Any list of the top mountains to conquer in Asia must, of course, include Mount Everest. Equally true, is that most will never attempt this excruciating climb, due to the extreme danger, cold and altitude of the peak. At 8848 metres high, the mountain is the exclusive terrain of only the most experienced climbers. Luckily, Asia is home to many other mountains which are infinitely more manageable for experienced mountaineers. Note: These suggestions are for experienced climbers only!
Which are some of the most challenging mountains to climb in Asia?
The summit of Mount Huashan, at 2155 metres is nowhere near the intensity of Mount Everest. This makes it an ideal mountain for experienced climbers looking for a challenge. The mountain is in the Shanxi province of China and is said to have the world's most perilous hiking trail - The Plank Walk. It's definitely not a mountain for beginner climbers. The journey to the top is challenging but the path of planks bolted onto the mountainside is said to be its most troublesome zone. The mountain allows views of breathtaking scenery all along the trail, to make it all, ultimately, very worthwhile.
At a height of 3146 metres, Mount Apo in the Philippines is a tad more challenging. Located close to Davao city, Mount Apo is the region's highest peak. An active volcano adds to the challenge, keeping climbers, all over the world, very interested. Trekkers can expect a climb of diverse landscapes from endless rock faces to lush green forests. You will traverse cool, mossy swamps and marvel at volcanic ridges. The soothing Mainit hot springs can be found at the first camp.
Fancy climbing an active volcano? Mount Rinjani last erupted in August 2016, causing evacuations of locals in Indonesia. This has not deterred climbers, however, and the peak sees numbers of climbers each year. Three day treks over the mountain to the crater rim are the usual choice of mountaineers, then down to the turquoise crater lake. The more enterprising climbers can continue to the summit of the volcano for a panoramic view over Segara Anak - a crescent shaped lake.
In 2015 a 6.0 magnitude earth quake closed the area for three months. However things have improved a lot since then and Mount Kinabalu is one of South East Asia's most popular peaks. Located in Malaysia, it is the tallest mountain in the region and even though the pretty Mesilau route is not accessible, the shorter Timpohon route is open for treks. The climb is usually divided into two days, with day one reaching the base camp and then starting to climb at 2am to reach the peak at sunrise!
At 4375 metres, Mount Khuiten is the tallest peak in Mongolia. Located in a particularly remote area it can only be reached by taking two flights, a 400 km drive from the airport and hiking 17 km to the base camp - and you haven't climbed one step! When you do begin, it will prove to be a true challenge on a mix of terrain. There are lush green lands which give way to snow and rugged rock faces. It usually takes the average climber about nine days to acclimate and reach the peak, with the entire trip taking more than two weeks.
Located in iconic Nepal and towering at 8000 metres, the Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world. Despite being slightly lower, it is actually considered more dangerous than the gruelling Mount Everest! The fatality rate is 40% on the peak making it suitable only for the most experienced mountaineers. The trail runs on the mountain adds to the challenge and excitement of this peak. The Annapurna Marathon, Annapurna 100, and Annapurna Ultra Mountain run provide beautiful views and landscapes as a bonus.
The ultimate in mountain peaks, Everest stands tall as the highest mountain in the world and is located between Nepal and China. For those who long to stand at the highest point on earth, Everest is worth considering only if you are in the best of health, fitness and able to cope with a complicated climb at very high altitudes. For those who succeed, it known as the "peak closest to heaven".