winter programs in the Carpathians: hiking to Hoverla and Petros or school of mountaineering in the Carpathians
- Technical difficulty - 5/10. Though the technical complexity is not high, the participants will have to move in crampons and bundles, and cross several sections of the open ice steepness of about 40 degrees. All the necessary skills can be obtained in the first part of the program at the training session.
- Availability of services on the mountain. Ecuador is famous for its developed mountain infrastructure. Here you can drive up to a height of 4000 - 4500 meters, and walk to the summit is not much. In addition to the Couloir team leader there is a group of local high-altitude guides at the rate of one guide per two participants. Between ascents we stay in hotels, and in the base camps of volcanoes we stay in huts-parish huts.
- Program Duration. The duration of the ascent on 2 volcanoes is 10 days.
- Seasonality. Climbing in Ecuador can be done all year round, but the fall and winter months are considered preferable.
- Price. The cost of the program is $2,370. You can read more in the program description of the climbing Chimborasi and Cotopaxi.
Climbing the Ojos del Salado
Ojos del Salado (6,893 m) is the highest volcano in the world, the highest mountain in Chile and the second highest in South America (after Aconcagua). Technically, the ascent to Ojos is not difficult. Thanks to the dry climate of the Atacama Desert, there is almost no snow on the mountain. And you can drive up to a height of 5,200 meters. Therefore, this volcano is considered one of the easiest six-thousanders on the planet. During the acclimatization we will climb another six-thousand meter volcano - San Francisco (6,018 m).
- Experience needed. As a preliminary experience Hiking in Georgia, or any higher mountains are suitable. We also recommend to pay attention to winter programs in the Carpathians: hiking to Hoverla and Petros or school of mountaineering in the Carpathians
- Technical difficulty. The ascent to the mountain is fairly simple, but do not forget about the high altitude, because the volcano is only slightly short of seven thousand meters.
- The presence of service on the mountain. We move along the route in jeeps. In high altitude camps we live in tents and cook food with gas.
- Duration of the program. Duration of the ascent is 15 days.
- Seasonality. Optimal season for climbs - winter months (at this time in Chile is summer).
- Price. The cost of the program is $2370. You can see the details in the description of the program of the climbing the Ojós del Salado.
Climbing the difficult six-thousand peak
If you have enough technical experience and are ready for a real challenge, then pay attention to the Nepalese peak Ama Dablam in conjunction with Island Peak.
Climbing Ama Dablam
Ama Dablam (6,856 m) is one of the most beautiful peaks not only in the Himalayas, but also in the world. At the same time the mountain is very difficult technically. In preparation we will make an acclimatization ascent to another six-thousand meter peak, Island Peak. The hiking part of the route follows the famous Everest base camp trek.
- Required experience. To participate requires experience in climbing other six-thousanders, or Kazbek/Mont Blanc in the off-season or winter. We also recommend climbing one of the technically difficult peaks, such as the Matterhorn.
- The technical difficulty is 7/10. Very high. Participants will have to move on difficult terrain - rocks, stones, snow and ice. Just need excellent coordination, skills of moving on the rails, work with the jumper and the descent device. In addition, do not forget that Ama Dablam lacks just a little bit to 7000 meters, so it is worth taking into account the altitude complexity.
- Availability of service on the mountain. On the trekking part of the route we live and eat in lodges. At the base and high-altitude camps of Island Peak and Ama Dablam we stay overnight in tents. A certified Nepalese high altitude guide with eight thousand climbs experience is a must in the group. It is possible to use the services of porters to transport personal belongings.
- Duration of the program. Duration of the ascent - 28 days.
- Seasonality. The ascents to Ama Dablam are traditionally conducted in the second half of fall, in October and November.
- Price. The cost of the program is $4,270. You can see the details in the description of the program of the climbing Ama Dablam.