Since I first started climbing, I must have spent hours typing “when is the best time to climb…” into search engines and then crawling through websites to find the key piece of information I needed. Only when I have a date in mind can I start to think about the practicalities of actually trying to climb a mountain (i.e. booking time off work, flights, budget, gear etc).

To solve this problem once and for all, Atlas & Boots has put together a mountaineering calendar of the world’s greatest mountains and the optimal time of year at which to climb them. Drawing on Adventure Consultants’ expedition calendar, we list the world’s major mountains and ranges month by month.

The list is not entirely inclusive as it would take too long to list every mountain on the planet. Likewise, to avoid repetition we list select mountains in a range, considering the world’s 100 highest mountains lie within the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. We have also excluded winter ascents from the list because, well, if you’re that guy, you probably don’t need a calendar.

Finally, the mountaineering calendar is an evolving project so please make any suggestions in the comments below and we’ll continue to add mountains and ranges over time.

A 2017 print version of the below calendar is available to buy on Lulu.com.

JANUARY


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Aconcagua, Chile / Argentina Seven summits.
Highest non-technical mountain in the world.
1 Mount Kenya (south-face), Kenya Seven second summits.
Best time to climb south face.
1 Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Cayambe, Ecuador Farthest point from Earth’s core.
Dry period with low winds.
1 Puncak Mandala, Indonesia Seven second summits.
January is dry season in Papua Province.
1 Mount Tyree, Antarctica Seven second summits.
6-31 Vinson Massif, Antarctica Seven summits.
16-30 Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia Seven summits (Messner list).
Can be climbed year-round but January is dry season in Papua Province.

The year-round Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States (i.e. excluding Hawaii and Alaska) as well as the highest peak in the Sierra Nevada. It looks intimidating on first view but the popular Mount Whitney Trail starts at an elevation of 2,550m (8,360ft) meaning the summit can be reached in just a day (albeit a challenging one). Most hikers prefer to ascend between late May and October while mountaineers prefer the months of January and February as they provide exceptional training ground for those looking to gain experience in winter conditions.

FEBRUARY


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Antarctic Peninsula voyages, Antarctica Possible ship-based expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula.
1 Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Seven summits.
A popular month to climb due to moderate conditions.
1 Antisana, Ecuador Ecuador’s 4th highest and most challenging volcano.
Best time to climb.
14 Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, Cameroon West Africa’s highest mountain.
26 North Pole skiing expedition, Arctic Departs late February (56 days).
Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and one of the seven summits. It is also a year-round trekking mountain. It is most popular in February but July too is an excellent time to visit as the climb can be combined with safari and wildlife spotting.
Antisana offers something different to Ecuador’s three higher and more popular volcanos. It requires some technical skills with a challenging bergschrund near the summit. Although it’s a year-round mountain, February is driest and least windy.

MARCH


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
6-20 Ojos del Salado expedition, Chile / Argentina Seven second summits.
25 First Everest expeditions begin, Nepal Seven summits.
Eight-thousanders.
Highest mountain in the world.
27 Everest base camp treks begin, Nepal Trek to the base of the highest mountain in the world.
“Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion.”
– Robert Macfarlane

APRIL


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Mount Cook & Southern Alps, New Zealand New Zealand’s highest mountain.
Good time to climb in the Southern Alps.
1 Canadian Rockies, Canada Best month for winter mountaineering.
1 Everest expeditions begin, Nepal Seven summits.
Eight-thousanders.
Highest mountain in the world.
1 Everest / Lhotse combined expeditions begin, Nepal Seven summits, eight-thousanders.
1st & 4th highest mountains in the world.
1 First Manaslu expeditions, Nepal Eight-thousanders.
8th highest mountain in the world.
Pre-monsoon expedition.
1 First Makalu expeditions, Nepal / China Eight-thousanders.
5th highest mountain in the world.
Pre-monsoon expedition.
1 Kanchenjunga expeditions begin, Nepal / India Eight-thousanders.
3rd highest mountain in the world.
2 Attempts on Annapurna I usually begin, Nepal Eight-thousanders.
10th highest mountain in the world.
Arguably most dangerous eight-thousander.
8 Lhotse expeditions begin, Nepal Eight-thousanders.
4th highest mountain in the world.
12 Ama Dablam expeditions begin, Nepal Exposed technical Alpinism at altitude.
13 Shishapangma expeditions begin, China Eight-thousanders.
14th highest mountain in the world.
14 Greenland crossing, Greenland Expeditions begin.
15 Alaska Range, USA Climbing season begins.
16 Dhaulagiri expeditions begin, Nepal Eight-thousanders.
7th highest mountain in the world.
23 First Mera Peak expedition, Nepal Nepal’s highest trekking peak.
23 First Baruntse expedition, Nepal 7,000m+ non-technical climbing.
26 First Island Peak expedition, Nepal Ideal first Himalayan climb.

The Everest massif includes Lhotse (centre), the impressive Nuptse ridge (right) and Mount Everest itself (left). Lhotse and Everest can be climbed together as part of a “combo climb”. The routes follow the Khumbu Icefall up to camp four where they part. Despite how it looks in the photo above, the Nuptse ridge is the lowest peak at 7,861m (25,791ft) while the others are both eight-thousanders and the highest and fourth-highest mountains in the world.

MAY


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Central-European Alps, Europe European Alpine season begins.
1 Mount Toubkal & Atlas Mountains, Morocco Climbing season begins.
1 Sierra Nevada, White Mountains & Cascade Range, USA California fourteeners.
California climbing season begins.
Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in contiguous USA.
1 Colorado ranges, USA Colorado fourteeners.
Colorado climbing season begins.
1 Mount Rainier & Cascade Range, USA Climbing season begins.
1-31 Inca Trail, Peru Best month for hiking Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu.
2-31 Denali expeditions begin, USA Seven summits.
Colder in early May.
13-25 Everest summit bids, Nepal Seven summits.
Eight-thousanders.
Highest mountain in the world.
14 Mount Logan expeditions begin, Canada Seven second summits.
15 Nanga Parbat attempts usually begin, Pakistan Eight-thousanders.
9th highest mountain in the world.
Never climbed in winter.
16-25 Lhotse summit bids, Nepal Eight-thousanders.
4th highest mountain in the world.
21 Bolivian Alpine season begins, Bolivia 6,000m peaks of the Andes.
30 Mount Gunnbjorn, Greenland Highest mountain in Greenland.

JUNE


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Scandinavian Mountains, Norway / Sweden / Finland Scandinavian mountaineering season begins.
1-15 Mount Gunnbjorn, Greenland Highest mountain in Greenland.
1-30 Denali expeditions, USA Seven summits.
Most successful summits in mid-late June.
1-30 Bolivia Alpine season, Bolivia 6,000m peaks of the Andes.
10 Mount Kenya (north-face), Kenya Best time to climb north face.
Seven second summits.
11 Gasherbrum I, II & Broad Peak expeditions begin, Pakistan / China Eight-thousanders.
11th, 12th & 13th highest mountains in the world.
Climbing season in the Karakoram begins.
12 K2 expeditions begin, Pakistan / China Seven second summits.
Eight-thousanders.
2nd highest mountain in the world.
Never climbed in winter.
15 Three-thousanders in Japan, Japan Climbing season begins in Japan.

The Gasherbrum group of mountains is located in the Karakoram mountain range of the Himalayas on the Pakistan-China border. The group includes three of the 14 eight-thousanders, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak, as well as the unclimbed Gasherbrum VI. Nearby is the imposing K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. The majority of expeditions on these mountains commence in June with summits taking place in late July / early August.

JULY


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Mont Blanc and Alpine four-thousanders, France / Switzerland / Italy Best time to climb in the European Alps.
Alpine four-thousanders.
1 Canadian Rockies, Canada Climbing (dry) season begins.
1 Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Seven summits.
Weather is cooler and dry – good time for climbing and wildlife spotting in Tanzania.
1 Eiger, Switzerland Great north faces of the Alps.
1 Matterhorn, Italy / Switzerland Alpine four-thousanders.
Great north faces of the Alps.
1 Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Cayambe, Ecuador Farthest point from the Earth’s core.
Driest month although possibility of strong winds.
1 Bolivia Alpine season, Bolivia 6,000m peaks of the Andes.
9 Mount Khuiten and Tavan Bogd range, Mongolia Remote mountaineering.
11 Elbrus expeditions begin, Russia Seven summits.
11 Dykh-Tau expeditions begin, Russia Seven second summits.
16-31 Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia Seven summits (Messner list).
Can be climbed year-round but July-August is the peak season in Indonesia.
23 Alpamayo, Artesonraju & Peruvian Andes, Peru Best time to climb is in late July / early August.
“It’s a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.”
– Ed Viesturs

AUGUST


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Mont Blanc and Alpine four-thousanders, France / Switzerland / Italy Best time to climb in the European Alps.
Alpine four-thousanders.
1 Eiger, Switzerland Great north faces of the Alps.
1 Matterhorn, Italy / Switzerland Alpine four-thousanders.
Great north faces of the Alps.
1 Elbrus expeditions, Russia Seven summits.
1 Dykh-Tau expeditions, Russia Seven second summits.
1 Bolivia Alpine season ends, Bolivia 6,000m peaks of the Andes.
15 Everest autumn summit season, Nepal Seven summits.
Highest mountain in the world.
30 Cho Oyu expedition begins, Nepal / China Eight-thousanders.
6th highest mountain in the world.
The towering and near-symmetrical pyramidal peak of the Matterhorn is one the Europe’s (and perhaps the world’s) most iconic mountains. The summer months of July and August are without doubt the best time to climb.
The formidable North face of the Eiger has made the mountain world famous, often because of tragic summit attempts. Known as one of Alpine ‘big three’ alongside the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, the Eiger is also best approached in July and August.

SEPTEMBER


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Second Manaslu expedition, Nepal Eight-thousanders.
8th highest mountain in the world.
Post-monsoon expedition.
1 Second Makalu expedition, Nepal / China Eight-thousanders.
5th highest mountain in the world.
1 Khan Tengri, Kazakhstan / Kyrgyzstan Best time to climb in the range.
14 Himlung & Saribung, Nepal Late season mountaineering.
15 Pamir Mountains, Afghanistan / China / Kyrgyzstan / Tajikistan / Uzbekistan Best time to climb in the range.
24 Second Mera Peak expedition, Nepal Nepal’s highest trekking peak.
24 Second Baruntse expedition, Nepal 7,000m+ non-technical climbing.
“Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence.”
– Hermann Buhl

OCTOBER


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Tian Shan, China, Kazakhstan / Kyrgyzstan / Uzbekistan Best time to climb in the range.
1 Meru Peak’s Shark’s Fin One of the hardest routes in the world.
First climbed in October 2011.
15 Ama Dablam, Nepal Exposed technical Alpinism at altitude.
21 Cholatse, Nepal Exposed technical Alpinism at altitude.

NOVEMBER


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Patagonia, Argentina / Chile Climbing season begins.
1 Monte Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, Argentina Ascents usually begin in November.
1 Cordillera Paine, Torres del Paine, Chile Ascents usually begin in November.
1 Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl, Mexico Dry season begins in November through to March.
Pico de Orizaba is the highest mountain in Mexico & the third highest in North America.
1 Mount Cook & Southern Alps, New Zealand New Zealand’s highest mountain.
Southern Alps climbing season begins.
1 Antarctic Peninsula voyages, Antarctica Possible ship-based expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula.
10 Three Peaks Nepal, Nepal Three moderate-altitude summits in one expedition.
16 South Pole skiing expedition, Antarctica Polar skiing expedition (67 days).
23 Vinson Massif, Antarctica Seven summits.
24 Aconcagua expeditions begin, Argentina / Chile Seven summits.
Climbing season in surrounding Andes range begins.

In a cold and windswept corner of Argentine Patagonia sits Cerro Torre with its terrifying serrated summits. Since it was first (supposedly) climbed in 1959, the mountain has been dogged by controversy thanks to disputed summit claims, questionable climber ethics and the contentious use of bolts. Patagonia is famous for its tempestuous weather, so even during the summer months of November, December and January, the conditions can be torrid.

DECEMBER


DATE MOUNTAIN NOTES
1 Mount Cook & Southern Alps, New Zealand New Zealand’s highest mountain.
Good time to climb in Southern Alps.
1 Monte Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, Argentina Good time to climb.
1 Cordillera Paine, Torres del Paine, Chile Good time to climb.
1 Antisana climbs begin, Ecuador Ecuador’s 4th highest and most challenging volcano.
Ecuadorian Alpine season begins.
1 Pico de Orizaba, Mexico Best month to climb .
Highest mountain in Mexico & the third highest in North America.
1 Antarctic Peninsula voyages, Antarctica Possible ship-based expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula.
1 Mount Tyree, Antarctica Seven second summits.
1 Aconcagua, Argentina / Chile Seven summits.
4 Vinson Massif, Antarctica Seven summits.
15 Cordillera Central, Colombia Best time to climb in Colombia.
“Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous.”
– Reinhold Messner

 

A print version of the 2017 mountaineering calendar is available to buy via Lulu.com.


(Photography: Dreamstime)

This article originally appeared on Atlas & Boots — Travel with Abandon and is republished here with permission.

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