High Altitude

Jan 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

Peru: Trekking in the Cordillera Vilcabamba
From coffee and tea plantations to sub-tropical forests and 6000 meter peaks, this 21-day adventure takes in all of Peru's Cordillera Vilcabamba, an area that has had few visitors in the past several centuries. Highlanders still wear their traditional dress and Incan roads still criss-cross the area. On your journey you'll trek four or five hours per day with ample lunch breaks and time to explore local villages and investigate the wildlife. You'll also cross five high-mountain passes, including the 16,000 foot Incachiriasca Pass before winding down your adventure with a visit to Machu Picchu.
Outfitter: KE Adventure Travel, 800-497-9675, www.keadventure.com
When to Go: July-August
Price: $2795
Difficulty: Strenuous

Alaska: Ski Mountaineering and Rafting in Glacier Bay NP Space.
That's what you'll notice when descending in your seaplane toward Glacier Bay on the first day of your arctic adventure. For twelve days, you'll be out there in Alaska's wide expanse, traversing the jagged blue ice of the Riggs glacier, climbing and skiing peaks that have never been skied, camping on ice, and descending the massive LeBlondou Glacier to the Tsirku River for 2-days of rafting.
Outfitter: Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School, Inc., 800-766-3366
When to Go: June
Price: $2400
Difficulty: Strenuous

France: Cycling the French Alps
If you take this trip, you'll be just like Lance Armstrong. Minus the cycling titles. Minus the against-all-odds story. Minus coverboy status. (Okay, so you both breathe oxygen.) This ten-day bike trip takes you onto the Route Des Grande Alpes and stages 14, 15, and 16 of the 2000 Tour de France. You'll pedal 70-100 kilometers a day, passing the Gorge de Cians on your way to the high passes of Col d'Iozard, Croix de Fer , and the 21 switchbacks of the l'Alpe d'Heuz. And, pardon my French, you'll rest your tired keister at night in some of the Alps most inviting resorts and inns.
Outfitter: Cyclevents, 1-888-733-9615, www.cyclevents.com
When to Go: July, August
Price: $1850 ($950 if you camp)
Difficulty: Strenuous

Tanzania: Climbing Kilimanjaro
Steep climbs and high altitude mark the Machame Route, a little traveled but highly scenic trail to the top of Kilimanjaro. This non-technical ascent will take you through cloud-forests and groves of giant heather before you reach the roof of Africa. But as a warm-up, you'll spend the first half of your two-week trip viewing wildlife in Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, and Manyara National Parks.
Outfitter: Mountain Travel Sobek, 888-MTSOBEK, www.mtsobek.com
When to Go: January, February, June, July, August, September, December
Price: $3990
Difficulty: Strenuous

Italy: Hiking the Dolomites
Imagine the Von Trapp's slurping spaghetti or Pavarotti singing Edelweiss, and you've captured the Dolomites, the northern border of Italy where Austrian and Italian cultures mingle in villages set among alpenrose blanketed valleys and jagged chamois-haunted peaks. This eight-day trek takes you to the picturesque Alto Adige region, Puez Odle Park, and Lake Crespeina. You'll lunch in some of the regions rifugi (mountain huts) and experience the wild and scenic land mountain people have made their home for centuries.
Outfitter: Backroads, 800-462-2848, www.backroads.com
When to Go: June, July, September
Price: $3298
Difficulty: Moderate