Best Mountain Climbs for Beginners

The Alps have long been a hub for outdoor tourism, attracting more than 120 million visitors each year. While skiing in the winter remains the most popular draw, mountaineering experiences have become increasingly sought after too.

From June to September, tens of thousands of climbers flock to the Alps in order to try their hand at mountaineering and experience some of the most scenic views in Europe.

Many are hoping to find the best mountain climbs for beginners. Summer is a good time for first-time mountaineers to try out the sport because the non-permanent snow-pack has melted and the weather is generally calm, with plenty of clear and sunny days.

What are the best alps for beginners?

Anyone in the company of a professional guide and with a good level of physical fitness can summit the easiest 4,000ers. Looking for an easy mountain to climb in Europe?

Here are five easy summits in the Alps: 

Gran Paradiso is a good guided mountain climb for beginners. Photo by Andrea Benato
Gran Paradiso is a good guided mountain climb for beginners. Photo by Andrea Benato

Gran Paradiso (4,061 m / 13,323 ft)

Located in between the Aosta and Piedmont Valleys, Gran Paradiso is a classic alpine ascent. It is the tallest mountain solely located within Italy and boasts incredible views of the surrounding national park.

The climb begins with a hiking approach from Pont, which passes through boulder-strewn fields en route to one of two mountain huts.

The following day requires an early start as Gran Paradiso has one of the longest summit day ascents in the Alps. However, due to its lack of technical climbing requirements, the going is pretty quick.

Find a mountain guide to climb in Italy

The climb requires traversing the mountain’s glacier with crampons and an ice axe, before making a 60-meter scramble to the summit. All the necessary skills can be taught to climbers on the first day of the ascent.

  • Best starting point: Pont, Italy
  • Duration of the ascent: 2 days
Breithorn is a 4,000-meter climb in Switzerland
Breithorn is one of the easiest 4,000-meter climbs in Switzerland. Photo by Guy Robert May

Breithorn (4,164 m / 13,661 ft)

Sitting on the border between Switzerland and Italy, Breithorn is one of the easiest 4,000-meter climbs in Switzerland. By some estimates, the mountain is the most frequently climbed one in the whole country.

Part of the reason for this is the ease of access. The Breithorn climb begins by taking a lift up to either the Plateau Rosa (Cervinia) or Breithorn Plateau (Zermatt). Both plateaus are quite high up the mountain, requiring only a few hours of climbing afterward to reach the top.

This climbing mostly consists of using crampons and an ice axe to traverse the glacier, with only a few tricky parts along some cornices toward the end.

From the top, expect spectacular views out over the neighboring Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massif, with views into the Rhone Valley too.

  • Best starting point: Zermatt, Switzerland or Cervinia, Italy
  • Duration of the ascent: 1 day
Aiguille du Tour offers novice mountaineers the opportunity to get some high-quality alpine experience. Photo by Julia Virat
Aiguille du Tour offers novice mountaineers the opportunity to get some high-quality alpine experience. Photo by Julia Virat

Aiguille du Tour (3,540 m / 11,610 ft)

Another easy mountain climb in the Alps is situated at the northern end of the Mont Blanc massif. Aiguille du Tour offers novice mountaineers a great opportunity to get some high-quality alpine experience.

There are two main routes to the summit, one from the French side and one from the Swiss side. Both routes are fairly straight forward, beginning with an ascent up toward the mountain’s glacier on a chairlift.

Find a mountain guide to climb in France

Once off the chairlift, only basic cramponing and ice axe techniques are needed to cross the glacier before a brief scramble is employed to get to the top of the rocky spire.

From the top are some of the best views available of Mont Blanc as well as out into the rest of the Swiss and French Alps.

  • Best starting point: Chamonix, France
  • Duration of the ascent: 2 day

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