From the moment you set foot on the Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, experiencing the essence of achievement, some climbers start to wonder – “What to climb after Kilimanjaro?”. Making a post-Kilimanjaro plan is something that should never be overlooked when considering the best alternative to your next high-altitude trekking peak. Climbing an adventurous new peak does not only mean more great memories, but also an opportunity to expand your mountaineering skills – such as varying terrain, snow and rock skills, technical and glacier knowledge.
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, yet still accessible for the average mountaineer, you may consider epic volcanoes and summits such as Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mount Rainier in the USA, and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. All three of these peaks challenge the climber, due to their harsh, glaciated environments.
Still a bit hesitant to take on a high-altitude peak or want a more comfortable experience while trekking? Then you may want to consider a technical climb instead. This type of climb requires more technical stances, such as off-or-on hipping, climbing belays, and runouts, which can be a bit intimidating for any climber who is just starting out. Consider some of the classic long routes in the alps such as the Walker Spur, the Mittellegi Ridge, and the Matterhorn.
Climbing an iconic mountain is also an excellent option and will give you the same satisfaction and feeling as climbing Kili and more. Some of the best mountain to provide a good time and great experience are Mera Peak in Nepal, Mount Olympos in Greece and Mount Blanc in France. All of these mountains require a higher level of mountaineering knowledge and technical know-how. If you’re looking for even more of an adventure with plenty of challenges, consider the Adriatic Alps’ highest peak, Mount Triglav – it is an incredible and rewarding experience.
No matter what peak you decide to go after Kilimanjaro, the most important thing to remember is that you should always be prepared, properly acclimatize, and stick to a plan. Preparation involves being familiar with the mountain you are trying to summit, knowledge of the route and avalanche hazard, proper equipment and supplies, and the knowledge of the appropriate courtesy to be displayed when climbing with others. Finally, acclimatization means understanding your physical limits, the importance of rest and water, and the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Climbing Opportunities in Central American Mountains
Central America is also home to quite a few peaks for climbers to explore. Azuero Peninsula in Panama features an immense Mountain-range system, with numerous summits such as ‘El Higuito’ (3,008m) or the ‘Cerro Colorado’ (3,142m). Volcán Chiriquí in Panama also offers some lesser-known climbing opportunities, with a range of routes on the top of the peak. Costa Rica’s Irazú Volcano, at 3,331 metres, is one of the highest in Central America – it also provides a easy trail and an exciting view for the climber.
If you’re already an expert climber, then Honduras’ Pico Bonito, at 2,740 m (9,000 ft), can provide a great challenge. The hike to the summit is a fairly easy trek, but the climbing itself is quite ambitious and dangerous – making it the perfect opportunity for the dedicated mountaineer.
Volcanoes are especially attractive for climbers, as these spectacular landforms are eruptions of molten rock from the depths of Earth. In Guatemala, the giant Pacaya Volcano stands at 8,373 ft and offers a breathtaking experience of adventure. This peak is especially suitable for the less experienced climber – however, do keep in mind that you will need a guide when climbing any volcano.
Panama’s majestic Barú Volcano stands at 3,474 metres, making it the highest peak in the country. It is a variety of routes to the summit, with trails ranging from easy forest trails to steep staircases and rock climbing. You will always find yourself in the company of locally-based experts who are more than happy to help and guide you on your adventure.
Climbing Opportunities in Africa
When deciding on where to climb next, Africa should definitely be kept in mind. Depending on the climber’s experience and goals, Africa has a wide range of peaks to climb – from technical, challenging summits such as Mount Kenya to beautiful and easily accessible hills, like the Table Mountain in South Africa.
The Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda, at 5,109 metres, provides an unforgettable experience. It is believed to be the fourth-highest mountain range in Africa and, even with its glaciers and snowcapped peaks, it still offers an accessible trail to the summit. Moreover, it holds the distinction of being one of the few mountains in the continent accessible year-round.
The Ethiopian Highlands are world-renowned for their extraordinary, jagged mountains and stunning views. The most iconic peak, Ras Dashen, stands at 4,533 metres – and it requires a solid level of mountaineering experience if you plan to climb it. The peak is usually climbed during summer and can be accessed by a long ridge climb, or in a series of challenging, steep climbs.
The Djibouti-Loyalty Islands in the Gulf of Tadjourah are probably the most exciting destination for any climber looking for adventure. The range comprises small, hidden peaks that spread around the islands for more than 50 miles. These peaks vary in height and technical difficulty, offering great opportunities for different levels of climbers.
Climbing Opportunities in The Himalayas
The Himalayas in South Asia are one of the most coveted destinations for mountaineers, providing an unbeatable array of magnificent high-altitude peaks to explore. Some of the best known summits are Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, and Kangchenjunga – the world’s third highest peak, located in Nepal.
The Himalayas are a broad range, providing endless opportunities to challenge yourself. From peaks of 8,000 metres or less, to technical and steep snow climbs, the mountains of thisregion can be climbed and/or scaled by different levels of mountaineers. Whether you’re looking for a classic ridge or a challenging ice-climb, this region of the world has a great deal to offer.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge and adventure, the Karakoram range features the world’s most technically demanding and rewarding climbs. Some of the most accessible of these peaks are Nanga Parbat, which stands at 8,125 metres, and Gasherbrum I (8,080 metres) – both of which are located in Pakistan. With their steep ice faces and seemingly infinite glaciers, these peaks truly embody the spirit of adventure and mountaineering.
The magical and iconic Mount Kailash in Tibet is also a destination of choice for experienced climbers. Standing at 6,656 metres, Mount Kailash is the highest peak in western Tibet and the holiest mountain in four religions. This peak is especially challenging, mainly due to its remote location and brutal climate. Although it is a technical climb, it is definitely a rewarding one and provides a unique experience.
Climbing Opportunities in the Americas
The Americas are also home to a variety of spectacular mountains for climbers to explore. The Denali National Park in Alaska features a range of great climbs, with peaks rising over 6,000 metres, such as the iconic Mount Denali (6,194 metres). For an adventure with a slightly lower elevation, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania stands at 5,895 metres.
The Mount Logan in Canada offers a breathtaking experience, standing at 5,959 metres. This mountain, offering a combination of technical rock climbing and mountaineering, is considered one of the most difficult climbing expeditions in North America. A successful summit of Mount Logan requires experience and a great amount of preparation – and climbers will certainly be rewarded with an incredible view.
Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba stands at 5,636 metres and is considered by many to be the most iconic peak in Mexico as well as the highest point in North America. This volcano offers unique climbing experiences, with its ridge Linea del Cumbre being its most difficult path, and its glacier route being the most popular and famous for mountaineers.
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia is a great destination for the adventurous climber. This mountain range is the highest in Colombia and the second highest in all of South America, standing at 5,750 metres. This peak offers a variety of routes that range from technical glacier routes to easy hiking trails.