"As in any alpine region, the weather is changeable, protection questionable, route-finding bewildering, rockfall frequent and descents tedious. In short, it's everything you could ever ask for."

- from the Canadian Alpine Journal, 1993

Places to climb

North America
South America
Polar regions

Mountains of the world

The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan near the Karakul lake. Credit: Hylgeriak,  Shot on 2015-06-27 Photo taken in Tajikistan.(c) Hylgeriak, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan near the Karakul lake. Credit: Hylgeriak, Shot on 2015-06-27 Photo taken in Tajikistan.(c) Hylgeriak, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Good climbing is where you find it. Great number of good mountain climbing is to be found all over the world. Obvious place to look for mountain climbs are the highest ranges, but don't let the numbers fool you. Some lower ranges sport very big scale climbs because the valleys are also very low. For example, Southern Alps of New Zealand has a host of climbs that are as big in scale than many climbs on much higher mountains.

Climbing in the highest ranges (Himalaya, Karakorum, Pamir, Tien Shan, Kunlun, Hundu Kush, some Chinese ranges and Andes) typically require plenty of planning and time. Quite often there's also some bureocracy involved. Climbing in the lower ranges is often (but not necessarily) less complex in this respect. Also remoteness of range impacts the climbing considerably. Remote areas require generally more planning and longer approaches. Often these areas have few or no fixed huts. In return, they usually are not too crowded. In contrast, easily accessible areas, such as European Alps, make climbing logistically easier, but may sometimes be overcrowded in the high season.

  • Africa When talking about Africa and climbing, most everyone think of Kilimanjaro at first. If anything else rings a bell, then it would most likely be sport climbing and bouldering in South Africa or Mount Kenya. However, there's much more to climbing potential in Africa. For example high peaks of and Ruwenzori, High Atlas and Ethiopia offer mountaineering challenges to those interested in treading the path less traveled while huge rock walls of Morocco, South Africa and Madagaskar offer extreme technical challenges on rock of very alpine proportions.
  • Asia Asia is huge continent with great number of mountain ranges, varying a great deal in regards to location, character, altitude and mountaineering history. The area is very heterogenous in pretty much every possible way as language, culture, accessibility, weather patters etc. vary wildly between the areas. Basically, nothing in "in general" as far as climbing on the Asian ranges is concerned.
  • Europe Europe has many mountain ranges in various parts of the continent. However, when speaking about Europe and mountains in same sentence, most people will immediately think about the Alps a vast mountain system in the Central Europe and the birthplace and mecca of mountain climbing. Perhaps the most spectacular, and certainly the highest, peaks of the continent are not part of Alps though, as mountains of Caucasus exceed the ones in the Alps in height by quite a margin. However, Caucasus is far lesser known, a lot more remote and access is order of magnitude more complex due to political situation.
  • North-America North-America is after Europe the most explored continent as far as climbing goes. The highest peaks are located on the west coast where several ranges run all the way from Alaska through Canada and United States to Mexico. Alaska, Canadian Rockies, Cascades, Colorado Rockies and Teton range are best known alpine destinations. However, the best known climbing destination of North America is Yosemite valley in Sierra Nevada, arguable the best known climbing destination in the world and mecca for big wall climbing. Besides the aforementioned high mountain areas, there are plenty of other areas having high quality ice and rock climbing, such as deserts, NE USA and Baffib Island to name a few.
  • South-America Southern America is dominated by the chain of Andes that stretches from the southern tip of Argentina and Chile to the northern part of Columbia. Best known climbing areas are the mountains around Aconcagua, Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes and Patagonia in the southern end of the range. Also Chimborazo and Cotopaxi in Ecuador attracts significant number of climbers.
  • Oceania
  • Polar Regions


  • Bell, Steve: Seven Summits - Auf den höchsten Gipfeln der sieben Kontinente. Isbn: 3905111578. As Verlag, Zürich, 2001.
  • Bass, Dick; Bass & Ridgeway, Rick: Seven Summits. Isbn: 0446385166. Warner Books, 1988.
  • Bonington, Chris & Salkeld, Audrey: World Mountaineering - The World's Greatest Mountains by the Worlds Greatest Mountaineers. Isbn: 1845331427. Miller's Publications, 2006.
  • Kelsey, Michael R.: Hiker's and Climber's Guide to the World's Mountains and Volcanos, 4 Edition edition. Isbn: 9780944510186. Kelsey Publishing (Utah), 2001.
  • Gardien, Claude: Les Plus Belles Montagnes Du Monde. Isbn: 9782723479318. Glénat, 2010.
  • Gogna, Alessandro: Cumbres Míticas - Cumbres míticas es una selección de las cimas más bellas del mundo.. Isbn: 9788408073529. Fecha publicación, 2007.
  • Wolfe, Frederick L.: High Summits - 370 Famous Peak First Ascents and Other Significant Events in Mountaineering History. Isbn: 9781936449354. Hugo House Publishers, 2013.
  • Hattingh, Garth: Top Climbs of the World (Top Series). Isbn: 9781859740859. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, 1999.



One of the roadblocks in migration from static mountain pages into data driven pages has been my inability to decide on data model that is flexible enough for mountain pages yet does not make it necessary to add plenty of information just to keep the data model intact.

My original idea was to use physical mountain groups as grouping criteria, but the more I thought of it, the less sense does it seem to make. This structure when used alone makes it very difficult to place cities, valleys etc. that lie between mountain groups correctly. This problem is especially present when dealing with more detailed descriptions. Perhaps more importantly, regions are usually explored from a certain base (city or village), from where access to mountains is usually done through valleys (and huts, camps or bivouacs in them). Once you are in the valley, the climbs on the other side of the mountain (and thus inaccessible) are of very little relevance. Thus linking peaks directly to the valleys in a meaningful manner is pretty much impossible, whereas linking mountain features to valleys is very much possible and meaningful. Because of this, my current plan is to go into direction where I have separate area pages and mountain pages.

On the plus side, this will keep the actual page size rather reasonable and page structure complexity should remain manageable. Furthermore, this should make it far easier to use mountain and route data elsewhere (such as grading page). On the other hand, this will require some recursive processing to be able to create those links automatically (I have made a successful proof of concept of that sort though), so I should have some idea how to achieve this.

I figure xlink and xpointer might be the ideal solution for my need to include parts of the other document in the document, typically ingress paragraph and paragraphs of individual area or mountain page on the parent page. At the moment this is done by manually copying the information but obviously this is very primitive solution.

Area pages

Main area info
  • Location information consisting of location in relation to countries, major cities, seas, lakes and rivers and neighboring mountain ranges.
  • Mountain groups and most notable peaks including list of peaks (linked, of course)
  • Logistical information including access, convenient centers, accommodation and oernmissions.
  • Climbing information consisting of weather and seasons, types of climbing, grading and classic climbs.
Valley info
  • Access
  • General description
  • Available features and climbs (linked)

Mountain pages

mountain level data, such as:
  • name
  • height
  • summits
  • location
  • climbing history
  • information such as description, possibly some information about the features and most popular climbs
  • mountain references (such as topos, articles, web links etc.)
features, such as faces
  • name or some form of identification (eg. north face, east side etc)
  • feature level info such as access, starting points (huts, bivouacs etc)
  • climbing info such as most popular routes, classics, conditions etc
  • references (mainly topos)
Route name
usually this refers to geographical name of the route. If is is not sufficient to identify the route, name of the route is added, for example North Face "Welzenbach". However, when the route has well established name like Hörnligrat on Matterhorn, it may be used. Then the geographical name is added in parenthesis. Some cases the opposite direction might occur. If a route does not finnish on a main summit, the summit is listed.
First ascent info
date and first ascent party.
Brief info
Basic info of a climb consisting of:
  • Brief character of a route.
  • Bried description of a route, at least a starting point.
  • Difficulty, both overall and appropriate technical difficulties if known.
  • Effort, altitude gain (usually only the route, especially on more technical routes) and time. Possibly separate info for approach and descent.
  • Possibly info about conditions.
Detailed route description
Detailed route description for:
  • approach
  • ascent
  • descent
References in guidebooks and/or online route descriptions. However, only actual route descriptions are listed here, ascent stories etc are listed under route links.
Climbing world is full of different systems, with which it is possible to evaluate the difficulty and seriousness of a given route. This document aims to ease figuring out how hard is a given grade in a given system.
Length (both in terms of distance and time). Altitude gain (usually only the route, especially on more technical routes) and time. Possibly separate info for approach and descent.