North America, while only holding a few peaks of extreme heights, has a wide variety of climbable peaks. Although there are several high peaks on the eastern half of the continents, the majority of high peaks favored by climbers are on the western half. The Rockies form the backbone of many states and provinces, while other ranges such as the Cascades branch off. The mountaineering infrastructure here is excellent on many fronts. Facilities such as huts and lodges for climbers, trails, and rescue operations are all world class.
- Mount Mckinley, Alaska
Also known as Denali, this 20, 320 foot peak on the edge of the Arctic circle is the coldest outside of Antarctica due to its northerly position.
- Mount Logan, Yukon Territory
Canada’s Mount Logan, measuring 19,850 feet, is the second highest peak in North America and when measured by base circumference it is the largest mountain in the world. Much of the technical, 16-mile climb is via roped glacier travel.
- Mt. Hood, Oregon
Although the mountain has been marked with tragedy as of late, it is still one of the best ascents in North America.
- Mount Adams, Washington
The state’s second highest peak at 12,276 feet is well off the beaten track and often used as training ground for more serious peaks.
- Mount Shuksan, Washington
The 4-day route through the North Cascade takes you directly over the Shulkside glacier. This is good training ground to test out your ice axe and see if how well you can handle a moderate peak.
- Mount Rainier, Washington
A two-day summit climb is all you will need to top the highest mountain in the lower 48 states.
- Mount Bona, Alaska
The grade 1 or 2 climb, depending on conditions, in Wrangell/St. Elias National Park, the largest in the United States, is a fairly easy glacier climbing primer.
- Mount Whitney, California
California’s Mount Whitney, at almost 14,500 feet, is the highest point in the lower 48 states. During the summer months, several hundred hikers ascend the snowy peak every day.
- San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Ouray is considered the world’s ice climbing capital, with ice climbing almost guaranteed during the winter months.
- Pico de Orizaba, Mexico
This Mexican volcano stands at 18,404 feet, making it one of the highest peaks in North America and the highest point between Colombia and the Yukon.