DREAM TRIPS

Summit a Mountain

These epic peaks are practically taunting you. Here's how even a novice can get the upper hand.

MOUNT FUJI
Fujiyoshida, Japan
12,388 feet

Japan's giant, 70 miles from Tokyo.

What to Expect
From the Fifth Station, a popular starting point, a fit person can reach the top in five to seven hours. Allow at least three hours for the descent. And be prepared for company—this is more of a communal pilgrimage than a Zen quest.

When to Go
Fuji's official climbing season lasts only from July through August, when the peak is mostly free of snow. We recommend a morning ascent so you can bypass the packed overnight huts.

Summiting Success Rate
Guaranteed to the determined—some 300,000 hikers made it last year.

Booking Info
A $28, two-hour-and-20-minute bus ride takes you from Tokyo to Fuji's Fifth Station. www.city.fujiyoshida.yamanashi.jp/div/english/html/index.html.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO
Moshi, Tanzania
19,341 feet

Africa's highest, famously plateau-topped peak.

What to Expect
The 50-mile trail isn't technically challenging, and porters carry your gear. But don't think this weeklong climb is a cakewalk: Some days involve eight or more hours of negotiating craggy, icy terrain, and much of the trek is at astonishing altitudes.

When to Go
Expeditions head up Kilimanjaro year-round, but the overall best conditions occur in January, February, September, and October. Be ready for temperature extremes—you're traveling from jungle to glacial fields.

Summiting Success Rate
Unrecorded, but insider estimates span from 75 percent to 90 percent.

Go-to Guide
The eight-day Kilimanjaro Machame Route from Intrepid Travel departs monthly. The price includes the first and last night at a farmhouse hotel, meals, and a sleeping bag. Tips for porters and guides aren't included—plan on handing out $150 to $200 in U.S. cash at trip's end. intrepidtravel.com, from $2,435.

MOUNT RAINIER
Ashford, Wash.
14,410 feet

The star of the Cascade Range and arguably America's prettiest pinnacle.

What to Expect
A day and a half of training at lower elevations, followed by two days of technical climbing up, over, and around glaciers, rock cliffs, and crevasses. It takes endurance and attention to detail—plus gear such as ice axes and transceivers, which help rescuers locate you in an avalanche.

When to Go
The season stretches from May through October, and summer is most ideal: The vistas are as crisp as they come.

Summiting Success Rate
Overall, about 50 percent. To boost your chances, sign on with an outfitter and prep by tackling steep trails while carrying a 40-pound backpack.

Go-to Guide
RMI Expeditions' Four-Day Summit Climb costs $926, plus rental gear (prices vary depending on what you need) and food ($126 for the whole trip). rmiguides.com.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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