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I'm really into hiking during the last few years. Now I want to climb the highest mountain in Europe that is accessible by a hiker without any alpine tour experience. That means I have no problem walking a whole day or climbing over 2000-3000 meters in one day, but I'm not used to glaciers, or any equipment that includes ropes or climbing irons.

So I assume that in Africa, my goal would be Kilimanjaro, but what mountain and starting village should I travel to if I want to stay in Europe?

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Without equipment is maybe a little bit misleading. I have appropriate hiking boots, useful clothes and working headlights and a decent climbing backpack. I'm just not used to ropes and climbing irons. –  RoflcoptrException Dec 1 '11 at 21:13
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6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Assuming you're also exluding mountains only accessible by via ferrata, the highest one I've heard of is Mont Taou Blanc (3438 m) in Italy near the border to France.

Here's a video of the ascent. The most difficult/dangerous part can be seen at 1:40 - and you can see that it's a very popular tour.

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+1 (if I would have votes left) Thanks, that looks interesting. Via Ferrata would maybe possible with an experienced hiking mate, since there are only fixed ropes and ladders. Do you know which is the highest mountain if I don't exclude via ferrata? –  RoflcoptrException Dec 1 '11 at 21:17
    
@Roflcoptr: Google yields this discussion: bergsteigen.at/forum/Thema.aspx?ID=43715 - the height increase is not that much, and looking for the first two mountains listed yielded very scary images - the ropes are fixed, but to pretty much vertical walls. –  Michael Borgwardt Dec 1 '11 at 22:23
    
@Roflcoptr: basically, via ferrata is a mountaineering discipline of its own, and all but the lowest difficulty grades require special equipment and training. So I'd say that Taou Blanc is your best option - see the video link I added. –  Michael Borgwardt Dec 2 '11 at 10:02
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In Europe you have several options, often encompassed by the Alps.

While you can use a tour, often the tour suggestions are merely good idea for you to use. But they do at least let you know if it's able to be hiked without any climbing gear.

You can hike in the Italian Dolomites, the Carpathian Mountains, Bulgaria, Transylvania, the Fjords of Norway and more. Some descriptions of these hikes are on Mountain Hiking Holidays.

More on getting to the Tatra mountains in Poland and Slovakia.

Here are the 5 best day hikes in the Swiss Alps.

EDIT:

And if you just want a single mountain, consider the top 10 tallest mountains in Europe.

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Thanks for the answer, but I'm really only interested in a single mountain that is very high. I don't want to do anything else. –  RoflcoptrException Dec 1 '11 at 21:40
    
in that case, updated my answer. –  Mark Mayo Dec 1 '11 at 21:46
    
Thanks for the update, but again, all this 10 tallest mountain I can't climb without appropriate gear. –  RoflcoptrException Dec 2 '11 at 10:09
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I did some research and it seems that Inneres and Üsseres Barrhorn in Switzerland are the highest mountains in Europe that can be reached by hikers. This is also mentioned on the English Wikipedia page. The German Wikipedia page has more information about that. On hikr.org, a very popular hiking platform in Switzerland, it is also mentioned that the Barrhorn is the highest moutain which you can reach by walking. Unfortunately the information is only available in German.

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This is probably the best answer; the German tour description mentions no difficulties at all. Here's an English page: summitpost.org/barrhorn/429662 –  Michael Borgwardt Dec 2 '11 at 12:36
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The German site linked to in Roflcoptr's answer mentions an even higher mountain in France, the Aiguille de la Grande Sassière (3751 m) and claims this is definitely the highest "hiking mountain" in Western Europe, but cautions that the ascent includes some "light climbing" passages, and depending on the weather the final ascent might be ice-covered.

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Exactly. I excluded Aiguille de la Gramde Sassière since climbing grade I or II is required. But this would also be an interesting possibility since it is really high for a hikable mountain. –  RoflcoptrException Dec 2 '11 at 12:38
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Sweden's highest mountain Kebnekaise is accessible by foot though it is not that high (only some 2106 metres). My co-blogger Hardy did it and wrote about it.

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If you want to climb the highest mountain in the UK, that would be Ben Nevis with ~1344m. There is a city nearby called Fort William and the surrounding area is stunning! Especially going from Fort Williams to the west coast by train is a great ride and there are many lochs and hills to explore.

Alternatively in the Isle of Skye in northern Scotland there lies a mountain range called the Cuillins, it is said that the hardest hikes in the UK go over the Black Cuillins, hard due to the strange shape of the mountains. The landscape on the island is amazing as well. Very thick and old tolkien-esk forests in the south and the rocky Cuillins in the north.

Not quite extreme alpine climbing, but if you want to avoid the people and enjoy a beautiful landscape than this might be the thing for you.

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