Sightseeing for a Weekend? How about Mountaineering?

This week’s Gulliver newsletter talks about planning a weekend trip during your study abroad experience.  If you’re interested in something . . . wilder, maybe this is for you.

I have a strong but inexplicable desire to climb mountains.  Maybe it’s an extension of my affinity for hiking and backpacking or perhaps it’s the desire to conquer something (my mild fear of heights?), I really can’t be sure.  So naturally, while in the shower – a locale usually reserved for relaxation or problem solving, not mountaineering – I think about my list of mountains and fantasize about the sizeable lottery jackpot I’d need to hit to afford a trip to each.  In addition to regular mountains, I find volcanoes fascinating, so in my brain, pairing mountaineering and volcanoes is like pairing swimsuit models and beaches: separately they’re fantastic, but together they’re perfect.  Below, read about some cool volcanoes that aren’t too far out of the way and don’t require serious gear to enjoy.

Doesn't this make you want to climb?

Doesn't this make you want to climb?

Cotopaxi and Chimborazo:

Both of these volcanoes are in Ecuador, though Chimborazo is inactive, and together they are the highest peaks in that country.  I remember staring up at Cotopaxi while in Ecuador and dying to climb it, but time constraints and lack of long sleeves torpedoed that idea pretty quickly.  I vowed I’d be back.  If you’re in Ecuador, definitely tackle these two.  Most weekends you’ll find quite a few people hiking them and they can be climbed year-round.

Mt. Fuji, Japan:

Visible from Tokyo, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest peak and over 200,000 people hike it every year.  There are 4 main routes up the mountain with many stations and huts to rest in along the way.  The most popular time to climb is between July 1st and August 27th as many of the hiking stations are manned during that period.

Pompeii and Vesuvius, Italy:

Of the volcanoes on this list, Vesuvius is definitely the easiest to summit in an afternoon, mainly because there’s an access road that will take you to within 200 meters (vertically) of the summit.  One can’t visit Vesuvius without also seeing Pompeii, which is about 5 miles away.

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania:

Kilimanjaro is the most out of the way compared to the other volcanoes on this list.  It’s much harder to get to, takes much longer to climb, and requires more gear.  You will probably need at least a few days to climb it (due to topographical prominence) so make sure to budget in some extra time.

Volcano Sledding, Nicaragua:

I just wanted to throw this interesting article in just in case you are in Central America and enjoy interesting volcano-related activities.  Have fun!

1 Response to “Sightseeing for a Weekend? How about Mountaineering?”

  1. 1 usb kabel October 23, 2009 at 12:25 am

    This will be a good article to know about some volcanoes around. Thanks for every detail about it.

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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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