5 beginner climbs to get you into mountaineering

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Whether you’re an experienced trekker, winter walker or beginner mountaineer, these adventures are great as a refresher course or for anyone wishing to build on existing skills in some of the world’s most spectacular mountainous settings.

Hone a range of modern alpine climbing techniques, as well as develop skills in mountain navigation, weather training and crevasse rescue training, before putting your new skills into practice to attempt ascents.

Learning from experts on the field, these five introductory expeditions and courses will help prepare you for challenging yet achievable climbs.

1. Pachermo Peak, Nepal

Take your next Himalayan adventure to new heights and join us on a foray into the world of mountaineering on an introductory course that combines learning about safe climbing practices with the opportunity to summit Pachermo (6,273m).

Designed and led by experienced mountaineer Soren Kruse Ledet, learn basic alpine skills and climbing techniques such as the placement of snow, ice and rock anchors, ascending/descending fixed lines, rock climbing, lead climbing, belaying, abseiling and knot tying. The in-depth training sessions will solidify our skills with rewards of spectacular views of the Rolwaling and the Khumbu valleys.

Spectacular views from Pachermo Peak. Photo: Tim Macartney-Snape.

The program is not technically difficult with straightforward climbs on 35 to 40-degree snow slopes and is a great way to prepare for other expeditions in the Himalaya, South America or the Alps.

There’s also the option to extend the trip to 31 days and climb Kyajo Ri (6,189m). Take the first step to realising your mountaineering dreams on this, the perfect introduction to Himalayan mountaineering.

2. Gran Paradiso, Italy

What better way to get into alpine climbing than in the stunning French Alps? Perfect for novices, our 7-day Alpine Introduction Course and Gran Paradiso Climb provides a great foundation for gaining solid mountaineering skills on snow, ice and rock.

Based in the enchanting Mont Blanc range of snow-capped peaks you’ll traverse the Trient glacier plateau, cross the col Blanc (3,405m) and undertake steep climbs (low to moderate angle snow slopes) during your week-long course.
Learn to climb with mountaineering experts, including skills in crevasse rescue and navigation, before attempting Italy’s highest peak, Gran Paradiso (4,061m).

You’ll also have some time to take in the surrounds and charms of Chamonix, the world capital of mountaineering. And for those eager to take on an extra expedition, you can extend your trip for three days to summit Mont Blanc (4,807m), the highest peak in the Alps. It’ll be an impressive start to growing your mountaineering CV!

3. Twin Peaks of Ladakh, India

Combine ascents on Stok Kangri (6,153m) and the non-technical western summit of Kangyaze (6,200m), with an immersive journey that transports you into the deep-seated Buddhist heritage of the region.

The exhilarating expedition will take you across remote Ladakh ranges where you can savour commanding views of valleys, mountainous flanks and grassy ridges. In between climbs under the expert guidance of our local leader, you’ll cross high passes and follow trails linking tiny settlements and exquisite Buddhist monasteries which sit beneath a splendid backdrop of the Trans Himalaya.

Views of Ladakh’s beautiful mountain peaks from Markha Valley in the Indian Himalaya. Photo: Adam Mussolum.

You’ll spend 16 days trekking and climbing with extra time set aside for an in-depth exploration of Leh and the Indus Valley to take in the areas fascinating history, architecture and traditions. Visit Alchi Monastery, the Khardung La – a pass on the world’s highest road, Victory Fort, Shey Palace and the iconic Thikse Monastery which is perched on the summit of a sugarloaf mountain overlooking the Indus Valley.

This mountaineering adventure is an ideal introduction to Himalayan climbing while delving into the rich culture which makes this part of the Himalaya so special.

4. Everest Base Camp & Island Peak, Nepal

Challenge yourself on a high-altitude expedition that takes the step from trekking into the realm of mountaineering. Trekking beneath Himalayan giants, you’ll be captivated by the incredible scenery our well-planned treks afford. But this expedition is more than just a hike in the Everest region, you’ll also travel through Sherpa villages and learn about their vibrant culture.

This itinerary allows plenty of days for safe acclimatisation to maximise your chances of summit success, which will also give you ample time to appreciate your surrounds.

You’ll reach Everest Base Camp (5,380m) before venturing to the next level on Island Peak (6,189m), a classic Himalayan trekking peak. Your ascent will start from the south ridge for commanding views of the Everest region with Makalu and Lhotse massifs coming into view as you climb higher.

At times there’s a bit of rock scrambling with ropes fixed up a short but steep ice face which leads on to the summit ridge. The ridge itself is a classic alpine ridge and quite exposed – we’ll fix ropes here also and traverse up to the summit. Your expert guides and climbing Sherpas will smooth the way and teach you the ins and outs of rope use as the climb progresses.

While technical mountaineering experience isn’t essential, prior trekking experience at altitude is necessary for the best chance of success. It’s a superb introduction to Himalayan mountaineering.

5. Mera Peak, Nepal

Another great climb to launch into the world of Himalayan mountaineering is on our fully supported expedition to Mera Peak (6,476m), the highest trekking peak in Nepal.

One of the key factors that have contributed to our success record is that this carefully devised itinerary allows optimum time for building fitness and acclimatisation. Embark on an excellent approach trek though the traditional Sherpa villages of the Solu Khumbu and the blue pine and rhododendron forest trails of the Hinku Valley. Once acclimatised, a day is set aside for further preparations for the climb to practice using a harness, crampons and ice axe, as well as travelling roped up. All members will be thoroughly briefed and skilled beforehand before ascending the objective, the central summit of Mera Peak.

Trekking through a white winter wonderland towards Mera Peak in Nepal. Photo: Nathan Drane.

While climbing at this altitude is physically challenging, the ascent is not technically demanding and unequalled views of five 8,000m peaks (Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Everest) and a multitude of other mountains – including Baruntse (7,129m), Chamlang (7,319m) and Nau Lekh (6,360m) – will more than satisfy your aspirations on this fine Himalayan climb.

For those looking to kick start their mountaineering career, these expeditions are suitable for very fit, strong walkers that are comfortable trekking at a consistent speed over long periods with short breaks. Pre-trip fitness preparation is vital if you wish to get the most out of an expedition. If you are in doubt about your level of fitness and would like some preparation suggestions, contact our adventure experts who are more than happy to help.

Which peak are you keen to climb? Let us know in the comments below.

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