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Kat Dierickx | 04.07.2022

This time of year, chances are, you’ve got a bucket list filled with outdoor objectives you're dreaming about ticking off the list. Perhaps that list includes a week-long backpacking trip deep in the high country? Or maybe you're gearing up for a multi-week thru hike or an iconic summit climb? Whatever might be on your adventure list, spring is the season when bigger objectives increasingly beckon many of us. It's a good time to check in on our preparation and training and ask ourselves, "are we feeling ready for the challenge?" Hopefully we are and this spring/summer we'll be able to push ourselves outside our comfort zones to accomplish new objectives that may have seemed beyond our reach not all that long ago.

In the spirit of pursuing new outdoor ambitions this season, we've compiled a list of 10 aspirational summits that you should consider adding to your list. If you are relatively new to mountaineering or unsure of your ability with regards to the challenge these summits present, please hire a local professional climbing guide. Guided climbs are typically the safest manner in which to explore or climb a new mountain and offer an opportunity to learn learn and hone mountaineering skill sets that you'll be able to take with you on future objectives.Most of these peaks are regularly guided and guides can be found through a quick online search. 

Mount Rainier

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.  

Mount Hood

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.

Mount Shasta

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.

Mount Olympus

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.

Grand Teton

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.

Longs Peak

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.

Mount Whitney

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.

Presidential Traverse

Why should the American West have all the fun? The Presidential Traverse is a 20-mile ridge run, all above tree line, touching 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.

Everest Base Camp

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.


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.

Don’t see your dream summit here? Learn more about creating your own customized Summit for Someone trip.


I love people talking about mountains but I fell like these are like the most popular climbs in the world. I feel that with a little more research you can do climbs just a beautiful that won't constantly have people on them.
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