"Once you're trekking there's no more room in your mind for paranoia, and you can just enjoy the trip."
Turcol offers five-day tours to the Lost City from around $330; www.buritaca2000.com
3. Mount Damavand, Iran
Never heard of Mount Damavand? If you ever find yourself in the country battling North Korea for the title of Nuclear Ambitions Most Often Cited By Western Leaders As The Greatest Threat To World Peace, you're unlikely to miss it.
Standing 5,671 meters (18,605 feet) at the heart of the Alborz range, this dormant stratovolcano -- visible on clear days from Tehran -- is the highest volcano in Asia and a ubiquitous Iranian icon, found on everything from bottled water advertisements to the 10,000 rial banknote.
When President Ahmedinejad issues his anti-Western tirades, he often stands in front of an image of Damavand's snow-capped profile.
It's also one of the planet's great trekking peaks -- a Kilimanjaro without the crowds and exorbitant price tag.
"Damavand presented the perfect balance of challenge and reward," says hiker Simon Bonner, who has climbed peaks on five continents, including Mount Damavand.
"Best of all, we had the mountain entirely to ourselves. Climbing it makes you feel like a bona fide pioneer."
A five-day summer ascent with Iran Mountain Zone costs from $655 per person; www.mountainzone.ir
4. Kashmir, India
Thirteen years after Bill Clinton endowed Kashmir with the world's worst tourism slogan, dubbing it "the most dangerous place on earth," things are looking up for India/Pakistan's problem state.
Despite intermittent bouts of violent protest and a monumental military presence, around 20,000 foreign tourists -- and upward of 500,000 Indians -- visit the Heavenly Valley each year.
Among the many attractions is Gulmarg, a fledgling ski resort located disconcertingly close to the infamous Indo-Pakistan Line of Control, one of the world's most disputed borders.
With only one ski lift, it presents a raw off-piste experience that can't claim to rival its Western counterparts for infrastructure.
But that lift is one of the highest in the world, depositing skiers on the 4,000-meter (13,000 feet) ridgeline of Mount Apharwat. From there, you can pick your line down slopes that benefit from regular dumps of virgin powder.
"Gulmarg is the only ski resort in the Greater Himalayas," says mountain guide Nick Parks, who has been leading tours here since 2006. "Stepping out of the gondola, skiers and snowboarders are spoiled for choice with runs up to 2,300 meters (7,500 feet) long."
A 10-day ski-tour of Gulmarg with Mountain Tracks costs around $2,960; www.mountaintracks.co.uk
5. Mount Nyiragongo, Congo
This one is out of the question at the moment.