Mont Blanc, France
Of all the quintessential climbing adventures, Mont Blanc is a classic. In fact, this is the mountain that literally defined the sport of Alpine climbing in its early days.
The starting point of most Mont Blanc climbs is the town of Chamonix, a friendly village in the valley of the same name. This is an infinitely accessible trip to all those interested in the stunning panoramic views and lush forested hiking trails of the French Alps [source: Offices de Tourisme de Chamonix]. For those looking for something a bit more thrilling, look toward the peak of Mont Blanc.
Forming the "roof of Europe," Mont Blanc is an impressive 15,781 feet (4,808 meters) geological giant that straddles the French-Italian border [source: Summit Post]. Climbing Mont Blanc can include many different routes, but the most difficult involve a bid for the summit. No matter how you get there, be prepared for extremely cold weather as Mont Blanc's summit ridge is completely exposed to the harsh Alps environment [source: Summit Post].
As Europe's tallest peak, there are many climbers on Mont Blanc. It is a beautiful adventure and one that is high on the short list of many adventurers' "climbs of all time." But don't get so caught up the climb that you forget the surrounding area. For starters, there is no shortage of mountain-themed sporting activities in the area, including some of the best hiking and skiing in the world. There are also many other heart-pounding climbs within a stone's throw of Mont Blanc, including the Matterhorn and Eiger, two of Europe's most famous, enigmatic, and awe-inspiring peaks.