Asia’s epic mountains: Do you dare?
ASIA is home to some of the world’s highest peaks, snowiest valleys, and breathtaking altitudes, but some of the lesser known mountains don’t always flag up on mountaineers climbing radar – until now.
As the trend of transformative travel – the act of taking a trip to self-reflect, experience native culture and ultimately change your world perspective and life – evolves and gains participants, mountains all over Asia are being established on amateur and professional mountaineering maps.
Transformative travel, combined with millennial travelers wanting to curate their holiday around unique experiences, adventure and connecting with local culture, is creating a valuable income for Asia’s tourism industry and local communities.
Whether you are wanting to climb, ramble or admire the bewildering peaks from the enchanting base camps below, Asia won’t disappoint you.
Here are five adrenaline-stimulating mountains in Asia that should be on every mountaineers must-see list.
Nanga Parbat, Pakistan
Pakistan doesn’t frequently make it onto climber’s bucket lists due to national security concerns. Yet, five of the world’s thirteen 8,000m-high mountains can be found in Pakistan. Its charm and history, along with stunning mountains, make Pakistan a magnificent place to start your out-of-the-mainstream climbing adventure.
British Backpacker Society, an online project for adventure travelers even described Pakistan as “one of the friendliest countries on Earth,” and stresses it’s untampered and unexplored tourism potential.
Found in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, Nanga Parbat (“naked mountain”) is the ninth highest mountain in the world standing at 26,660 feet (8,125.97m) above sea level and acts as the western anchor of the Himalayas.
Its peak is accessible from the North, West and South face, with the Diamir Face (West) being the most popular to climb.
Mount Hua, China
Mount Hua, located near the city of Huayin in Shaanxi province, provides climbers and history enthusiasts with an intriguing 7,070-feet spectacle.
Despite it being lower than Pakistan’s offerings, it is by no means easier to climb and has the reputation of being one of the world’s most dangerous hiking trails. The main attraction of the climbing trail surprisingly isn’t found at the top of the mountain, but rather more intriguing to visitors is the thin, wooden planks that have been haphazardly bolted together to create one of the most stomach-churning selfie destinations. Don’t look down!
The mountain is now dotted with hotels and food vendors, but despite this, many locals choose to climb throughout the night on the fate-tempting creaking planks to reach the East peak by dawn.
Mount Makiling, Philippines
If you fancy something a little less cold and dangerous, but still just as adventurous and awe-inspiring, head to the Philippines.
The mountain is still a sweat-inducing 6,263 feet (1,909m) above sea level, but instead of being blanketed by snow, it is adorned with abundant flora and fauna; reptiles, birds and over 2,000 species of plants. An intrigue for mountaineers and scientists alike.
Makiling is perfect for first-time climbers, campers, budding ornithologists and those looking for something different from the hustle and bustle offered up in market streets across the Philippines. The ascent usually takes around five hours, with much to do and see on the way, including mud springs, botanical gardens, and The National Arts Centre.
Mount Khuiten, Mongolia
Mongolia is often associated with vast plains of wild horses charging through the Gobi desert with herders chasing after them, but Mongolia is home to another of the world’s most untouched landscapes in the Khuiten region.
Mount Khuiten is one of the highest peaks in the Altai Mountains and borders Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. At 14,350 feet (4,373.88m), this is certainly not for amateurs looking for a peaceful period of reflection and enlightenment, as this mountain is likely to challenge you in every way.
The climb to basecamp is 17km where you can get ready for the real ascent through endless green pastures, barren rock faces, and thick snows.
Acclimatization usually takes around nine days, so make sure you allow for a 15-day round trip.
Mount Everest, Tibet
You can’t write a list of Asia’s most incredible and daring mountains and not include the world’s tallest and most famous – Mount Everest.
Standing at a staggering 29,028 feet (8,847.73m) above sea level, Everest has claimed many lives, but also gratified many climbers and is certainly found on many bucket-lists. However, the danger doesn’t come directly from its technical climb or a risk of avalanche, but instead from the notorious and deathly altitude sickness and extreme weather conditions.
If you are thinking about scaling Everest, then make sure you do adequate training and research beforehand as you’ll want to make sure you get all the way down so you can tick it off your bucket list.