Climbing Mt Kosciuszko: The Australian Summit

Climbing Mt Kosciuszko: The Australian Summit

Climbing Mt Kosciuszko could be one of the most exiting experiences if you haven’t had the chance to climb your first mountain. If you live in Australia (or are visiting the land down under) and want to step up into mountain climbing, this could be the summit where you can try and test all you mountain climbing gear before attempting the tougher mountains. This is Climbing the Highest Australian Mountain.

Mt Kosciuszko Facts

The summit height stands at 2,228 meters (7309 feet) above sea level, and is the highest mountain in the Australian continent. The mountain is found within the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, and is home to a wide variety of alpine plants and animals. Australian climate is generally arid, which makes Mount Kosciuszko the coldest part of the continent.

  • Weather

The mountain weather is highly influenced by its proximity to the ocean. Summer is between December and February and temperatures in the mountain area range from 14 to 20 Celsius (57 to 68 Fahrenheit). Night temperatures are lower with a 7 Celsius (44 Fahrenheit).

Mt Kosciuszko weather

  • Summer and Winter Season

Summer time is the most popular time to explore Mount Kosciuszko and the scenery is extremely breathtaking with wildflowers blooming all around the area. Climbers still need to have warm clothing over this season to avoid the surrounding blizzards, which are common due to strong winds coming from the south hemisphere.

In winter time, it is still a fascinating place to go and generally occurs from June to October. Usual temperatures range from 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) during the day and -4 Celsius (24.8 Fahrenheit) at night. Climbers should expect extreme windy conditions in winter so it is advisable to gear water proof clothing (check here to find the right mountain climbing gear for winter and summer seasons).

You can opt to ski or snowshoe on the mountain in winter but walking will still get you to the summit as long as you remember to bring a sturdy pair of shoes.


Climbing Mt Kosciuszko

Climbing Mt Kosciuszko is a fairly easy expedition. There are two main locations from where climbers can begin their walk, including the express chairlift and the Charlotte Pass.

  • Express Chairlift Route

The Kosciuszko National Park-Thredbo requires you to take the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift that opens at 9am. This walk is 13km return and would take on average time 4 to 5 hours.

Mount Kosciuszko summit walk winter

  • Charlotte Pass (Route)

The summit can also be reached by taking the Charlotte pass (route). This route is 18.6 km (11.55 miles) return, taking an average time of 6 to 8 hours. Mountain bikers often use this route up to the bike stands from where you will walk a further 1.4km (0.86 miles) to the peak. The majority of climbers get to the mountain area one day before their exploration.

  • Camping

Camping is one of the interesting experiences for most. You can prepare to camp overnight so that you can be up early the next morning to begin your walk to the summit.

You will need to bring walking map/guide along with you to ensure that you are on the right track at all times. If you happen to have come to the mountain solo, worry not because you are sure to find other people with whom you can walk to the summit.

Mount Kosciuszko

Climbing Mt Kosciuszko is easy because all you need is drinking water, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, snacks and appropriate clothing that includes waterproof clothing in winter (check here to find the right mountain climbing gear for winter and summer seasons).

People of average fitness are able to climb this mountain with ease. A permit is not required when climbing the mountain but you have to pay a park entrance pass at the gate. About 100,000 people walk to the summit every year because of its friendly nature, and it certainly is a climb that every nature lover should explore.

Climbing Mt Kosciuszko is a great experience if you are a beginner in mountain climbing. If adequate information is what was holding you from climbing to the summit, just believe that’s out of the way now.

Climbing Mont Blanc: A Guide for Beginners

Climbing Mont Blanc: A Guide for Beginners

There is no doubt that climbing Mont Blanc is one of the biggest dreams for most. For experienced and beginners mountaineers, there is definitely a thrill around climbing particular mountains on their bucket list. To start of, here are some important facts about the beautiful Mont Blanc. This is Climbing the Highest Mountain in Western Europe.

Mount Facts

The registered elevation for the mountain is 15777 feet (4800 meters), which makes it the highest mountain in Western Europe. This beautiful mountain is specifically located in the French Alps between France and Italy. The mountain is thus, owned by both countries, however, an interesting fact is that Mont Blanc altitude may vary from time to time depending on the amount of snow covering the summit.

  • Weather:

The weather for Mont Blanc is known to be extremely unpredictable as you climb higher. Mountaineers must be ready to experience strong winds, snow, frost, fog and extreme cold along the climb (if you think you are not ready yet for climbing this summit, check here what training program suits for you).

Most climbers prefer to attempt the summit between June and September during the summer season when is warmer.

Mt Blanc du tacul
Mt Blanc du tacul
  • Average Temperature:

Average temperatures (over summer) are between 20 and 30 Celsius (68 to 86 Fahrenheit respectively), dropping up to 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) at night. It gets cooler as you climb and once you reach the peak, the peak temperature could be expect to be between -15 Celsius (in the absence of wind) and -30 Celsius (with winds) (that is -5 to -22 Fahrenheit, respectively).


Climbing Seasons and Other Facts

  • Summer Season:

Mountaineers can climb Mont Blanc in any season time of the year. During the summer period, it is more crowded as close to 200 people attempting to reach the summit every day. An estimated number of up to 30,000 people climb the mountain every year, because the French and Italian governments have put no restrictions to access the mountain.

Climbing Mont Blanc in summer is considered as the safer time because the snow cover is not as heavy along the ascent, however, the high summer temperatures put climbers at risk because as the snow melts, it may cause avalanches which have been known to cause fatalities on the mountain.

Beginners in mountaineering are advised to always take maximum caution to ensure safety. It is thus advised that the best time of the year to climb towards the summit would be summer. Besides, refuges are open during the summer when the highest number of climbers visits the mountain and this is the time you can get a place for your overnight stays.


Plan your ascent during summer season if you are a beginners, cos it is safer.


  • Winter Season:

Experienced climbers often attempt to reach the summit in winter, which occurs from November to March. However, climbing Mont Blanc in winter may not be for beginners. The temperatures are extremely low, getting to -50 Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit) at night. The mountain also receives precipitation in the winter season in form of snow and rainfall, which means getting wet as you climb along.

Climbing Mont Blanc
Climbing Mont Blanc

Another reason to rethink climbing in winter is that the mountain routes are covered in snow, making them slippery and putting climbers at risk of falling. Skiing is the most popular activity on the mountain in winter and hence mountain climbers are few at this time.

  • Guided Walks:

You must prepare for your excursion months in advance because services at the mountain are sold out within a day of the beginning of the booking period in March. As a beginner, you also need to consider a guided walk for your safety. Guides are available on the mountain and they can lead you on the safe passes of the mountain. A guide will also show you how to avoid walking into a crevasse or stepping onto an ice sheet.

Mont Blanc Ascent-Aiguille du Midi
Mont Blanc Ascent-Aiguille du Midi

You may chose to go climbing Mont Blanc solo but you can be assured of meeting a lot of other climbers, especially in summer. You will easily find company and you can choose to join with other solo climbers, or groups, and walk with the same pace.

  • Climbing Mont Blanc:

Another important question around the summit is, how long does it take to climb Mont Blanc? Climbers often take 3 to 7 days to get to the summit. Beginners can expect to take up to 7 days to allow for a steady pace and enough time to acclimatize and rest along the way.

Beginners should never attempt to climb the mountain too fast. Sudden change in altitude leads to altitude sickness that causes climbers to experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. Such an experience will make reaching the summit impossible. Similarly, slowing down too much leads to a feeling of fatigue and climbers should thus maintain a steady pace.


Routes to the Summit

There are several routes up the peak and climbers often choose each route depending on the level of difficulty they can handle.

  • Gouter Route:

The Gouter Route is the most widely used by climbers especially in summer time. Along this route, there is a refuge on the Dome du Gouter, where climbers can rest for the night and proceed on the climb the following morning.


The Gouter Route is certainly highly recommended for beginners because it is the easiest.


However, this route is usually crowded in the summer and the refuge may not be so comfortable as a result.

Mont Blanc Gouter Hut
Mont Blanc Gouter Hut
  • Cosmique Route

The Cosmique Route (or Three Monts Route) is more challenging and is the second most popular. Beginners can still use this route to reach the summit, resting at the Cosmiques hut or a camp at the glacier. One advantage of using this route is that it will be a little less crowded than the Gouter Route, especially in summer. You can enjoy more comfort especially in the hut for your overnight stay.

  • Grands Mulets Route

Some experienced climbers often use the Grands Mulets Route, which is much longer than the other routes. This was the original route used in the 1700s but has become less popular now, and it joins the Gouter Route towards the summit. Climbers on this route use the Grand Mulets hut for a night’s rest.

To summarize, this is what you have to get into account:

Mont Blanc RoutesDifficultySightseeing / PopularityClimber's RateCamp Available
Goutier RouteLow to MediumGreat / HighSolid 4.5 rateDome du Gouter (crowded over summer season)
Cosmique Route (Three Monts Route)ModerateGreat / MediumSolid 4.0 rateCosmiques hut or a camp at the glacier.
Grands Mulets RouteModerate (longer)Good / LowSolid 3.5 RateGrand Mulets hut. Merges Gouter Route.

Remember to book the huts well in advance and acquire the right climbing gear. First time climbers can always find information on what the proper climbing gear is and purchase it on time as they prepare for their expedition.

Climbing Mont Blanc is a fairly easy expedition that even beginners can conquer with the right preparation (if you think you are not ready yet for climbing this summit, check here what training program suits for you). Finally, importantly to ensure that you are physically strong by starting to keep fit anywhere from a year to six months before your expedition. It is advised that climbers acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.

Mount Carstensz Pyramid: The Indonesian Summit

Mount Carstensz Pyramid: The Indonesian Summit

Mount Carstensz Pyramid goes on record as one of the hardest summits to conquer in the world. This mountain is known by several names, being the second most popular Puncak Jaya. This is Conquering The Indonesian Summit.

Carstensz Mt Facts

Located in West Papua in Indonesia, the Carstensz Pyramid is 4,884 meters (16023 feet) above sea level and is the highest peak in Indonesia. The mountain records a success climbing rate of 100% and, despite all the difficulties involved, this encourage mountaineers to attempt the Puncak Jaya summit at least once in their life.

  • Weather:

The Mountain weather is generally stable around the year, although there is bad weather sometimes, mountaineers can know what to expect almost every time.

  • Average Temperatures:

At the base of the mountain, the temperature is between 12 Celsius and 37 Celsius (53 to 98 F). By contrast, night temperatures get to as low as -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) at the summit.

Rain and sometimes snow, can be present for several hours during the day, usually from 2 p.m. Climbers should thus, set out for the climb early in the morning so that they can manage to find shelter when the rain starts.


Climbing Mount Carstensz Pyramid

What makes the Punck Jaya climb difficult is that it is located in an extremely remote area and mountaineers have to trek for 5 days through the jungle to get to the mountain.

Some people opt to take a helicopter ride to Zebra Wall from where they begin the climb. This option will obviously cost you more besides posing the danger of altitude sickness for lack of adequate acclimatization (training is essential: click here to see what mountain climbing training is best for you).

  • Mountain Permit and Difficulties:

Aside from the actual difficulty that the mountain presents, there is a serious of government restrictions. On the other hand, the political instability often affects the usability of the mountain.

Mountaineers require several permits from the police, the army and government ministries to access the island and additional permits to climb the mountain.

Mount Carstensz Pyramid
Mount Carstensz Pyramid

Adding to the complicated regulations imposed by the Government to climb the summit, climbers who opt to use a helicopter also need an extra permit for it.

To reduce all the hassle presented, most of the climbers take the easiest way and acquire these permits through services of registered trip organizers. Otherwise, it may take a very long time to acquire the right documentation by yourself.

  • Climbing Season and Expenses:

Fortunate for mountaineers, there is no specific climbing seasons. climbers thinking to attempt this beautiful mountain can give it a go all year round. It costs between $10,000 and $15,000 USD to climb Mount Carstensz Pyramid.

Climbers are advised to plan their trip to the mountain because dates and itineraries often change, especially due to political issues in the region.


Mountain Climbing Routes

There are several climbing routes available for adventures, including the Normal Route (Harrer’s Route), the East Ridge Route and last but not least, the American Direct Route.

  • Carstensz Normal Route or Harrer’s Route:

The Normal Route is being the most widely used. It takes up to 15 hours to ascend and descend on the Harrer’s route, which off course requires an early morning start. It is important to note that this route also includes a bit of rock climbing, so be prepared for this.

  • Carstensz East Ridge Route:

This route is rated as moderately difficult and steeper than the normal route. Climbers on this route have to contend with a lot of lose rocks, a long ascent and narrow sections, making them very complex.

  • Carstensz American Direct Route:

The third route is the American Direct Route, which as its name suggests, provides a direct climb to the summit. However, it is the most difficult route especially as you near the summit, so be aware of this fact before attempting this route. Just remember, it is never late to think twice and reassess your chances, even considering the fact of climbing down and taking a less difficult one, if required.

Carstensz Pyramid Summit
Carstensz Pyramid Summit

Between trekking to the base of the mountain and climbing the mountain itself, mountaineers should plan for at least 15 days. Climbers can set camp at the Meren valley to rest and create a plan on how to climb to the summit. There is also a base camp at 4300 meters (14107 feet) to help climbers acclimatize as they head to the peak.

Mount Carstensz Pyramid may be hard to access but the expedition is worth all the trouble you might endure to conquer one of the 7 Summits of the world.


 

Climbing Mt Aconcagua: The South American Summit

Climbing Mt Aconcagua: The South American Summit

Climbing Mt Aconcagua is a great challenge if you are looking to cover tougher mountains. The world famous Aconcagua mountain is located in Western Argentina close to the country’s border with Chile. Its elevation is reported to be 22,837 feet (6960 meters above see level), making it the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. This is Conquering the Highest Mountain in South America.

Summit Facts

  • Success Rate

Every season attracts up to 3500 climbers trying to conquer the summit. However, only 40 to 50% of the climbers manage to successfully reach the mountain’s summit. That’s why it is important that you are ready for the challenge (check here to find what to do to prepare yourself for mountain climbing) including finding the right climbing gear.

Climbing Mount Aconcagua
Climbing Mount Aconcagua

The high altitude adds to the difficulty of the climb, which is why the summit success rate is half of the climbers who attempt to reach to the top.

  • Weather

During the entire climbing period (see below), the Aconcagua weather is dry because it’s summer season in the Austral hemisphere. The dry weather in the climbing season is accompanied by windy conditions, which consequently lead to lower temperatures especially as you climb higher.

The temperature is usually at -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) from 16404 feet (5000 meters above see level) and above and -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) at the summit. Such low temperatures, climbers have to anticipate frostbite, making the experience more challenging.

Climbers have always reported that Aconcagua’s weather to be unpredictable, subjecting climbers to wind chill and sudden drop in temperatures without warning. Besides, lightning storms are also a common occurrence on the mountain.


Climbing Season

The climbing season opens on 15th November and extends to 31st March every year. The climbing season is further divided into three phases, starting with the low season from the 15th to the 30th November, mid season from the 1st to the 14th December and end season from the 1st to the 20th February.

The most popular and best time for climbing Mt Aconcagua is the high season, from the 15th December to the 31st January. It is important to note that in the low season, climbers are unlikely to find all the services and supplies they may need because the camps are not fully equipped by then. As the climbing season progresses, the services and supplies become more readily available.


Climbing Mt Aconcagua

On average, climbing Mt Aconcagua takes 20 days. The main reason why Aconcagua attracts a large number of climbers is that, it is considered a moderately difficult mountain. Many climbers have often used it as a practice summit for more challenging peaks such as Mt. Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro (check here important facts about Mt Kilimanjaro). However, while the reviews suggesting that Aconcagua is an easy climb, should not make you underestimate the difficulty of this mountain.

  • Base Camps

There are two main base camps (Plaza de Mulas and Plaza Argentina) for the Aconcagua climb, which are approachable from the two available main climbing routes.

Mount Aconcagua base camps
Mount Aconcagua base camps

Plaza de Mulas base camp, is accessible to climbers who use the Normal Route and it is at 14337 feet (4369 meters above see level). You will pretty much find all the necessary services at the camp during the climbing season.

The Plaza Argentina base camp is accessible to climbers who use the Polish Traverse Route. This camp is at 13779 feet (4199 meters above see level).

  • Secondary Aconcagua Camps

Besides the two main Aconcagua camps, there are numerous approach camps to help climbers acclimatize and rest. Camp Confluencia is the approach camp found along the Normal Route, while both Camp Pampa de Lenas and Casa de Piedra are along the Polish Glacier Traverse Route.

Except for camp Confluencia, you will not find supplies at the other approach camps. There are enough resting and acclimatization points along the climb making the adventure more pleasant.


Climbing Routes

There are three (3) main climbing routes towards the Aconcagua summit. Each one of them, have different difficulties and challenges that could make feel both experience and beginner climber uncomfortable. At the end, you are the one that have to make the last call based on your training, experience and endurance level.

  • Normal Route

The Normal Route is the most popular among climbers and it is on the Northwest Ridge. It is described as a moderate difficulty route, although, the altitude is highly challenging to climbers.

Mt Aconcagua North Wall
Mt Aconcagua North Wall
  • Polish Traverse Route

The second most popular is the Polish Traverse Route, which is also considered a “trekking route” being slightly more difficult than the normal route.

  • Polish Glacier and Direct Routes

The third main route is the Polish Glacier Route that is more challenging, going straight through the east side of the mountain all the way to the summit.

Mount Aconcagua South Wall
Mount Aconcagua South Wall

There is a forth route that only experienced climbers should use it, the Polish Direct Route, which is tough and technical enough to make you think twice.

To summarize, here is what you will have at each route:

Aconcagua Climbing RouteDifficultySightseeing / PopularityClimber's RateCamp Available
Normal RouteModerateGreat / HighSolid 4.5 ratePlaza de Mulas and Confluencia
Polish Traverse RouteModerate to HighGreat / Medium HighSolid 4.0 ratePlaza Argentina
Polish Glacier RouteHighVery good / MediumSolid 4.0 RatePlaza Argentina, Pampa de Lenas and Casa de Piedra
Polish Direct RouteVery HighGood / Medium to lowSolid 4.0 RatePlaza Argentina, Pampa de Lenas and Casa de Piedra

In general, all available routes require the ability to use glacier climbing techniques and the ability to withstand the high altitude.


Climbing Cost and Permits

If you are up to the challenge and want to explore Mount Aconcagua, then you need to prepare, not only physically and mentally, also for your climbing expenses.

It is always advisable to pre-book the available services, especially at base camps because during the peak-climbing season, services tend to cost more.

You also need a climbing permit, whose cost depends on the route used and the season of climbing. The permit also states the number of days paid for by climbers. In high season (for 20 days climbing experience), it costs up to $940 USD using the Polish Glacier Route and, $800 USD using the Normal Route.

These are prices that may change over time so always confirm before jumping into the adventure.

Besides the permit costs, you will need to get the right climbing gear (check here to find out what climbing gear is best for you), as well as pay for food, porter services and other needs along the climb.


Aconcagua climbing with no guide

In most cases, climbers go to the mountain in pairs or groups. Climbing Aconcagua solo can be a daunting task because you not only need company to avoid being lonely, but also to look out for each other.

Even if you went solo during the climbing season, you would find other climbers whom you can join along the climb. It is an opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships.

Sightseening aconcagua summit - penitentes
Sightseening aconcagua summit – penitentes

Although, Mount Aconcagua is rated as a mountain of moderate difficulty, you still need adequate preparation to stand a chance to conquer it (check here to find what to do to prepare yourself for mountain climbing). It is important to prepare your mind and body for the strenuous climbing and unpredictable weather, especially for a 20 day climbing experience.

Climbing Mt Aconcagua is a great challenge if you are new to mountaineering or looking to cover tougher mountains because it will give you the practice and experience you need.

REMEMBER: FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS COS THEY KNOW THE WAY


 

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro could be challenging. There are several factors that you need to consider before attempting to climb this mountain. If you are planning on taking the challenge, here are seven (7) facts you should know beforehand and to embrace your mind.

1. First things first, facts about Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is perched high on the pantheon of the world’s tallest mountains (5,895 m above sea level). It’s been feted as Africa’s highest point, the world’s freestanding mountain, one of the Seven Summits. It is the highest (in Africa) and most scenic points, an amateur can ascend without any prior technical training. While climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is tedious and daunting, the views from the summit are awe-inspiring and beatific. That moment you stand at the peak will etch itself in your memory, forever.

2. What weather to expect when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

The temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro oscillate between 80 0F and -20 0F. Hikers usually describe the journey from the foot to the peak as something akin to traveling from the equator to the Antarctica, just in under a few days. That is because the routes to
Uhuru Peak, the highest point of the mountain, cross various ecological zones; in fact, five of them.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Each of Mount Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones is approx 1000 m in altitude, and each zone correspondingly decreases in temperature, rainfall, and wildlife with every increase in altitude. Moshi, which is the gateway town to the mountain, is situated 900 m above sea level, and occupies the warmest ecological zone (80 0F).

3. Trail Conditions

The trails on Mount Kilimanjaro are usually well maintained and tarmacked so much so that you don’t require any technical skills to make the ascent. Despite of this, there are a few spots where you’d need to crawl a little, such as the optional lava tower climb, the western breach approach, and the Barranco wall. Bad weather conditions do complicate matters. Climbers should prepare physically and psychologically to trek through any kind of weather, be it fog, snow, rain, and any type of ground conditions, (e.g, muddy, loose, dusty, snowy, wet, or icy).

Trails on Mount Kilimanjaro
Trails on Mount Kilimanjaro

Along the way you’ll meet wooden structures constructed around deep holes dug onto the ground. These serve as toilets where you can relieve yourself in a squatting or standing position. Keep in mind that, they are not the most clean toilets.

4. Accommodation

Where will you put up during the climb? Tours will provide you with four-season tents that you can use during the trek. The Mountain Hardwear Trango tents are especially suited for this kind of expeditions. They are often a standard issue for base-camp shelters on mountain expeditions worldwide.

kilimanjaro 6

5. Guidance to embrace the Summit

According to experts, only about 65% of climbers who dare to summit the mountain, actually reach the peak. The chances of reaching the highest peak increase if you opt for the right tour operator. It’s been made compulsory to climb the mountain with a guide or chaperone. Remember, when choosing your guide, prioritize safety over cost.

6. Very important – choosing routes

When climbing mount Kilimanjaro, selecting the route is THE MOST important decision you have to make. Overall, there are seven main routes to get to Kilimanjaro’s peak. Each of them varies from the others in terms of traffic, scenic beauty, and difficulty. Other factors you have to consider are time, money, preparation and, personal preference.

Wooden-signage-Kilimanjaro

Based on the experiences from other climbers, we are giving an overall of the available routes in the following order (from most difficult to the “easiest”):

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro - Routes
Kilimanjaro Routes

Mostly, the ascent starts in Moshi, which is a town found at the base of the mountain to the south, at approx. 3,000 feet above sea level. It is a short drive from the Kilimanjaro International Airport.

kilimanjaro 1

Take your time to choose the most suitable route for you. It is worth noting that routes with the highest success rate are often the ones that take climbers longer to ascend gradually, hence, permitting climbers to acclimatize to changes in altitude.

7. Getting ready for the action

Lastly, you need to prepare for high altitudes by rigorous physical training (click here to see mountain climbing training program) at least two months before the expedition. High altitude training will help you to per-acclimatize at home.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is well-nigh one of the most demanding expeditions, but the experience, thrill, and views from the summit make the trouble worthwhile and livable.