The United States is a paradise when it comes to climbing. Stretching from Washington State down to California across to Utah and beyond, there is a vast amount of mountains to climb. On some of the routes, you’ll be climbing where legends have gone before you.
Many of the mountains are accessible to the general public which is great as more people get to enjoy these beautiful peaks. However, climbing them should not be taken lightly. The mountains can be unforgiving so it’s important not to underestimate the difficulty of these climbs. You’ll need specialized equipment and preparation for most of them, in some cases you’ll also need to acclimatize beforehand. Embarking on these expeditions with a certified and experienced guide is a great way to make sure you’re staying safe and having fun.
With so much choice, we have to narrow it down a bit. Keep reading to learn about what we think are some incredible United States climbing experiences.
As the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states (the continental US states), climbing Mount Whitney is quite the achievement. This peak sits at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) and you can expect to gain around 5,900 ft. (1,800 m.) of elevation when climbing it. The incredible sights from the summit cannot be beaten and include a bird’s eye view of the Death Valley.
You can either take the Mount Whitney Trail route for hiking or the mountaineering route. Neither is to be underestimated and they both present big challenges. You’ll need a high level of fitness to climb this mountain and previous climbing or hiking experience. It’s also essential that you have the right gear like crampons and ice axes when climbing in the colder seasons and know how to use them.
Situated in the North Cascades of Washington near Seattle, Mount Baker is a glaciated volcano and has a lot of snow coverage. From the 10,781 ft. (3,286 m.) summit, you’ll get to enjoy awesome views of the Cascade Mountain range.
Climbing this mountain requires technical mountaineering skills, but it’s not just for experts. If you are just starting on your mountaineering adventures and want to improve your skills, like ice trekking, for example, this would be a great climb for you. It also has 12 glaciers, so it’s an excellent training ground for glacial traverses that you may do in the future. Many people climb Mount Baker before tackling Mount Rainier or even the way more challenging Denali.
There are several routes to climb Mount Baker, including the Coleman Deming Route, the Heliotrope ridge, and Easton Glacier route. You can read more about climbing Mount Baker here, and choose the best option for you depending on your preferences and needs!
Mount Baker’s taller cousin, Mount Shasta, is the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range at a towering 14,179 ft. (4,322 m.). You can climb Mount Shasta both in the summer and winter, though it is significantly more difficult in the winter. This is not a climb for hikers, it’s pure mountaineering and you’ll need some experience.
There are a few different routes to reach the top of this mountain. Some of these include the Casaval Ridge, which is suitable for more experienced climbers, and the Avalanche Gulch which is the most popular route and suitable for those with less experience. The Clear Creek route is ideal for novice climbers that want to tackle Shasta in the late summer.
A striking symbol of the Pacific Northwest, Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in the Cascades and Washington state. The summit is at 4,392 meters and reaching it is a massive feat.
The most popular route up this mountain is the Disappointment Cleaver Route and involves ice and rock climbing. The Emmons Glacier Route is another popular route but attracts fewer climbers, leading to a more remote feel. Then there is the Liberty Ridge Route which is just for experienced mountaineers.
While the Liberty Ridge Route may be the most challenging, none of the routes is a walk in the park. Expect to traverse glaciers and face exposed sections on all of the routes. Serious preparation and thorough planning are essential.
The distinctive sharp edges of the Forbidden Peak are a sight to behold. Nestled in the Cascades, this mountain has been listed as one of the 50 classic climbs of North America. It’s also one of the most difficult climbs in the Cascades.
The peak itself has three ridges to chose from. The west ridge tends to be the most popular route and is also pretty fun with a large hiking component and some climbing. The north and east ridges are quieter. The east is the more intermediate route and the North ridge is for mountaineers with a lot of experience.
Mt. Shuksan’s rugged appearance alone has been enough to excite mountaineers the world over. It’s been photographed a lot just because of the way it looks. But, if looking at it is fun, climbing it is even better.
The summit lies at 2,783 meters and there are a few different routes to the top, the Sulfide Route is the best for advanced beginners. It’s also the most popular route. The Fisher Chimneys route is more challenging so it might be a better choice if you’re pushing into the intermediate skill level category. This route involves traversing several glaciers.
Mount Superior in the Wasatch Mountain Range in Utah is suitable for both winter and summer mountaineering experiences. It’s no easy journey to the summit at 3,393 meters, but when you’re there you’ll be treated to awesome views of the mountain range.
The climb can be done in one day in both summer and winter. This is a fun and varied climb. There are exposed sections that you’ll need to climb with ropes and scrambling in parts. In the winter you’ll also need crampons and an ice-ax too.
So, now that you’ve learned a bit more about seven of our favorite mountains, it’s time for you to get out there and explore. The mountains are waiting for you and there’s no time like the present.
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