According to the 2015 Sports, Fitness And Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report, published by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA, www.sfia.org),
2.5 million people in the U.S. engage in climbing as a recreational activity at least once a year. This number includes traditional climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering.
Climbing is popular worldwide. The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA, www.theuiaa.org), the world governing body in mountaineering and climbing, has 1.3 million members worldwide.
US Mountaineering Photo Gallery
The most popular mountaineering destinations in the United States are the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada of California, the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, the high peaks of The Alaska Range, and Saint Elias Mountains.
Mount McKinley, in Denali National Park (Alaska), is the highest mountain in North America (20,320 feet) and one of the World’s Seven Summits. It is the only mountain ranked by National Geographic among the world’s top 10 climbs. Mountaineers typically climb Mount McKinley in guided groups. RMI (www.rmiguides.com), the longest-running guide service operating at the mountain, has led over 300 expeditions.
Mount Rainier offers the largest glaciers in the continental United States. About
8,000 to 13,000 people attempt the climb each year; about half of the attempts are successful, with weather and conditioning being the most common reasons for failure.
It typically takes climbers two to three days to reach the summit.