With the title of the highest mountain peak in the world, it is difficult, if not impossible to not be tempted to chart a course on the challenging terrain of Mount Everest. The Everest base camp is the most popular trek travelled, with people pouring in from across the globe to participate. This has contributed to overcrowding and even fatal incidents in the past. Presently, Nepal is set to put a restrictive limit on the number of visitors. But, if you are an adventure nut and want to avoid the commercially crowded Everest, here are 5 other mountain peaks for you to trek, bringing to you all the scenery and none of the noise.
Mount Toubkal, Morocco
Standing grand at 4,167 metres, Mount Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa. Located in Southwestern Morocco in Toubkal National Park, the mountain is a common choice for trekkers and is a relatively easy climb. The trek can be completed in two days. One day to travel from Marrakech to Imli and trek to the Toubkal refuge, followed by a day of trekking to the summit of Jebel Toubkal and back to Imlil. The views you are exposed to during the ascent are plenty and stunning. From forests and greenlands to waterfalls and snow-capped mountains (in the winter), you are bound to see a very diverse range of scenery. Don’t be startled if you catch a glimpse of the Sahara desert.
Treks are suggested to be taken up in the spring in April-May or during the autumn months in September-October. The state of the route can be confirmed from Marrakech tourist offices or at Imlil.
For those who wish to gain some bragging rights, trekking Mount Kilimanjaro might be another valid option. The highest mountain peak in Africa, Kilimanjaro is 4,900 metres from the base and 5,895 metres above sea level. Known as the roof of Africa, the upward trek offers scenic surroundings and a large palette of variety. You will pass through tropical rainforests inhabited by locals; cloud forests that are home to wild animals; seemingly endless rocky landscape and even snow (usually in the winters).
The best time to book a trek would be January to March or June to October. While the mountain is not unknown to streams of tourists that visit every year, there are 6 routes to the top, avoiding chances of overcrowding. While there are several starting points, they all meet at the Uhuru peak. The phenomenal sunrise at the top transitions the pitch dark of the night to unfold the exciting landscape of Africa. Ensure to capture the moment in your memory, if not your phone.
Mount Fuji, Japan
With increasing influence of Asian culture, Japan has seen an increase in tourism in the past few years. For those who wish to view the sights of Japan from a favourable height, Mount Fuji is a trek you must not miss. Located on Honshu, Fuji is the highest volcano in Japan, standing tall at 3,776 metres. The dormant volcano is also known as Fuji-San and is one of the three holy mountains of Japan. The views from the mountain are rewarding to those who value picturesque scenery.
The official trekking period is early July to early September. The period between late July till the end of August, however, can be crowded and thus a weekday in early July is often recommended to those who wish to avoid storms of people. Warning: The descent at this time is slightly more unstable than later in the month. The trek takes two days and the path is divided into 10 stations, providing various trails. The 1st station is the foot, while the 10th station is the summit. Upon reaching the summit, send your loved ones a postcard from the post office there!
While LA and New York are the first on people’s minds as far as a USA trip is concerned, consider taking the path less explored and discover the wilderness of the Alaska. You can even take a trek on Denali mountain. The highest mountain peak in North America at 6,190 metres, the mountain peak is central in the Denali National Park and Preserve. Essentially a large body of granite, the upper half of the mountain is permanently covered in snowscape. The trek puts gorgeous views on displays, including the Alaskan wildlife, the solitude of the Tundra and the vast valleys. This climb is a dream for those who wish to take up a challenge with a dash of peace and quiet.
The trek could take anywhere between 3 to 9 days - sometimes even longer- depending on one’s experience and the trail taken. There are few marked trails but generally experienced hikers prefer the thrill of the off-trail experience. There is no particular season recommended to take up the mountain (although June is sometimes suggested) due to the unpredictable weather.
Kanchenjunga, Indo-Nepal Border
For those who still have their heart set on the Himalayan range, trade in the tallest for a slightly shorter albeit quite challenging trek of Kanchenjunga. The third highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga is a part of the Eastern Himalayas. At an intimidating height of 8,586 metres, it is bordered by three nations- Nepal, Tibet and India. The trek offers breath-taking views of the Himalayan range and also adds to it with its lakes, tribal villages and forests. The topmost parts of the mountain (the massifs) form the third highest peaks in the world.
The trek to the peaks are a tedious 11 to 20 days. The best time to take on the course is March-May or September- December. The climb to the base camp is thrilling in itself. The journey begins at Yuksom in Sikkim, all the way to the top where trekkers can enjoy a less crowded view of several peaks of the Himalayan region.
For those who wish to trek without all the travel across the globe, try the many shorter treks around the country.