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'To Do' Lists for Peak Baggers

Munros Tables SMC Alpine 4000m Peaks - Classic Routes Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners Seven Summits Denali's West Buttress - The Classic / Normal route of Mount Mckinley's  Kilimanjaro Trekking Guide Aconcagua: A Climbing Guide On Top of the World - climbing the 14 highest mountains

In an ever-increasingly-accessible world there are just too many mountains to climb in one lifetime and some selection criteria is necessary.

In Scotland the established target for hillwalkers is the completion of Munro's Tables - the somewhat arbitrary list of nearly 300 summits greater than 3000 feet judged to be separate mountains. For a follow on, or more readily as an intrinsic part of a round, the 260 odd subsidiary 3000 feet tops can also be done. For enthusiasts there are additionally the 221 smaller ( 2500 - 3000 feet ) and more rigorously defined Corbetts.

Stac Pollaidh

Stac Pollaidh

The lack of stature is not necessarily a reason to disdain the latter as in many examples throughout the world lesser summits are more interesting and attractive than their bigger brethren - Stac Pollaidh in Wester Ross or Ben Arthur ( the Cobbler ) provide a more entertaining day's outing than many of the well-rounded Munros such as Ben Chonzie which are only climbed to be ticked off the list. In the Alps the 3000 metre Eiger is well known but the 4000 metre Schreckhorn ( Terror Peak ) is not. In the Nepal Himalaya the 7000 metre Mt.Macchapucchre ( the Fish-Tail Mountain ) and the 6000 metre Ama Dablam are far more shapely and picturesque than the 8000 metre massifs of Annapurna and Kangchenjunga .

Macchapucchre in Nepal Himalaya


( The Fishtail Mountain )

Moving furth of Scotland Munroists can proceed to tackle the 3000 feet summits of England ( 4 off in the Lake District including Scafell Pike ), Wales ( 8 off including Snowdon ) and Ireland ( 10 off including the Macgillycuddy Reeks ).

On the continent the equivalent of Munro bagging is the climbing of the 80 "four-thousanders" ( 4000 metre peaks ). While many, including Mont Blanc, the highest, offer no technical difficulties some, such as the 4000 metre Schreckhorn, provide a much harder challenge than Scotland's Inaccessible Pinnacle - the most difficult of the Munros. As with the Scottish Munros the 4000m Alps have all been climbed in a single continuous round ( by Simon Jenkins and Martin Moran who also completed the first winter traverse of the Scottish Munros )

The Matterhorn in the European Alps


A comparable situation also obtains in the USA where the 54 " Fourteeners "( 14,000 feet peaks ) of the Colorado Rockies comprise the target list. On a springtime visit I climbed the snowbound Mt. Elbert - the highest in the list and second highest peak in the contiguous states to California's Mt. Whitney. Although of comparable altitude to the European Alps the Colorado Rockies are not alpine in nature and like the Scottish Munros are snow-free in summer. For some, eg Pike's Peak, there is no mountaineering challenge as it is possible to drive to the summit.

Mt. Whitney in Sierra Nevada of California

Mt. Whitney

Climbers with deep pockets or affluent friends might consider the Seven Summits comprising the highest peaks of the seven continents - Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus in Europe, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in Africa, Everest in the Himalaya in Asia, Mt.Kosciusko in the Southern Alps in Australia, the Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Denali ( Mt. McKinley ) in Alaska in North America and Mt. Aconcagua in the Argentine Andes in South America.

Mt. Everest in the Nepal Himalaya

Mt. Everest

Mt.Kosciusko does not involve any serious climbing and has been described as a walk in a park. An alternative / rival summit to Mt.Kosciusko as the highest peak in Australasia / Oceania is the higher and more difficult Carstensz Pyramid ( Puncak Jaya ) on Irian Jaya in Indonesia. Commercial agencies organize climbing parties for Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua and even Everest. The 5000 metre Vinson Massif presents the greatest logistical problems with no commercial flights available to the antarctic continent. All seven summits have been climbed in a single calendar year.

The ultimate collectables for mountaineers are the world's 14 "eight-thousanders" ( 8000 metre peaks ) - Shisha Panga in China ( close to the Langtang Himal in Nepal where it is known as Gosainthan ), Everest on the border of China and Nepal, Kangchenjunga on the border of Nepal and Sikim, Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri in Nepal, and the remaining five ( K2, the second highest, Broad Peak, Nanga ParbatGasherbum I and Gasherbum II ) at the western end of the Himalayan chain in The Pakistan Karakorum

Mt. Dhaulagiri in the Nepal Himalaya

Mt. Dhaulagiri

All 14 have been climbed solo by Reinhold Messner - one of the first to climb Everest without the use of supplementary oxygen. Yorkshireman Alan Hinkes is well on his way to becoming the first Briton to complete the list despite having suffered a spate of ill-fortune. On the walk-in to Makalu Base Camp he had a bad fall and had to be helicoptered out, on K2 he suffered a coughing fit while eating a chapati and fractured a rib, and on his latest expedition in Nepal has recently been reported to have suffered an attack from the stomach-bug giardia - even supermen are human.

For those interested, places on climbing expeditions to 8000 metre peaks are on offer from agencies such as Camp 5 ( established by Al Burgess, one of the well-known climbing twins ). Cho Oyu is quoted at 5,000 and Everest for 20,000. Places are limited so early application is advisable.

Climbing connoiseurs will of course have their own selection criteria for selecting those peaks on which they decide to spend their time and money. For those seeking first ascents many 6000metre peaks remain unclimbed.

( The Commentator, The (Glasgow) HERALD Saturday 26th June 1999 )






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The Munros: Scottish Mountaineering Club The Munros The Munros in WinterThe Corbetts - SMC The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland Alpine 4000m Peaks - Classic RoutesClimbing all the 4000m Alps Alps 4000

Lonely Planet Nepal Rough Guide Nepal Trekking and Climbing in Nepal Lonely Planet - Trekking in NepalThe Trekking Peaks of Nepal Nepal Mountaineering Guide Everest: A Trekkers Guide Trekking in the Everest Region

Everest: The West Ridge Return to Everest - DVD Return to Everest - Video Conquest of Everest Everest: Summit of AchievementEverest: 50th Anniversary Volume Everest: To the Top Coronation Everest

Seven Summits - Quest to reach the highest peaks Seven Summits On Top of the World - climbing the 14 highest mountains Cho Oyu Let's Go Eastern Europe Lonely Planet: Eastern Europe

Let's Go USA Let's Go Alaska Denali's West Buttress - The Classic / Normal route of Mount Mckinley's Denal Climbing GuideWinter Wilderness Companion Snowshoeing Snowshoe HandbookLonely Planet: Hiking in the USA Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners

Lonely Planet: South America on a ShoestringAconcagua: A Climbing GuideExplore the Inca Trail Climbing & Hiking in Ecuador Ecuador Andes Trekking Guide Lonely Planet Peru Rough Guide Peru Lonely Planet Argentina, Uraguay & Paraguay Rough Guide Argentina

Footprint - Ecuador & Galapagos Lonely Planet - EcuadorLonely Planet - PeruFootprint - Peru Machu Picchu Guide Book Climbing the World's 14 Highest Mountains Climb: Stories of Survival Sherpas & Himalayan Mountaineering

Lonely Planet Pakistan Insight Guide Pakistan Five Miles High - Houston K2: The Savage Mountain In the Zone - Peter PotterfieldK2: Challenging the Sky - Diemberger K2HIGH: Stories of Survival from Everest and K2A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush - Eric Newby

Explore Mount Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro - Travel Map Kilimanjaro Trekking Guide Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa Lonely Planet: Africa Lonely Planet: Africa on a ShoestringLonely Planet - Tanzania

KilimanjaroClimbing Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro Trekking MapKilimanjaro & Mount Kenya - Climbing & Trekking GuideLonely Planet - Kenya Beyond the Limits - Randolph Fiennes Survival of the Fittest

On Top of the World - climbing the 14 highest mountains All 14 Eight Thousanders - Reinhold Messner My Vertical World - Climbing the 8000m Peaks - Jerzy Kukuczka Himalayan Quest - the 8000m Giants World Mountaineering Cho Oyu Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage - Herman Buhl Shishmapangma Expedition

All 14 Eight-Thousanders: Reinhold Messner My Vertical World - Climbing the 8000m Peaks - Jerzy Kukuczka Thin Air - Encounters in the Himalayas - Doug Scott High Exposure - David BreashearsMountain Leadership Handbook of Climbing - Hamish MacInnesExtreme Alpinism: Climbing Light, Fast & High Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical WorldMountaineering: Freedom of the Hills History of Mountain ClimbingWorld's most significant Climbs Mountain Travellers HandbookMountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills The Death Zone 90 degrees South: With Scott to the AntarcticaScott of the Antarctic

World Mountaineering Himalayan Quest - the 8000m Giants Trekking in the Indian Himalaya Trekking and Climbing in the Indian Himalaya Nepal Trail Map - Nelles

Epic Stories of Survival on the World's Highest Peaks Climb: Stories of Survival Wilderness Mountaineering Wilderness First AidMountain Skills Training Handbook

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