Mountain Climbing is a physically demanding but also spiritually rewarding past time for people in the United States as well as worldwide. Those who dare to climb some of the most challenging mountains in the world do so at their own risk and train for months before embarking on their climb. Even though the risks are numerous the rewards for the person making the climb are great. Spiritually there is self-enlightenment, and courage which become the rewards of the climb. Physically there is fitness and self-discipline as rewards for the climber. The top three Mountains in the United States offer both physical and spiritual rewards for the brave climber with a bit of beautiful scenery to check out as they go.
Named by the Penobscot Indians in New England Katahdin means the “Greatest Mountain”, and is believed by these Native Americans to be a great sacred place. (Green) At a max elevation of 5,270 feet at the summit Katahdin is the highest point in Maine. Part of the Appalachian Mountain Range Katahdin is located in Baxter State Park in Piscataquis County, Maine. (Green) The rock make-up of the Mount is various types of rock such as Katahdin granite, basalt, rhyolite and sedimentary rock. Katahdin was formed some 400 million years ago as a volcanic intrusion and then shaped and molded by glaciers throughout the ice age. (Green)
One major challenge in climbing Mount Katahdin is presenting in the “Knife Edge” trail through the mountain. “Knife Edge” narrows to two foot in width in some places with sheer cliff face and 1000 foot drops along its side. (Defranza, 2009) Balance and experience is the key to staying atop this Mountain while climbing around “Knife Edge”. This ridge is closed during high winds seasons as it is very exposed to the elements. (Green) To get to the airy “Knife Edge” trail climbers will start in the Roaring Brook Campground on the East side and travel up Helon Taylor trail towards the summit roughly 4.3 miles then take the Pamola Peak trail which crosses to “Knife Edge” trail and on from there to the furthest most peak of Katahdin. (Green)
Mount Katahdin can be explored by intermediate and experienced Mountain Climbers without much issue. Beginners should seek out a different site to climb as Katahdin can be troubling through the “Knife Edge” trail.
Mount Rainier, Washington State
Mount Rainier was not always known as such, before 1792 this massive mountain was known as Tahoma. Named by the Yakima Native American Tribe and meaning “Great Snowy Peak”. (vertx) The rename was done by Captain George Vancouver in honor of Admiral Peter Rainier. (vertx) The peaks can be seen from Seattle, Washington and has some of the largest glaciers in the lower 48 States. (Defranza, 2009) As such making the climb up the 14,411 foot high mountain should be reserved for experienced and expert climbers. (Defranza, 2009) Mount Rainier is part of the Cascade Mountain Range and is the fifth highest mountain in the continental United States. (vertx) Though there are routes up for all technical levels of climber it is labeled a class 4 summit and should only be scaled by at the least experienced climbers. (vertx)
There is something very unique to Mount Rainier; there are a total of three separate summits. (vertx) Each summit is separated by a large crater, these summits are:
Columbia Crest: highest point of Mount Rainier with an elevation of 14,411 feet. (vertx)
Point Success: to the Southwest face of Mount Rainier with an elevation of 14,158 feet. (vertx)
Liberty Cap: to the Northwest face with an elevation of 14,112 feet. (vertx)
Most climbers will reach the top of the crater wall rim and call that close enough to the peak, however to reach Columbia Crest the climber would need to make the one quarter mile walk around the rim and then finish climbing the peak. (vertx) At the peak of Columbia Crest a climber will find a log to sign to prove they were there. (vertx)
Mount Haleakala Hawaii
Mount Haleakala located as most of the Island of Maui is climber friendly, from the amateur climber to the expert climber Haleakala has something for everyone. (Defranza, 2009) Haleakala is a great way to explore the volcanic landscape of Maui and learn about the culture of the Island as well. (Defranza, 2009) The summit of Haleakala is accessible by road and is the home of an astrological observatory. (Defranza, 2009) The highest point of the mountain is known as Puuulaula in the native tongue but is rarely used as the natives call the whole Mountain by Haleakala. (Nelsen, 2012) The highest point on the Eastern edge of the Southwest Ridge is also known as Haleakala and has an elevation of 8,201 feet.
An interesting fact about Mount Haleakala is that most people will climb from the top down instead of the other way around. This is mostly because of the convenience of the access road which twists up the mountain to the very top. (Nelsen, 2012) There are still some more traditional climbers however that start at the bottom and work their way to the top and have someone meet them to take them back down.
These three mountains are not only a challenge to climb but have educational value to them as well. There is much to be learned about one’s self when they are completely reliant on themselves to stay alive through dangerous conditions. Always be careful when climbing no matter what your level of experience is and make sure you have all the equipment for any situation you might run into. Happy climbing!
Defranza, D. (2009, January 12). Matodor Network. Retrieved from matodornetwork.com
Green, S. (n.d.). About Sports. Retrieved from About.com/sports
Nelsen, D. (2012, May 15). Summit Post. Retrieved from summitpost.org