Best Beginners Summits

There’s a first time for everything. And if you’re ready for your first summit attempt, the choices couldn’t be broader. From far-flung exotic peaks to something a little closer to home, there’s no shortage of ideal mountains which offer plenty of excitement without overwhelming the newbie. Forget struggling with maps or compasses, an experienced mountain leader will take of the directions so all you need to do is the walking. There are comprehensive packing lists in the trip notes so you'll not get caught short, and you can prepare yourself by downloading our fitness guide to get to grips with any training you may want to do. Capture that whirlwind mixture of trepidation and excitement – and know there’s nothing easier than being in expert hands, leaving you free to concentrate on your trek.  

Adam’s Peak

Height: 2,243m Activity Level: Moderate Summit day: 4 hours ascent

Sunrise on Adam's Peak Sunrise on Adam's Peak

 

One of the most sacred summits on the planet, Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka is perfect for a first-time mountain sunrise. Spiritually speaking you can’t go any higher: named after Adam, the first man, and a holy place of pilgrimage, expect to share this summit with many mountain and religious devotees. Although the most famous peak in Sri Lanka, it’s only the fifth highest at just over 2,000m and not too strenuous, though expect a pleasing tingle in your legs towards the top. You ascend at night, a magical experience as you follow paths lined with candles and tea lights, a swaying string of head torches bobbing slowly upwards. Your reward is a spectacular sunrise across the clouds – and tradition dictates you ring the bell to sound out your success.

Take me there: Walking the Highlands of Sri Lanka

Maglic Mountain

Height: 2,386m Activity Level: Moderate/Challenging Summit day: 4 hours ascent, 9 hours full day walking

Hikers on Maglic Hikers on Maglic

 

Off the beaten track, less famous but equally enticing peaks abound. Eastern Europe is an ideal starting point – these may draw less attention than the headline acts, but have no less beauty or intrigue. Maglic Mountain is a magnificent beast. Soft, mossy greenery rises through deciduous forests up to hulking limestone rocks, brilliantly bright in the sun. Your route is lined with gorgeous, shimmering lakes – including the famous heart-shaped Trnovacko Lake, a lovely spot to cool your feet. Summit, and you’ll be straddling the border between two countries: Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Take me there: Walking in Bosnia & Herzegovina

 

Mount Toubkal

Height: 4,167m Activity Level: Challenging Summit day: 6 hours

Views from Mt Toubkal Views from Mt Toubkal

 

Jebel Toubkal is popular for first time peak baggers, and rightly so. From the heat and energy of Marrakech’s famous souks, to the hot and dry valleys dotted with dusky pink villages and splashes of green, up past tiny stalls selling sweet orange juice pressed in front of your eyes, to the summit itself, crowned with the distinctive triangular sign at the top: this is a rewarding and satisfying trek. Attempted in summer, it’s a non-technical walk with glorious views over the scree slopes and peaks of the Atlas Mountains. In winter, it’s a challenge with even more bite, as crampons and ice axes are needed up to the snow-shrouded summit.

Take me there: Mount Toubkal Climb, Mount Toubkal Long Weekend

Kilimanjaro

Height: 5,895m Activity Level: Challenging/Tough Summit day: 11 – 15 hours full day

Trekkers on Kilimanjaro Trekkers on Kilimanjaro

 

Kilimanjaro: for some, the ultimate trekking achievement – for others, it’s just the beginning. It's often someone's first serious trek, and although undeniably challenging it's not technical and accessible to fit, determined summiteers. What makes the standalone summit of ‘Kili’ special (you can only call it Kili once you’ve summited) is the people, both your fellow trekkers – usually a mix of experienced walkers and bucket-list adventurers – and the Tanzanian guides, assistant guides and porters who look after you on trek. From advice on your first time at altitude to setting the “pole pole” pace you’ll need to reach that famous sign, they have your backs – every step of the way.

Take me there: Kilimanjaro Climb Rongai Route, Kilimanjaro Climb Lemosho Route

Mt Kenya

Height: 4,985m Activity Level: Challenging/Tough Summit day: 3 – 4 hours ascent, 6 hours full day

Sunrise on Mount Kenya Sunrise on Mount Kenya

 

Kilimanjaro isn’t the only summit. The underrated, much quieter neighbour Mount Kenya is considered by many die-hard trekkers as the more beautiful mountain: more greenery, rich with bizarre-looking endemic flora and varied wildlife, mostly monkeys and birds. At the summit, the triple peaks make for a more unusual view – Kilimanjaro may have the bragging rights, but Kenya is the arthouse film to Kili’s blockbuster. If you want to beat the crowds, Kenya is the answer.

Take me there: Mt Kenya Ascent  

What next?

For all our summit holidays visit our website. For more about the different activity levels, see our Activity Level Breakdown here. Want to get fit for your first summit? Then why not look up our walking and trekking fitness guide for advice and exercise plan.

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