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International - Where to climb?

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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International - Where to climb?

Postby Athos791 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:22 am

So I have been tossing around a few ideas of where to go for a major climb this summer. I am getting a paid for trip for my graduation present, so thought I would see if anyone had some suggestions for where to go. I am going back to Orizaba in December, so thats not going to be this summer... Was thinking about Kili but as I said just looking for ideas. Time frame is anytime from mid june until mid august. Looking to spend somewhere under $1500 or so. Likely something in the 14,000 to 19,000 ft. range. Thanks!
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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby benners » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:44 am

Athos, Mt. Elbrus in east Europe may be a consideration for you as its in the northern hemisphere and June/July is the best time to climb it. It's roughly the same altitude as Orizaba and can be done fairly easily from what I've read (and its one of the 7 summits). The trip cost would probably be fairly low also, I think the only problem may be red tape as I know there have been civil/governmental unrest issues in that area fairly recently.

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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby sburke16 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:53 pm

How about Peru?

You got the Inca trail and all sorts of volcanoes. Volcanoes can be non-technical "walk up" like el misti or technical like coropuna.

That is my next trip.

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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby TomPierce » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:08 pm

Hey Luke,

Sounds fun! So...let's see. That's right near the monsoon so the Himalayas probably wouldn't be feasible. Mid June is near the end of the season in Alaska and everything in your size range would be a pretty serious undertaking anyway (e.g. Hunter, Foraker, etc.) That's sort of out of season for Equador, and I'm pretty sure that's the middle of winter for Peru, somebody can check me on that. In the northern hemisphere that's pretty prime for the Canadian Rockies, but still kind of in bug season and nothing comes to mind that really fits size-wise except Logan, a big undertaking from what I've heard. I like benner's suggestion of Elbrus, never done it personally but have seen photos and films, looks very do-able. I've looked into a climb in the Tien Shan (Khan Tengri) and your timing is really good but those are probably more than you want to bite off (you'd need a solid team of people, etc. etc.)

Besides Elbrus have you thought of doing the low budget thing in Europe? Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc are both over 15K, glaciated, etc. The Matterhorn is 14,700, many other 4000m peaks. Note that the routes tend to be stiffer and usually glaciated. Soloing them is probably not wise at all, at least IMO. If you go with some friends, there are multiple routes, easy to get beta on all the routes, you can skip the bag/tent thing and stay in huts, etc. You may really like Euro stuff: again the routes tend to be stiff but usually fixed pro at anything really hard. BUT, the summer esp. August is peak vacation season, so the routes & huts will tend to be pretty crowded. And you'll need to shop flights, they can be expensive.

Or you could do something un the US,of course. Tetons, Cascades, Sierra come to mind.

Wow, exciting!
-Tom

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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby jrbren_vt » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:46 pm

July and 1H August is an excellent time to visit the Canadian Rockies. I would not discard them because they are lower the Colorado Rockies. By and large, it is my impression that they have steeper gradients and are more heavily glaciated, and more wild. Many, many peaks much more challenging for a mountaineering objective then much higher peaks such as Kilimanjaro. For the Himalayan region, Ladakh trekking season in prime in July/August, but I think $1500 might be your airfare alone just to get there. 6000+ meter peak Stok Kangri is a popular objective of about similar difficulty as Kilimanjaro. Ladakh is beyond the main Himalayan chain to the north which blocks most of the monsoon. I read the Karakoram is similarly suited for summer season.
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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby cheeseburglar » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:48 pm

TomPierce wrote: That's sort of out of season for Equador, and I'm pretty sure that's the middle of winter for Peru, somebody can check me on that.


I guess I'll have to disagree with the Ecuador part, at the risk of being wrong. From talking with the guides down there, the summer (July mostly, I think) season usually has more clear skies than winter in Ecuador. However, more clear skies means less snow and more ice. That tends to make the routes more technical. From what I was told, the normally icy and clear summer season didn't happen last year. They've had unsettled and unpredictable weather for a while. Whenever I asked anyone about the weather, they just shrugged and said something like "We'll see what happens."
So I'd say go for Ecuador if it interests you. If not Chimborazo, Cotapaxi is a very nice mountain. Despite it's reputation, Illiniza Sur looks like a great climb. The other tall volcanoes would also be great. Lots of nice acclimatization climbs and high huts (much nicer than on Orizaba) to acclimate at. Ecuador also seems to be a really affordable place to climb. You might get the trip for $1,500 with airfare, guided, if you look around. I think I spent something like $1,800 but I'm not an accountant and things got a little crazy in Quito after the climbs.

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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby gb » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:29 pm

Rainy season in Peru ends in May, making June one of the best times. Yes, it's winter, but that close to the equator it's really more of a question of rainy/not rainy season. If I were in your shoes I would look into Peru or Bolivia.

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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby Athos791 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:36 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

Benners, I was looking at Elbrus on SP, and seems like a pretty awesome climb! Anyone have first hand experience on it?

Sburke, just SP'ed el misti, have you climbed it? Seems like a cool peak, says the snowcap is gone tho, any info on that?

Tom, Tien Shan seems like a cool area, I can see why you want to go there. There is a volcano in the Kunlun Shan that I really want to climb, but it is not in my price range for this trip this summer. I thought about heading over to europe to have a go at Mont Blanc, will have to keep that in mind.. Have you been to that area?

jrbren, I have never visited the canadian rockies, so will have to take a look there. Logan seems like a very interesting mountain, but VERY intense, not to mention takes a major expedition to get there haha. It sounds like you may have climbed there before, if so, whats your favorite peak?

Cheeseburglar, I really want to head down to Chimborazo and Cotapaxi, but as you said I was under the impression that it is not the proper climbing season. I will have to send out some calls/emails to the guides down there to see what they say about climbing in July. Thanks for the info, I never knew about this window of opportunity down there.

gb, any ideas in Bolivia? I might consider doing part of the inca trail in Peru, as one of my friends guides down there.. Don't know much about Bolivia however.

Also, if anyone is looking into a similar trip this summer and wants to possibly partner up for the climb guided or not, depending on where I go, let me know!
Cheers,
Luke
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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby drex27 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:39 pm

I climbed Elbrus last year with some friends also on the site. I have plenty of useful info that would aid your trip and also help to keep your costs down, especially if you have the desire to visit Moscow before/after (which I highly recommend). PM me.

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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby MountainHiker » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:07 pm

It was mid August for my trips to Peru 98 & Bolivia 00. The weather co-operated each time.

In Peru Chachani is the less photogenic but higher (just under 20,000') neighbour to el Misti.

In Bolivia Parinacota is on the border with Chile and is close to 21000'.
Near Parinacota is higher Sajama. Sajama requires more of a pack in to do than Parinacota.
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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby Scott P » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:50 pm

Personally I would say Peru or Bolivia. Airfare alone to do Kili is going to cost $1500 unless you mean you have $1500 plus airfare. If you can afford it it will be nice.

I'm pretty sure that's the middle of winter for Peru, somebody can check me on that.


They call it summer down there because it's the dry season. June-August is the best time to climb in most of Peru. :D

Benners, I was looking at Elbrus on SP, and seems like a pretty awesome climb! Anyone have first hand experience on it?


Elbrus has the following disadvantages and advantages:

Good:

Great views of the surrounding mountains from from the slopes. Probably some of the best views in the world.

It's a big massive volcano and you can see thing like huge crevasses and glaciers without getting really close and being in danger from them.

It is very accessible and pretty easy to get to and you don't have to take camping gear.

Bad:

Very trashed around the huts. It's probably the dirtiest mountain I've ever seen (and I've climbed over 1300 of them).

June through August is extremely crowded. Try taking the north route if you can.

Red tape is annoying, though easier in recent years.

If I went to the Caucasus again (and they are among the most spectacular mountains in the world), I would probably choose a different peak.

The Indian HImalaya (minus Sikkim) is prime then, but like Kili airfare is going to eat your budget. There is more red tape than say the Andes as well.

From talking with the guides down there, the summer (July mostly, I think) season usually has more clear skies than winter in Ecuador.


Depends on the peaks. Peaks like Antisana and Cayambe are typically very wet in June-August and these are the wettest months on average. On the other hand, it's the driest time of year for peaks like Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, though August tends to be windy. Ecuador is still a good choice that time of year.

Cheeseburglar, I really want to head down to Chimborazo and Cotapaxi, but as you said I was under the impression that it is not the proper climbing season.


Actually it's one of the best times to climb those two. June, July, December and January are typically best (and August if you don't mind the wind).

Anything in Bolivia would be great (June-August is prime season), but I've only been to the desert regions/peaks since I was there during the wet season. As you know summitpost has a bunch of great information on many peaks down there.

If you do go to Africa, the Rwenzori would be awesome and much less crowded (and less expensive) than Kili. Sounds a lot more spectacular too, though when we were in the region, the Rwenzori was closed (it is open now). I really did enjoy Mount Elgon though.

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/151794/mount-elgon.html

Nice hotsprings and waterfalls and since the mountain isn't climbed much you have a god chance of seeing wildlife. We say plenty of Colobus and Blue monkeys.
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Re: International - Where to climb?

Postby Steve Bonowski » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:16 pm

My recommendation is S. America for good prices, especially Bolivia as June/July is the dry season there. Can be cool/cold, however, at elevation. I had hoped to get there in June, but will have to cancel my CMC trip due to not enough signups (sour economy et al).

Red tape is lousy still for Elbrus. You need a letter of invitation to enter the country, as of my last visit there in summer, 2007, plus visa plus paying fees & stamping passports in the Valley itself and miscellaneous "bak-sheesh." As a positive, there is now much better lodging in Terskol.

Scott P. wrote: "dirtiest mountain......" Have to agree with that. But then if the weather is clear, the view from the Diesel Hut's outhouse can't be beat. If no one is waiting, you can hold the curtain open a bit while squatting and look right at the twin summits.

Ruwenzoris are in my view screen perhaps for 2011. I have an outfitter in Nairobi that I've used for Mt. Kenya that does the Ruwenzoris. I'd check the State Department comments for Kenya before going to Mount Elgon. There has been intermittent inter-tribal disputes ongoing there on the Kenya side of the mountain for a couple years, including some beheadings.

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