we did a hike to the top of the Teide earlier this year which was much harder than expected / than when we were younger)
Well done! We visited the Teide NP last Dec for the second time and on neither visit have I felt that my appreciation of the OUV required a visit to the top! Am I "wrong"?
There are (at least?) 33 WHS whose main "mountain" (some of them are not that "high") is regarded as significant enough for the entire site to be named after it ( See- http://worldheritagesite.org/tags/tag.php?id=951
We have visited around 20 of these sites but have only climbed/been (some provide cable car, rail or even road "assistance") to the "summit" (or as close to the summit as people are allowed to go) of 8 of them (Garajonay, Gebel Barkal, Kili, Kinabalu, Etna, Nemrut, Uluru, Jungfrau.
I have asked my self if
a. In retrospect I would regard a summit visit of those 8 as "essential" for appreciating the OUV.
Garajonay and Etna - No. There are better walks in Garajonay NP and I didn't find the experience of the Etna cable car worth it
Kinabalu - certainly. You really need to go through the vegetation zones and then come out on that bleak rock face to fully appreciate the site. Just seeing e.g Poring Springs and then Kinabalu from a distance isn't enough.
Kilimanjaro - probably. Again - only by going through the very significant vegetation zones and crossing the saddle before climbing the ash cone and seeing the ice (or what is left of it!) in the crater does the bulk and variety of the mountain really come alive
Jungfrau - ok it is by rail but the railway really is an amazing feat and the "shape" of the mountain really needs viewing from the top. It is pricy - but worth doing.
Uluru - a "controversial" one. The "rules" have changed since I was there and climbing is now "discouraged" with the traditional custodians requesting that people do not. On reflection, I don't think that doing the climb really "adds" to an appreciation of the OUV of the site. I managed to fit in both a climb and a walk round the circumference - I would still recommend the latter.
Gebel Barkal - well it is no real issue to clamber up this 85m "pimple" and, unless one was really disabled anyone who has got that close would miss out significantly from not experiencing the view, the remains of the structures on the Uraeus and the sunset
Nemrut - the car park is only c 500 m from the summit and this walk just "has" to be done
b. Would I want to climb any of the others?
A fair number aren't really practicable of course even if I were young/fit enough! So I exclude Everest, Nanga Devi, Huascaran and other mountains requiring climbing skills and even expeditions. Looking through the remainder -
The Chinese Sacred mountains need to be "ascended" - I guess the issue is whether to avail oneself of the cable cars or to climb on foot! It would be interesting to hear the views of others ho have been faced with this choice
Fujisan? Well it "costs" and takes some organising as the numbers allowed to do it are cut back. Perhaps I am getting old and "unadventurous" but I feel I could "miss out" on that one without missing out on the OUV of the site (there are other "cultural" aspects which can be visited regarding the pilgrimage route. If I were Japanese my view would probably be different.
Looking though the others - I can't see any I would feel would be "essential".