What gets you through a tough training session—or a long week at work? Chances are, you’ve got a bucket list filled with epic adventures to daydream about. You’re not alone: Big City Mountaineers knows that working toward and reaching big goals makes for more well-rounded individuals, which is why they’ve been taking under-resourced kids on backpacking trips since 1989. Their Summit for Someone program makes it possible for climbers and trekkers to reach their own goals, all while raising funds to get kids outside.
Check out these 10 drool-worthy summits, and climb one for a worthy cause.
At 14,411 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier’s altitude is nothing to sniff at, but its prominence is even more impressive. Looming more than 13,000 feet over the topography below, Rainier dominates the landscape—and, on a clear day, you can see it from Seattle, more than 60 miles away. Thanks to significant elevation gain, gaping crevasses, and notorious Cascade Range weather, the most glaciated peak in the Lower 48 is a worthy objective for any aspiring mountaineer.
Want to climb Mount Rainier for a cause? Click here.
This stratovolcano is visible from up to 100 miles away, and the view only gets better up close. Mount Hood is home to 12 named glaciers and snowfields and routes ranging in difficulty from Class 2 snow to 5.9+. Despite its active fumaroles, which still emit sulfurous gases (and add to the peak’s otherworldly presence), Hood last erupted in 1907 and is considered dormant. Thanks to its short approach and relatively low altitude, it’s an excellent climb for aspiring mountaineers looking to gain technical glacier travel experience.
Want to climb Mount Hood for a cause? Click here.
The Mount Shasta Wilderness is chock-full of wildflowers and waterfalls below tree line, but once you reach the glaciers, it’s a whole different story. This behemoth is just shy of 250 feet shorter than Rainier, and it is one of the most voluminous volcanoes in the contiguous United States—not to mention that it rises more than 10,000 feet above its surroundings. Shasta’s Avalanche Gulch Route is an ideal first big summit for new mountaineers, while the Northeast Face offers several Grade III routes.
Want to climb Mount Shasta for a cause? Click here.
Nestled in the center of Olympic National Park, this remote summit is miles from the nearest road—it’s so isolated that many locals have never laid eyes on it. Despite its relatively low altitude (just shy of 8,000 feet above sea level), Olympus supports several serious glaciers, thanks to the area’s significant annual snowpack. As a bonus, the long approach means you’ll spend several days in the gorgeous Olympic Wilderness heading to and from the mountain.
Want to climb Mount Olympus for a cause? Click here.
Few peaks are more iconic or recognizable than the Grand Teton, whose jagged 13,775-foot summit looms above its namesake national park. The Grand, as it’s affectionately known, is among the most classic mountaineering objectives in the United States. With a big approach, notoriously gnarly and fast-moving weather, and, of course, incredible summit views of its neighboring Tetons, the Grand should be at the top of any adventure lover’s bucket list.
Want to climb the Grand Teton for a cause? Click here.
Visible from nearly anywhere along the Colorado Front Range, this fourteener—Centennial State-speak for peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation—is the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s also steeped in history: Longs was first ascended by a surveying party led by Major John Wesley Powell. With routes ranging from Class 3 Keyhole scramble to a variety of technical routes on the Diamond (a serious big wall), Longs Peak has something to offer for alpinists of all stripes.
Want to climb Longs Peak for a cause? Click here.
At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney holds the distinction of being the highest peak in the Lower 48. It’s also the southern sign-off for the John Muir Trail, and its summit plays host to the Smithsonian Institute Shelter, once used as an astrophysical observatory. Naturally, thanks to its status, it’s a popular objective, but it’s still possible to avoid the crowds. With twenty-odd established routes ranging in difficulty from a Class 1 trail to technical climbs of 5.10+, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy Whitney.
Want to climb Mount Whitney for a cause? Click here.
Why should the American West have all the fun? This 20-mile ridge run, all above tree line, traverses the summits of Mounts Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Franklin, and Eisenhower—no wonder it’s among the most sought-after climbing accomplishments in the northeastern United States. The White Mountains are comprised of incredibly rugged terrain, but fear not: Between summits, climbers can rest up, thanks to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s phenomenal hut system.
Want to climb the Presidential Traverse for a cause? Click here.
Mount Everest isn’t just well known among mountaineers; as the tallest peak on the planet, it’s a household name the world over. Its lofty summit, standing 29,029 feet above sea level, is a major objective, but trekking to the tent city at Base Camp in Nepal is a feat unto itself. In addition to getting up close and personal with the world’s most famous mountain, you’ll also get to take in views of Lhotse, Makalu, Ama Dablam, and the sacred Thyangboche Monastery.
Want to trek to Everest Base Camp for a cause? Click here.
Ready to take your hiking and climbing to the next level? Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro is one of the prized Seven Summits, the tallest peaks on each continent. At 19,341 feet, heavily glaciated Kilimanjaro is composed of three volcanic cones, all dormant or extinct. The trek to the highest summit, the Kibo volcano, passes through five distinct temperate zones, from jungle to high alpine. It’s no easy feat, but it’s a spectacular view from the summit of one of the world’s tallest freestanding mountains.
Want to climb Kilimanjaro for a cause? Click here.
Don’t see your dream summit here? Learn more about creating your own customized Summit for Someone trip.