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13 Amazing Climbing Spots [Copy link] 中文

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(By Lorraine Boissoneault and Camille Mann via Weather)


1. Torres Del Paine - Chile

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View of icy mountains in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile, 10 November 2007. (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

Reaching the highest altitudes on Earth is a dizzying and exhilarating experience, and not just because of the thinner atmosphere. For centuries humans have been pushing themselves to reach the towering heights of our planet, and there are few peaks left uncrossed by human feet. In this slideshow, check out some of the lesser-known mountains and cliffs that you can't get to without climbing.

Patagonia spreads across nearly 500,000 square miles at the southern tip of Chile and Argentina, and located within that windswept landscape in Chile is the Torres del Paine National Park. For adventurers who want an experience in an alien landscape, hiking the 52-mile 10-day loop that encircles Torres del Paine is a perfect trek. Views include everything from blue glaciers and glacial lakes to the 8,000-to-10,000-foot granite pillars that jut into the sky. Pioneers who first came to the region in the 19th century had to survive winters that left them stranded from the rest of the world, and that extreme weather continues to dictate when and what type of outdoor activity can be attempted. Although the park is open year round, the best time to visit is from October to April when average temperatures range from 36 to 68 degrees.

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2. Paro Taktsang - Bhutan

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The Taktsang Monastery stands on a hillside near Paro on August 21, 2011. Built in 1692, the Tiger's Nest was constructed around a cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three months in the 8th century. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Tucked into a cliff 10,000 feet above the ground, Paro Taktsang is a monastery steeped in legend. It's said the monastery was first formed by Guru Rinpoche, the Second Buddha of Bhutan, who flew to a cave in the mountain on the back of a tiger before working to convert the local population to Buddhism. Today the monastery is known as the Tiger's Nest, and unlike Guru Rinpoche, visitors have to rely on their own two feet to make it to the cliffside temple. Although a fire destroyed much of the original structure in 1998, it was rebuilt and the path there today is lined by prayer flags and the occasional chanting monk. Hikers seeking enlightenment or just a beautiful view of the Paro Valley should arrange to make the hike with a guide and check that the monastery is open to visitors.

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3. Mount Kilimanjaro - Tanzania

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Fresh snow covered Mount Kilimanjaro seen at sunrise from Ambuseli game reserve in Kenya, May 04, 2008. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

At 19,366 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and offers routes for climbers of all skill levels. The mountain is also the largest free standing volcanic mass in the world and has five different types of vegetation zones, making it a unique natural feature full of biodiversity. Hikers can explore the surrounding forests, which are filled with leopards, buffalo, elephants and primates, or make the trek all the way to the top of the mountain and experience the arctic-like wonder of the snowy peak. The warmest time of year to make the hike is from December to February, but climbers can also attempt the hike to the top of the mountain during the colder months of July to September. If you're up to the challenge of Africa's highest mountain, make the hike sooner rather than later as the mountain's glaciers have shrunk 82 percent since the first survey of the summit was made in 1912.

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4. Dunes of Huacachina - Peru

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The dunes of Huacachina, located in Peru, are seen in this undated photo. (Flickr/ikerender)

You might not expect to find towering peaks in the middle of the desert, but the sand dunes that surround Huacachina in Peru are some of the tallest in the world. Huacachina is an oasis in the middle of a sandy desert, complete with palm trees, a murky lagoon and bougainvillea flowers. The dunes that surround the small town are hundreds of feet tall, and have attracted thrill seekers from around the world who can either ride buggies over the dunes or slide down them on boards. The more cautious of surfers can take to the slopes on their bellies, and those who want more of challenge can slip down the hill with their feet strapped to a sandboard. The fastest downhill speed that's ever been recorded is around 60 mph. Although intrepid hikers can tackle the walk up the hill on their own, it's recommended to hire a dune buggy driver, since the ride up is half the fun.

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5. Altay Mountains - East-Central Asia

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Belukha mountain, the highest peak in Atai Mountains in Russia. (Wikimedia/Dmottl)

The unique combination of steppe, mountains, forest and meadows make the Altay Mountains a prime destination for nature-lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. The mountains stretch across Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan and China and are home to hundreds of bird species and mammals, including the endangered snow leopard. The highest peak, Mount Belukha in Russia, is 4506 meters (14,783 feet) and hikers can choose from numerous tours to visit this peak and others in the Altay mountains. The lucky climber might even get to see some of the species unique to the region, like the argali sheep, steppe eagle and the dzeren antelope.

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6. Licancabur Volcano - Bolivia/Chile

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The stratovolcano Licancabur, which is located on the border of Chile and Bolivia, is seen. (Wikimedia/Albert Backer)

This active volcano on the border of Chile and Bolivia is beautifully symmetric and best known for containing a crater lake inside of it at a height of 5913 meters (19,400 feet). Despite the height and the extreme environment of the lake, the waters have supported the growth of planktonic fauna. For the daring hiker who isn't worried about the risk of an eruption, the climb to the top of the volcano takes about 12 hours and shouldn't be attempted except by those in optimal physical condition.

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7. Mount Kinabalu - Borneo

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Mount Kinabalu in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. (Wikimedia/Oscark)

At 13,435 feet, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalays and New Guinea, and is the highest point in Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The wide variety of altitudes and climates on and around the mountain make it a home to dozens of species, and the park was identified as a Center of Plant Diversity. For those looking to hike to the top of the mountain, expect to spend about two days climbing, although mountain runners participating in the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon have been known to finish the run up and down the mountain in only three hours.

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