Mountains and great volcanoes
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Mt. Fitz Roy
Los Glaciares National Park
Situated way down south on the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is the village of El Chaltén popular amongst hikers, campers and adventurers as a gateway to the Los Glaciares National Park. Stopping in at the ranger’s station close to the entrance of town, visitors can obtain a photocopied map of the national park and venture out by themselves on a number of day trip and overnight hiking trails. Don’t let the photocopied map on an A4 piece of paper discourage you as the trails are well marked and most lead to the same spot at the camp close to Mt. Fitz Roy. The mountain is the tallest in the area, standing at 3,375 m which is small by South American standard’s. It does however create a challenging walk for climbers taking the windy route to the glacial pool situated at the base of the mountain.
Mt. Aragats (4,090 m)
40 km from Yerevan
Since imposing Mt. Ararat (5,137 m) rises in the horizon behind the Turkish border, Armenia's highest mountain is the beautiful little sister Mt. Aragats (4,090 m). It is a volcano with four peaks and the beautiful green foothills are dotted with tent camps of Yezidi Kurd herders along with their livestock. An old Soviet observatory Byurakan is located at 3,200 m and is the reason why there is a road all the way up to the alpine Lake Kari that forms during spring. The southern peak can be reached by scrambling (not just trekking) while the northern peak (the highest) needs gear to be summited.
Climbing Huyana Potosi (6,088 m)
Outside La Paz
Ever dreamed of climbing a mountain? This could be your chance. Claimed to be one of the worlds easiest 6,000+ meters, Huyana Potosi rises tall right outside La Paz. In just two days you can make it to the top and back to civilization in the city. Ice axes, ropes and crampons are necessities and this is no trekking peak. Ascending to the peak is rewarding – this mountain has a real pointy peak and offers outstanding views of the altiplano, the Cordillera Real (The Royal Range) and the gleaming white peaks of the nearby Illampu mountain.
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5,596 m)
About outside Lijiang, Yunnan Province
This crazily named mountain reaches 5,596 m into the sky and is capped by the southernmost glacier on the northern hemisphere. One side of Tiger Leaping Gorge is actually formed by the far side of the mountain. The snow on the peaks is eternal and can be reached in classic Chinese fashion by cable car which goes as high as 4,506 m. Here you will mingle with smoking Chinese tourists inhaling oxygen from canisters while sliding down the slope on rented toboggans. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain can be reached from Lijiang on a fun, though a bit surreal, day trip. If you are looking for a bit of serious exploration of the mountain, you can then go skiing (there are a few ropeways), hiking and even mountain climbing.
Mt. Everest from Qomolangma lookout
When you finally get a glimpse of the tallest peak in the world, all the hours spent winding through the Tibetan mountain ranges coupled with endless permit checks and of course altitude sickness, will immediately feel insignificant.
This is Mt Everest.
The himalaya ranges contain 14 mountains that are above 8,000 metres of which Mt. Everest is the highest, peaking at an awe-inspiring 8848 metres above sea level. From the main lookout in the Qomolangma (Tibetan name for Mt Everest) National Park you can actually see not only Mt Everest but the entire range. It is reassuring to know that from the Tibetan side, Mt Everest appears as a perfect peak and is clearly the highest amongst its peers. Apparently, the view from the Nepalese side is slightly less impressive.
Many pilgrimages to the lookout have ended in disappointment due to the presence of clouds. Early May and early October are your best chances of clear skies.
Mt. Bromo (2,329 m)
Mount Bromo, Gunung Bromo, (2,329 m) is a very easy volcano to see, and has a high reward from the lookout. Going to see Bromo can be done several different ways. Take a walk from Cemoro Lawang or if you are feeling lazy, grab a 4x4 transport up to the lookout. From the lookout, the view overlooking Mt. Bromo, Mt. Semuru, and the Sand Sea is spectacular. At dawn, the crater appears as if there is a lake of fog that sits along the bottom of the crater. For the true adventurer, there is a 3-4 day hike that can be done from the backside of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It is a wonderful hike and gives you a chance to see some amazing wildlife.
Mt. Rinjani (3,726 m)
The summit of volcano Rinjani, Gunung Rinjani, (3,726 m) is not only the highest point on Lombok, but the second highest volcano in Indonesia (Gunung Kerinci on Sumatra is the highest). Rinjani is active, and so is the smaller and newer volcano, Baru Jari, inside its crater. Beside the new smoking mini cone, the crater also contains a holy lake called Segara Anak. Both the summit of Rinjani and the crater lake are considered sacred by the local Sasak people who climb the mountain as pilgrims, but anyone is welcome to do the trek when it is considered safe. There are several routes and the treks can be done from 3 days. You can arrange guide, equipment and porters in either Senaru, Sembalun Lawang or Sapit, though Senaru seems as the most popular starting place.
Mt. Sinabung (2,450 m)
There are two volcanos near Berastagi that can be trekked; Sibayak (2,212 m) and Sinabung (2,450 m). The latest being the tallest one with the best view. The start of the trail can be difficult to find, but else fairly easy to follow to the top, where the stunning views are waiting. There are steep sections, where the use of hands is necessary. The trek can be done in one day from Berastagi town, but remember to get down from the summit in time before dark. Keep in mind that Mt. Sinabung is an active volcano and last erupted in 2010.
Mt. Fuji (3,776 m)
The volcano Fujisan is the icon of Japan and something you have to at least see, but even better hike. Its symmetrical cone is easily visible from Tokyo on a clear day and it's only getting more impressive the closer you get. The trek to the summit is fairly easy (though cold) and there are huts and tea houses along the routes that are open in the season (1st July to 27th August). It's probably the most trekked mountain in the world with more than 200,000 trekkers per year, but it only adds to the pilgrim experience to do it in crowds.
Scaling Mt. Kenya (5,199 m)
Mount Kenya (5,199 m), second only to Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) in Africa, actually consists of several peaks, the third highest (Point Lenana, 4,985 m) of which can be scaled without ropes. The park is stunning, with a wide variety of habitats. There are a number of approaches, with the slightly longer Chogoria being the most beautiful. Sirimon is a good alternative, and the two can be combined for a 5/6-day walk. The walking begins around 3,000 m, and if you are coming from Nairobi (1,500 m), be sure to take the high altitude into account. The summit is best experienced at sunrise; the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro can be seen on clear mornings. The hike is tough, and many visitors have to turn back before they reach the top. Hiring porters and a guide will increase your chances of success, and decrease the risk of getting lost. Also beware of the weather – the top of Mt Kenya has a permanent glacier, and temperatures on the mountains fall well below freezing on most nights. Too much rain or snow can make the experience unpleasant and dangerous. On a clear day, however, there are few places that can claim to be more beautiful.