BEST MOUNTAIN CLIMBS FOR BEGINNERS
The Alps have long been a hub for outdoor tourism, attracting more than 120 million visitors each year. While skiing in the winter remains the most popular draw, mountaineering experiences have become increasingly sought after too.
From June to September, tens of thousands of climbers flock to the Alps in order to try their hand at mountaineering and experience some of the most scenic views in Europe.
Many are hoping to find the best mountain climbs for beginners. Summer is a good time for first-time mountaineers to try out the sport because the non-permanent snow-pack has melted and the weather is generally calm, with plenty of clear and sunny days.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ALPS FOR BEGINNERS?
Anyone in the company of a professional guide and with a good level of physical fitness can summit the easiest 4,000ers. Looking for an easy mountain to climb in Europe?
GRAN PARADISO (4,061 M / 13,323 FT)
Located in between the Aosta and Piedmont Valleys, Gran Paradiso is a classic alpine ascent. It is the tallest mountain solely located within Italy and boasts incredible views of the surrounding national park.
The climb begins with a hiking approach from Pont, which passes through boulder-strewn fields en route to one of two mountain huts.
The following day requires an early start as Gran Paradiso has one of the longest summit day ascents in the Alps. However, due to its lack of technical climbing requirements, the going is pretty quick.
The climb requires traversing the mountain’s glacier with crampons and an ice axe, before making a 60-meter scramble to the summit. All the necessary skills can be taught to climbers on the first day of the ascent.
BREITHORN (4,164 M / 13,661 FT)
Sitting on the border between Switzerland and Italy, Breithorn is one of the easiest 4,000-meter climbs in Switzerland. By some estimates, the mountain is the most frequently climbed one in the whole country.
Part of the reason for this is the ease of access. The Breithorn climb begins by taking a lift up to either the Plateau Rosa (Cervinia) or Breithorn Plateau (Zermatt). Both plateaus are quite high up the mountain, requiring only a few hours of climbing afterward to reach the top.
This climbing mostly consists of using crampons and an ice axe to traverse the glacier, with only a few tricky parts along some cornices toward the end.
From the top, expect spectacular views out over the neighboring Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massif, with views into the Rhone Valley too.
AIGUILLE DU TOUR (3,540 M / 11,610 FT)
Another easy mountain climb in the Alps is situated at the northern end of the Mont Blanc massif. Aiguille du Tour offers novice mountaineers a great opportunity to get some high-quality alpine experience.
There are two main routes to the summit, one from the French side and one from the Swiss side. Both routes are fairly straightforward, beginning with an ascent up toward the mountain’s glacier on a chairlift.
Once off the chairlift, only basic cramponing and ice axe techniques are needed to cross the glacier before a brief scramble is employed to get to the top of the rocky spire.
From the top are some of the best views available of Mont Blanc as well as out into the rest of the Swiss and French Alps.
ALLALINHORN (4,027 M / 13,212 FT)
Located in Switzerland, in close proximity to the Breithorn, the Allalinhorn is also widely considered to be among the easiest 4,000-meter climbs in the Swiss Alps.
The ascent of the peak begins by taking a lift up to the Mittelallalin, on the mountain’s northwestern ridge. From here, climbers only have 500 vertical meters to ascend before reaching the summit.
This ascent takes place over the mountain’s glacier, which can be easily walked over with the proper equipment. However, various crevasses are located on the glacier, so caution is required of climbers as they ascend.
Once at the top, there are great views over the nearby Breithorn as well as various other peaks in the Swiss Alps.
BISHORN (4,153 M / 13,625 FT)
Situated just north of Zermatt, in south-central Switzerland, the Bishorn is another easy mountain climb in the Alps. Bishorn is one of the northernmost 4,000-meter peaks in the Alps.
Its ease of access makes it an immensely popular climb for first-time mountaineers and begins with a day of hiking from the trail-head to the mountain hut. This is not too challenging but does require a 1,500-meter ascent up stone steps, which have been carved into the mountain.
The second day begins by climbing across the Turtmanngletscher before ascending a snowy saddle to the ridgeline. Turning right at the ridgeline, climbers then cross a bergschrund and walk on to the summit.
Bishorn boasts one of the most beautiful panoramic vistas from the top, with incredible views out over the Weisshorn and into the Rhone valley.
Ready for your first mountaineering experience? Make sure to check out Explore-Share, an online booking platform for guided adventures worldwide. There, you can find different options to climb any of these five alpine peaks with a local certified guide.