Sea level is for suckers. And sailors. But mostly, suckers. Leave it far behind with these epic climbs, starting with inspiring close-to-homers, and escalating to terrifying closer-to-God-ers.
Covering nearly 25 miles and well over 15,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, this Catskills climb is the second-toughest trek in the East, right behind The Devil's PATH train to Newark.
More from Thrillist: Matthew Berry's Top 5 Most Insane Fantasy Football Stories
Easily one of the East Coast's most scenic stretches, Acadia National Park doesn't necessarily have a reputation for stomach-turning trails. Precipice on Champlain Mountain is the exception, climbing more than 1,000 feet in under two miles. If heights and rock ledges freak you out, prepare for your freaking.
More from Thrillist: The World's Deepest Pool
You could ride a donkey up this peak on Taal Lake’s Volcano Island, but hiking the dusty path gives you 100 percent more invigoration, and 100 percent less donkey. Once you top this active magma storage unit (hence "Volcano Island"), you can peer over its rim into a lake within a lake. Or, if you're the luckiest/least lucky person ever, lava.
More from Thrillist: A 12-Day Oktoberfest Tour So Insane, Only 24 People Can Go
With 870mi of Welsh coastline to choose from, easygoing walks with pubs and castle ruins to break up the day aren’t hard to come by. But an equal number of steep sections along the tops of cliffs will challenge your sense of balance far more than a Bragdy'r Gogarth, which is either a beer from Great Orme Brewery, or a monster you hallucinate after too much hiking.
More from Thrillist: The First Obstacle Course That Lets You Scale Boston's City Hall
Considered the realm of trolls and giants, Jotunheimen National Park is also home to some of Viking Land's most breathtaking peaks. Even in the Summer, you’ll need crampons and cold weather gear if you plan to tackle one of the routes that lead past the highest mountains in Northern Europe. Start from Turtagrø, cross snowfields and glaciers, pant a little, then marvel at Vettisfossen, a 900ft waterfall on the other side.
More From Thrillist: Light Up And Paddle In With This LED Light System
The view from the end of this trail is one of the 10 best in the Lower 48. Getting there is easy enough. Just kidding, it's not: a series of switchbacks lead from the canyon floor to Scout Lookout -- press forward along a razor-thin ridge of rock to reach the summit.
More From Thrillist: The 8-Wheeled Stair Surfing Skateboard
Even if you don’t bump into Peter Jackson scouting locations for his three-film adaptation of The Silmarillion, Milford will change your life. Among an embarrassment of breathtaking trails, it stands out as one of the most picturesque in the Fjordland region, with wildlife, waterfalls, and... come on, Orcs?
More From Thrillist: An 18 Day Belgian Beer Mega Tour
Instead of obsessing about summiting the highest peaks on each continent, aim for a slightly more doable yet still impressive goal, like the tallest mountain in Latin America's longest running democracy. Covering 22mi round trip and topping out at over 12,000ft, Chirripó is a challenge with a big payoff: a chance to see the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean from the same location.
More From Thrillist: The Only Luxury Submarine Charter Company In The World
Don’t expect an easy route: this hike requires lots of scrambling and bouldering. But pack a tent, and you’ll be admiring the lights on the Strip from 6,000ft or more, one of the best views in the West this side of the peaks at pretty much any pool in Vegas.
More From Thrillist: 14 Terrifying Airport Runways
For a complete slideshow of the most Badass Hikes, go to Thrillist.
College Basketball Celebrity Fans