I was wondering if there is a list of the tallest mountains in the world where you can walk or scramble up to the summit? As opposed to using even basic rope skills?

  • 6
    Don't know of a definitive list, but you're looking at mountains with little or no snow/ice. As soon as you are into ice axe/crampon territory most guides/instructors are going to insist on roping up. This means you are looking at volcanoes (and therefore minimum galciation) and Kilimanjaro/Mt Kenya are probably amongst the tallest.
    – Qwerky
    Jan 27, 2012 at 11:06
  • This would be a GREAT list to have handy. I bet if you made this list and did enough research it would make a popular book or website. I'm afraid the best I can offer is mountainproject.com You should be able to do your search for most countries there. But you will have to do it country-by-country. Jan 28, 2013 at 21:53
  • 3
    @Qwerky: Kilimanjaro yes. Mt Kenya no. Mt Kenya's twin summits are class 5.
    – user2169
    Feb 20, 2014 at 3:33
  • 1
    Mount Washington in New Hampshire (US) via the Great Gulf Trail is an excellent and challenging ascent that does not require any ropes or special equipment when snowless.
    – user3753
    Aug 9, 2014 at 4:47
  • 1
    You could push a baby stroller up Mount Kosciuszko and get to say you climbed the tallest mountain in an entire continent. :-p
    – ceejayoz
    Aug 20, 2016 at 17:22

5 Answers 5


I doubt a definitive list exists.

But here is an algorithm to create your own list:

  1. What altitude-based things make climbing a peak require gear?
  2. At what altitude do problems in step 1 start occurring?
  3. What non-altitude-based problems might cause a climb to require gear?
  4. What peaks nearest me are this height or less?

Here are my personal answers to those questions:

  1. Snow and Oxygen are the altitude-based problems in mountaineering.
  2. At 20,000 feet (6 km) or taller, most peaks are covered in ice all year round. At 16,000 feet (4.9 km) there is so little oxygen you need to take several days to acclimate.
  3. Glaciers, steep trails, and scrambles so steep there are no trails mean you have to break out crampons and/or rope. These days I refuse to do anything that includes the word "Crevasse".
  4. Look on Mountain Project.

Sure, you can hike Kilimanjaro (~20k ft / 6 km) without any gear. But it takes like a week to get acclimated to the lack of oxygen; how annoying! So, in my opinion, pick peaks under 16,000 ft (4.9 km) and hike in the Summer.

If you live in the continental US, all peaks outside of Alaska are under 14,500 ft (4.4 km). If you're in Western Europe it's the same deal, there are no peaks over 4.9 km (16,000 ft).

So look on Mountain Project for all the mountains near you and see if they have permanent glacier-cover. That will require crampons. See if other hikers break out rope because the top is crazy steep with sharp drop-offs. Nothing to it, just read descriptions of the hike before you head out. People will say if they think gear was required.

  • 1
    Thanks for the Mountain Project link. I laughed when read Spain´s description: Small country with tons of rock. It's almost a crime to have as much rock as this country has.
    – Pixie
    May 23, 2014 at 9:16
  • You should add, however, that these is not exhaustive. There are a lot of other factors like thos addressed in bashophils answer that make peaks too difficult for hiking and require rope: steepness, terrain, remoteness/difficulty of finding routes,... You could consider this commonsense, but I thought it would be worth mentioning. May 23, 2014 at 15:05
  • @Pixie I do a fair bit of hiking and a LOT of climbing. Spain is a dream. If I had enough money to take a year off and travel the world, the wife and I would spend it climbing in Spain. No doubt. May 23, 2014 at 15:26
  • @Paul You are totally right, of course. I was hoping this was common sense. But it is important. May 23, 2014 at 15:27
  • 2
    +1 for the edit. I think it makes the answer a lot more comprehensive! May 24, 2014 at 0:14

Referring to @theJollySin's answer:

In Europe the mountains aren't that high but you still have to go over glaciers on most routes to the high summits. So you need to learn some basic safety/rope skills. And you can find really tough routes on smaller mountains, so you just have to read tour descriptions and check the difficulty level. You need to search for a F-rated tour without going over ice (risk of crevasses).

Some guide books also mark tours/routes which are solely going over rock, so this would be more the style of tour you have to search for. This is hiking on high altitudes. If you go really high (above 4000m or even 5000m), like being said, you need some time/experience to acclimate. And I guess there aren't lots of summits on these high altitudes which are technically that easy.

Kilimanjaro is a good example of a big but technically easy tour. Mount Ararat might be interesting too, also in terms of history and culture.


There's a book published by Cicerone called 'Europe's High Points' which lists the highest peak in each country, and provides a pretty good description on how to climb them. There are plenty of easier ones to go at, as well as some more technical peaks (e.g. Mont Blanc)

  • 2
    Looking for European High Points is maybe not the smartest choice. The real high points in Europe are not easy to climb, such as Mt. Blank, Elbrus, Mt. Ararat or Monte Rosa. So probably Teide or Mulhacen in Spain are your options. The next European High Point would be Zugspitze in Germany, but Zugspitze is slightly below 3000 meters. there are countless mountains in the alps that are above 3000 meters and easy to mount. Apr 26, 2012 at 22:08
  • There are easy mountains above 3000 m also in the Pyrenees. Some of them are even near a road nearly 2000 m reachable by car.
    – Pere
    Nov 16, 2016 at 13:18

I haven't seen anything like the Scottish guide books we have for Munros - the tallest mountains in Scotland, but as Scottish mountains are relatively small compared to mountains in the Andes, Alps, Rockies, Snowy Mountains, Himalayas etc but still have a lot of dangerous climbs, I wouldn't want to guess at how few large mountains are scramble-able (if we exclude Kilimanjaro, for example)

  • True Scotland mountains are at a lower altitude.. but in Winter trust me they can be quite a bit fun :) I know for a fact that you can hike to the top of Aconcagua in the Andes which is at 6962m! although I suspect a significant amount of altitude training would be needed..
    – Aim Kai
    Jan 26, 2012 at 21:36

According to Wikipedia:

Aconcagua is arguably the highest non-technical mountain in the world, since the northern route does not absolutely require ropes, axes, and pins.

Of course, non-technical means just that. It is still difficult and dangerous, as mountains always are. It's nearly 7 km (6,961 metre) above sea level. It's an expedition that may take around three weeks not including acclimitisation time. There will be very little oxygen, even if you acclimatise at 5,000 metre for weeks you'll still suffer from altitude sickness. Cold weather exposure is common and kills people every year. Don't underestimate the mountain just because you may not need ropes or axes.

If you consider weather and oxygen conditions on Aconcagua to be to harsh for your list, then there is no definitive list, for the impact of weather and oxygen is gradual. What mountain does or doesn't need mountaineering experience is relative.

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