So, you’ve spent the last year at your local climbing gym and are ready to make the transition from the indoor wall to the rock face. There are locations around the globe that have become meccas for the adventure climber. Here is a list of our picks for the best rock climbing places around the world (with a few from the US thrown in for good measure).
Disclaimer: As exhilarating and challenging as climbing can be, the sport can also inherently dangerous. If you are new to the sport, consider enlisting the help of a professional outfitter that can make your entrance into the sport both enjoyable and safe. Always pick a route that suits your climbing level and make sure your gear is in good condition.
- Red River Gorge, Kentucky
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Todra Gorge, Morocco
- Kalymnos, Greece
- Railay Beach, Thailand
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Joshua Tree National Park, California
- Fontainebleau, France
- 10. The Shawangunks, New York
- 9. Eldorado Canyon, Colorado
- 8. Smith Rock, Oregon
- 7. Wild Iris, Wyoming
- 6. Joshua Tree, California
- 5. The Needles, California
- 4. Red River Gorge, Kentucky
- 3. New River Gorge, West Virginia
- 2. Indian Creek, Utah
- 1. Index, Washington State
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- 1. Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
- 2. Bukit Takun, Malaysia
- 3. Bukit Keteri, Malaysia
- 4. Krabi Railey Island, Thailand
- 5. Crazy Horse in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- 6. Long Dong, Taiwan
- 7. Rehai, Near Taipei
- 8. Shou Shan Mountain, Khaosiung City
- 9. Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
- 10. Huu Lung, Near Hanoi
- 11. Halong Bay, Vietnam
- 12. Yangshuo, China
- 13. White River, Near Beijing
- 14. Si Du, Near Beijing
- 15. Dairy Farm Climbing Reserve/ Quarry in Singapore
- 16. Thakhek, Laos
- 17. Vang Vieng, Laos
- 18. Kampot Province
- 19. Mount Katsu, in Okinawa
- 20. Ogawayama, Near Tokyo
- 21. Grampians, in Melbourne
- 22. Blue Mountains, at Sydney
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- Land’s End, Cornwall
- Pembroke, Wales
- Isle Of Skye, Scotland
- Malham Cove, Yorkshire
- Gower Peninsula, Wales
- Horseshoe Quarry, Peak District
- Llanberis Pass, Wales
- Portland, Dorset
- St Bees Head, Cumbria
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Red River Gorge, Kentucky
This absolutely gorgeous region contains the greatest concentration of arches east of the Rocky Mountains. The variety of routes is almost as diverse as the experience levels of the climbers that pack this area every weekend during the season.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Otter Cliff, located on the rocky coast of Maine, is a 110-foot high sea cliff where the fun begins immediately as one must rappel down first. Climbing is weather and tide dependent and routes exist for beginners and experienced climbers alike.
Todra Gorge, Morocco
Over 400 routes exist among the massive limestone cliffs located in this largest developed climbing area located in the Atlas Mountains.
In addition to its diversity of routes, the superb weather and year round climbing make this one of the best sport climbing destinations in the world. Plan accordingly and you could find yourself there for the annual climbing festival to watch some of the world’s best climbers show off their skills.
This year round climbing destination is located in the high desert region of California. There are over 8,000 established routes in the park and it is an ideal location for winter climbing as the summers can scorchingly hot.
Railay Beach, Thailand
Accessible only by boat, this exotic destination features thousands of routes and may very well be a climber’s paradise. Limestone cliffs set against an endless blue sea provides a dramatic landscape for climbers of all levels. And, you can boulder right over the water which provides a soft landing should you lose your grip.
Yosemite National Park, California
No roundup of the world’s best climbing locations is complete without including El Capitan. While multiple routes exist, climbing this 3,000 imposing granite cliff face is best left to the most experienced climbers.
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Whether you’re new to bouldering or an experienced traditional climber, adding a bit of rock climbing to your vacation is a good way to get out in nature and have a solid and thrilling workout. While there are thousands of great slabs worth climbing, here are eight of the world’s top destinations for rock climbing.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
With its surreal, boulder-strewn landscape, it’s no surprise that Joshua Tree is one of the most spectacular spots for climbing. The rocks here are primarily composed of quartz monzonite, which are generally solid and reliable, and there are a couple thousand bouldering problems and some 8,000 routes for climbers of all skill levels. Plus, dozens of companies offer climbing instruction and guidance along with equipment for travelers who don’t have their own gear.
Joshua Tree Hotel Pick:
Pricing for Spin and Margie’s Desert Hideaway
While Fontainebleau is best known for its stately chateau, climbers across Europe are generally more interested in its excellent bouldering opportunities. Circuits here are color-coded depending on how difficult they are, and there are even special problems just for kids. Plus, it’s a short jaunt from Paris, making it an easy day trip from the French capital.
Setting out to name America’s top-ten crags is a dubious goal. For starters, you just know that somebody is going to get all huffy puffy when their stomping ground doesn’t make the cut. And then there will be the wars over semantics. What qualifies as a crag? What doesn’t? How important is history, aesthetics, rock quality? No matter what, you’re bound to piss people off.
Still, you might as well try. Because YOLO.
For the purpose of this article, I am setting down some ground rules.
- By crag, I mean an area used predominantly for single-pitch or Grade I–II routes. You know, the kind of multipitch where you don’t bring a water bottle. That means that even though Alex Honnold can climb El Cap in a cool two hours, for most of us, places like Yosemite, Zion, and Red Rocks are out.
- By cragging, I mean not bouldering.
- The past matters. There’s something special about climbing at an area steeped in legend and lore. Places with long and storied histories get an extra nod.
- Ambiance matters, too. That includes crowds, proximity to roads, and views.
- Rock quality is paramount.
The only other rule you need to know is that this list is inarguable and definitive, and that anyone who disagrees with it, or me, is wrong.
10. The Shawangunks, New York
(Photo: Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commo)
The ’Gunks is the seminal crag for the Northeast. For trad climbing under 5.10, it may be the best destination in the country, if not the world. The carriage road can be packed with gawkers, and popular areas such as the High Exposure buttress can get clogged with hordes of pseudo gumbies trying desperately to place all ten of their pink tricams. But the views of the Catskills will soothe the ire of even the crustiest dirtbag, and if you find yourself in the rarefied air above the 5.10 benchmark, you’ll find far fewer people in line for the routes. Even if you do have to wait in line for a classic moderate, I promise it’s worth it. Where else can you do 15-foot horizontal boulder problems above your pro and still call it 5.6? Add to that impeccable rock quality and a climbing history that dates back to the late 1930s, when European immigrants Fritz Weissner and Hans Krauss brought mountaineering skills gleaned from their homelands to bear on the steep white cliffs, and you have a bona fide worldwide destination.
9. Eldorado Canyon, Colorado
(Photo: F Delventhal/Creative Commons )
Eldo, as it’s known, may be a contender for the best worst crag in America. Located a stone’s throw from the climbing crucible of Boulder, Colorado—though we won’t hold that against it— Eldo’s towering walls of red sandstone are truly a climber’s dream. Some of America’s finest climbers cut their teeth here, most notably the infamous and prolific first ascensionist Layton Kor. The rock in Eldo is often friable, and the protection is commonly marginal, but what makes Eldo so great is the sheer volume of climbable rock. Almost anywhere you look, you’re likely to find holds. It may be hard, it may be runout, the gear might be difficult to place (not to mention trust), but the climbing is fun, the approaches are short, and the setting is gorgeous. Such infamous classics as the Naked Edge, Rosy Crucifixion, Ruper, and the Bastille originally put Eldo on the map for American climbers. But it’s the countless variations and linkups one can achieve with a little bit of creativity that truly cements Eldo as a top-ten crag.
8. Smith Rock, Oregon
When French climbing ace J.B. Tribout came to check out the sport climbing in the United States in 1992, he went to Smith Rock. And when he managed to pull off Just Do It at 5.14c, it stood as America’s hardest route for a solid five years. But Smith Rock and its cadre of pioneers had already earned a well-deserved reputation in the annals of climbing history by the time Tribout got there. The tall, steep fins of conglomerated volcanic rock lend themselves to intricate, technical climbing in the 5.12-to-5.14+ range. And the 400-foot Monkey Face pillar has got to be one of the most iconic monoliths in American climbing. As if all of that weren’t enough, the climbing gods saw fit to bequeath unto otherwise rock-deprived Oregonians a lovely river full of trout and otters, a lower gorge full of basalt cracks and compression arêtes, and a convenient campground that’s walking distance from the climbing to boot. Beautiful, delicate, and climbable for three seasons, Smith Rock is, as I believe Tribout said, magnifique!
7. Wild Iris, Wyoming
(Photo: Mia & Steve Mestdagh/Creative Commons )
Speaking of the French, wouldn’t it be great if the U.S. had one, just one, crag full of beautiful, clean, pocketed limestone à la Buoux or the Verdon? Oh wait, there is. Wild Iris is a crag as pretty as its name. Smooth-rolling buttresses of limestone waves cresting atop hills of flaxen grass and aromatic wildflowers—what’s not to love? Rattlesnakes, maybe, and it can get crowded during busy summer weekends. But Wild Iris is really quite a bit more extensive than the Main Wall upon which “greenies” (the name bequeathed by locals to the ubiquitous visitors from Colorado) flog themselves ad nauseam. Locals in Lander might slip rattlesnake venom into my next whiskey if I say the names of the other areas, but they’re out there. The camping is great, many of the routes were established by the legendary Todd Skinner, and most importantly, the routes have that certain ineffable quality that all fine limestone retains. Athletic, bouldery, and yet subtly tenuous sequences are the name of the game. For pure quality sport climbing, there are few places better in the States.
6. Joshua Tree, California
(Photo: Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commo)
Picture rocks stacked upon rocks. Piles of house- and apartment-building-size rocks. Rocks with cracks, rocks with patina, rocks with caves in them, rocks with huecos. The only thing more ubiquitous in J Tree than the eponymous cacti of Seussical proportions is rock. There are rocks with roofs, rocks with slabs, rocks with bolts, and rocks without bolts. Rocks that were climbed by such golden-age demigods as John Bachar and John Long back when swami belts were de rigueur, and the answer to “Who wears short shorts?” was, apparently, climbers. It would take many lifetimes to climb to the top of all the rocks within the national park’s boundary. And if you ever did, you could just hike a little further and climb the ones outside it, too.
5. The Needles, California
(Photo: Steph Abegg)
I add this to the list at the risk of angry locals defecating in my haul bag and slashing my tires the next time I find myself in the neighborhood. I do so because it would be criminal not to. From Lake Tahoe down to Joshua Tree, arguably the finest collection of granite in the world spills down the spine of the Sierra Nevada. And in all of that range, there is no lode of stone finer than that of the Needles. Remember in the rules when I said that rock quality was paramount? Well, you could toss the Needles into the middle of noisy and smog-infested Los Angeles, and I’d still put it on this list. The rock quality is simply without compare. A true trad-climber’s crag, the Needles is not for the recently initiated gym climber, which may be part of what keeps the masses at bay. It’s not exactly a secret anymore, but it’s still fairly quiet. And unless Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi make a top-grossing documentary about Bob Kamps and Herb Laeger’s mind-melting yet obscure first ascent of Spook Book back in 1978, I’m pretty sure most visiting climbers to California will still eschew the Needles for Yosemite.
4. Red River Gorge, Kentucky
(Photo: Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commons)
God must be a climber. I mean, just look at the Red River Gorge. Here’s a place that was clearly created by a benevolent being with a giant ice cream scoop. The walls of the RRG feature jaw-dropping cirques of multicolored sandstone that look like an inverted stand of bleachers. But the geology of the gorge is not just staggering on a macro level. Seemingly every square inch of those enormous walls is covered in pockets, crimps, iron rails, jugs, slopers, and climbable features of nearly every variety. When it comes to sheer abundance of quality routes, the RRG is probably America’s only legitimate sport-climbing answer to world-class zones such as France’s Céüse, Spain’s Siurana, or Greece’s Kalymnos. But it’s not just limited to sport climbs—the gorge is home to a plethora of fantastic cracks and traditionally protected routes as well. On top of all that, the RRG is really beautiful, particularly in autumn when the leaves change. I’d say the RRG is America’s best climbing area… if it weren’t for the next three crags on this list.
3. New River Gorge, West Virginia
(Photo: David Mark/)
To the chagrin and outrage of Kentuckians, I am throwing the NRG on this list in the number-three spot. Why does the bronze medal for American crags go to the New River Gorge instead of the Red? For a few simple reasons: First, everybody and their mom talks about the Red, while the New maintains a much sleepier vibe, making it inherently radder. Second, the Red is so riddled with huge holds that you can climb darn near your limit in your approach shoes (footwork be damned), while the New features spare, devious, aesthetic lines that require not only superb footwork but also sequence-reading skill. And third, the stone at the Red is really good, but the NRG’s Nuttall sandstone is 98 percent quartzite and harder than granite, making it as good as rock can possibly be for climbing. Mango Tango and Proper Soul are two of the prettiest sport climbs in the Western Hemisphere, while Endless Wall may be the best continuous section of cliff in the States. There’s probably only one place in the world (OK, in America) with better stone than the New River Gorge. And that place is definitely not number two on the list.
2. Indian Creek, Utah
The Creek has a lot working against it: Wingate sandstone is softer than a baby’s bottom, making for horrifying face climbing (not that that matters, since only about 0.00001 percent of routes at the Creek feature face holds at all); if you don’t tape up, you’re going to bleed; if you do tape up, some grizzled old guy is going to hiss at you; all grade objectivity is out the window, since it all depends on the size of your appendages and digits; the climbing hurts; splitters are boring, since you just do the same move over and over for 100 to 200 feet; and every route requires 20 pounds and approximately $5,000 worth of gear. Pretty lame, when you put it that way.
What Indian Creek has going for it, though, is that it’s unique in the world. There is literally nowhere else like it. If you want to learn to crack climb, there’s no better resource on the planet. And once you do learn the dark art of crack climbing, there’s nowhere better to test your mettle. The climbing’s really quite fun (once you kill the nerve endings on the back of your hands). It can even be pretty cerebral if you branch out from the plain-Jane splitters. But what really makes the Creek the number-two crag on this list is simply how beautiful it is there. The desert has a way of taking you in, holding you, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You can (and many people do) spend weeks in the Creek just wasting time, not climbing at all.
1. Index, Washington State
(Photo: Steph Abegg)
And let the social-media shitstorm begin. Oh, trust me, I know what’s coming. I’m going to get it from all sides: From folks who have never heard about Index and can’t believe what they’re seeing. From Index locals who are convinced I’m ruining all that is sacred by giving away their secret paradise. From people who went to Index and got shut down by the stiff grades. From people who think the season is too short, the moss too thick, and the car break-ins too common. Will anybody be happy about this choice?
The problem is, Index is, objectively, the best crag in the United States. Honestly, it’s probably the best crag in the world. Imagine the texture of New River Gorge sandstone layered over a smattering of 100-to-800-foot-tall walls of perfect, featured, spectacular granite. Index literally has it all. Sport, trad, and aid, single pitch and multipitch, cracks and faces, knobs and pockets, patina, edges, jugs, slopers, and tufas, corners and arêtes, slabs and overhangs, roofs and ledges. The whole nine yards and then some. There is nowhere else in the world with as dense a concentration of four-star climbs. The Skykomish Valley is jaw-droppingly beautiful. And the sandbag, oh, the sandbag! I’ll say this much: nobody goes to Index to pad their resume. You can straight-up forget about grades there since 5.11 on the Index Decimal System covers everything from 5.11a to 5.13c on the more commonly used Yosemite Decimal System.
The best thing about Index is how few people get it. This article will do nothing to change that. The cat has been out of the bag, so to speak, for decades now, but climbers visiting the Pacific Northwest still fall for the tried-and-true traps of Smith Rock and Squamish again and again. What protects Index is the shroud of hyperbole that surrounds it. The harder Index aficionados like myself spray, the better. It just makes our opinions easier to discount and, ultimately, discard. And that’s fine, because it will keep Index nice and quiet.
Filed To: ClimbingCaliforniaColoradoSport ClimbingNew YorkOregonWyoming Lead Photo: chris_vultaggio/iStock
The topos of Céuse and Corsica underwent a huge facelift embedding important updates provided by the authors of the offical paper guidebooks.
And of course, those who have already purchased the topos benefit from these free updates / improvements!
Céüse: the big update!
The new edition of the paper guide was released in 2018 and Laurent Girousse provided us with all the updates that we reported on our digital guides. Hundreds of additional routes, adjustments / refinements of grades, new sectors (colors of autumn, Lumineuse, Butterfly) bolted by newcomers. In a nutshell, a guide almost made from scratch 🙂
What is obvious in this update is also the huge work of historical research that the authors have done. Indeed, the crews behind the genesis of almost every channel (among more than 600 indexed!) are indicated. This is an important information for the authors / climbers / crew who can recompose a piece of history of the cliff. About that, the Android app has been updated (see below).
As usual, Céuse can be bought on our apps, in its “entirety” or by packs / sectors:
- COMPLETE guide
- East faces
- West faces
- South faces (buyable by sectors : Face de Rat, Demi-Lune, Berlin, Biographie, Beau mouv’)
Corsica: il totale !
Corsica has also seen a big update, coupled with the birth of new packs. You now have access to all the sporting crags of Corsica up to date. Either a little more than 2000 routes!
The authors decided to propose the following division:
- The FULL guide
- The region “Grand Sud”
- The region “Center”
- The region of Ajaccio
- The region of Balagne and Porto
- The region of Bastia
In each pack, you can buy guides unitary and again, an amazing job has been done by Thierry Souchard and Bertrand Maurin to offer a maximum of information, news (including the new area of La Lonca which has the big advantage of being climbable in summer) and bolters most of the time. In addition, a lot of additional information has appeared for guides buyers with a lot of practical information.
iOS and Android apps evolutions
To be able to treat and displays theses informations, iOS and Android apps has been updated with some new features :
First, a new text area appears when a guide has been purchased. It is a riched text box that allows authors to give a lot of details to buyers of their guides. It can be found in “Miscellaneous information” on iOS and “More details” on Android. Don’t forget the access plan that appears in the Android menu when it is available.
Finally, each route can be enriched with information such as comments from the authors, height, interest sometimes and bolters names (we talked about it above). Under iOS, a double tap on the route allows to have this detail. On Android, it was a long press and it was not very intuitive. So we added a little button “i” to make it more obvious.
A big up to Max and Guigui, our 2 Android developers who take on their free time to develop the app. New features are coming soon!
Thanks also to CamCam which is a smartphone noob and denounces everything that is not intuitive 🙂
9 BEAUTIFUL ROCK CLIMBING SPOTS NEAR LOS ANGELES
LA probably isn’t the first place you think of when searching for top rock climbing destinations. But besides a whole slew of awesome indoor climbing spots, SoCal also has some pretty amazing outdoor climbing areas, some of which are even considered to be world-famous.
So load up all the Nalgenes you can find with some icy-cold water, and rent a crash pad from your local gear shop, then leave the city behind and hit the road to get in on these amazing outdoor climb spots.
By far the most famous area for outdoor climbing near LA (just two hours east), this national park has thousands upon thousands of climbs to choose from. If you wander outdoors often, just bite the bullet for an annual national park pass (priced at $80, whereas one-time admission is already $25). Jtree (as the cool kids call it) has all kinds of climbing, but unless you’re a super-experienced trad climber (with the know-how to place gear etc.), it’s best to stick to the bouldering problems. Yes, sport routes do exist, but you won’t find nearly enough bolts to make most of them safe without the use of supplementary gear placements. The more you know!
Horse Flats, also known as Horse Flats Campground, is only about an hour drive north of the city and has some of the best granite bouldering in SoCal. To get there, plug Newcomb’s Ranch into your GPS then park in the Horse Flats campground lot. With easy top roping routes (5.6-5.11) and beginner bouldering routes galore (V0-V5), it’s a great place to train and hang out — particularly on the weekdays when the crowds are nonexistent.
Just 50 minutes northwest of LA (hint: towards Malibu, CA) is some of the best climbable volcanic rock in the state. With tons of versatility (from beginner bouldering to steep bolted overhang routes), this chunky pocketed rock is awesome for both beginners earning their crag-legs or seasoned climbers looking for a challenge.
One and a half hours north of the city and just north of the San Gabriel Mountains is the beautiful and remote climbing spot known as Devil’s Punchbowl. With tons of slabby (think non-vertical climbs between 45 and 75 degrees) climbs ranging in sport and trad routes, this is an amazing(and quiet) place to spend a weekend climbing outdoors. Routes are mostly catered towards beginner and intermediate climbers, with the majority of routes requiring a rope (only a few bouldering spots here, folks).
Journey a little further west than Malibu and you’ll find this diverse selection of tall sport routes (in fact — some of CA’s tallest). Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains rec area, over 180 sport routes ranging from 5.8 to 5.12 sit just beyond a 45-min approach along rough terrain. While the hike in may have you cursing the crag, keep in mind it’s what keeps the crowds at bay. Fitt Tip: be sure that all your climbers and belayers have helmets for this spot (always a good idea anywhere) as rock falls are pretty frequent on these routes.
Right on the coast and not far from Malibu, CA is a great spot for beginner to intermediate climbers to spend the day hitting some routes with epic ocean views. With two main rockfaces to choose from, these crags are mostly rated 5.10 and below, and even have a few places to set up top-rope anchors. Because of its amazing ocean views, this spot gets busy on the weekends, so be sure to arrive early or check it out on a weekday. Also known as a hot SUP spot, bring your board if you have one, or at least plan on a quick dip in the water post-climb.
Just an hour north of LA near Agua Dulce Springs, this 900-acre park was named after a famous Mexican bandit from the early 19th century who used its large rock formations to hide out from authorities. Now a popular Hollywood film spot, it has roughly 30 documented climbs (mostly top roping), although there are likely many other routes that are climbable. Due to strict park regulations, climbers cannot alter rocks in any way (no bolting) and even the use of trad gear can be strict in some places. Be sure to do your homework before heading out and find routes you can climb safely.
Despite its perfect-for-beginners ratings and relative proximity to the city (only 40 mins away), this spot remains off the map for most, making it an ideal climbing spot even on the weekends. With over 190 routes and roughly 130 of them designated as beginner bouldering ones (think V1-V3), it’s a really excellent way to spend a few hours climbing outside, without needing to haul much gear or have any big-wall skills. Just be sure to rent a crash pad (or two) and employ the spotter-buddy system when bouldering outdoors.
Two hours east of LA in Mount San Jacinto State Park is some of the best multi-pitch trad routes in SoCal. Definitely not for the beginner (notice the name of the rocks), these routes range from one to seven pitches but make for great days of climbing if you have a rack (think: trad climbing gear) and know how to use it. For your safety, know that these awesome granite routes still have some steady rock falls and making sure every climber and belayer has a helmet is a must. Also remember to examine bolts (where they exist) before clipping in, and never re-use leftover gear without thoroughly checking it out.
Find the Best
Rock Climbing Routes
Besides the beautiful coastline Croatia has an amazing climbing scene waiting to be discovered.
Rocklands offers endless possibilities for bouldering on high quality red sandstone and the area has been hyped by professional climbers already for years.
Céüse is a perfect summer destination offering excellent single pitch routes on limestone.
Western Cape, and it’s climbing is spread over a vast area. From the wild Groot Rivier and Old Forest Crags near Plettenberg Bay, right the way across the province to the world-famous walls and boulders of Rocklands in the Cederberg. The journey between the two spans some 600 kilometres and takes about eight hours by road. Between these two areas lies a wealth of the most awesome climbing one could wish to find. In the Cape Peninsula alone, we are spoilt by having five-star cragging a mere stone’s throw away from the bustling heart of the Mother City. An hour’s drive from Cape Town will take you to more scenic crags like the beautiful granite domes of Paarl, the lonely and atmospheric Hellfire Crags dwarfed by the huge Du Toit’s Peak massif, and the quartzitic crags perched on a ridge above the seaside village of Kleinmond. Two hours from Cape Town is the town of Montagu. Climbing was discovered here a few decades ago and since then this little Breede River Valley town has grown to become the undisputed epicentre of sport climbing in the Western Cape, and one of the most popular destinations in the country. Montagu alone could keep most climbers busy for half a lifetime. A few hours further up the road, you will discover SA’s only limestone crag at Oudtshoorn – a beautiful, steep, scooped amphitheatre dripping with tufas. Here you will find some of the country’s hardest routes. If this isn’t enough, the Cederberg Mountains are located a mere two to three hours’ drive up the west coast from Cape Town. To many, the Cederberg needs no introduction, but for the few who have never experienced the magic of this unique mountain kingdom, suffice to say that the Cederberg is one of those special places that takes a hold of your soul and never lets go. Besides some of the best trad climbing on the planet on remote red sandstone walls situated high in the range, the Cederberg is also considered to be one of the top bouldering destinations in the world. You will also find an array of world-class sport climbing crags in this area. There is no question that the Western Cape is a climber’s paradise that can be rivaled by few places on Earth, so pack your sack and head out to sample some of the best climbing to be had.
Alcañiz, also known as the little sister of Albarracín, is a fast developing bouldering area that can easily grow bigger than it’s sister!
Arco is one of the most popular climbing destinations in Europe and a dreamland for anyone into sport climbing or multi pitch.
Suberb rock quality on versatile sectors, tufas and seaview. Kyparissi is an ultimate destination for those willing to test their tufa endurance!
Åland (also known as Ahvenanmaa in Finnish) islands are a gorgeous destination on the Baltic Sea in between of Finland and Sweden. Åland provide world-class bouldering, a little of rope climbing, and tons of activities for the rest days. Crags provide spectacular views over the ocean and the rough island nature. The Åland islands have three large boulder areas which could be called the classics: Djupviksgrottorna, Fågelberget, and Kasviken. Djupviksgrottorna, or Grottan in short, has big roofs, plenty of jugs and style in general is very similar to indoor routes. The rock is red granite which gets a beautiful glowing colour during sunset. The place provides fun and challenging routes for everyone from first timers to very experienced climbers. Fågelberget is a seaside cliff with a stunning view. It takes about an hour to hike there, but it’s definitely worth it. In general, the routes are more spread out than in other two main areas. The rock quality is smooth. There are not that many routes for beginners, but the area has great quality routes from 5+/6A onwards up to 8B+. Kasviken is a forestry area providing a large concentration of hard routes. It has the shortest access and during summer it usually stays cooler than other two crags. These three, which are covered as Premium topos, will keep you busy for a long time, but there’s also several medium-sized and smaller crags which can be found from as community topos. The season in Åland is often a bit longer compared to the mainland of Finland as it tends to stay warmer and drier. The best and driest period is spring (March-May) but you can often climb all the way until October if you don’t mind the warmer temperatures during summer and the bigger chance for rain in the autumn. You can travel to Åland islands either by boat or plane. It is quite cheap to bring your own car by boat and it’s recommended as it will make your life a lot easier because the public transportation is not very good in the island. You can take a direct ferry to Åland’s capital Mariehamn either from Helsinki, Turku, or Stockholm. There are several companies and campgrounds providing rental cabins and places for a tent. The shops and restaurants are easy to visit by car, but otherwise the distances are quite long. Please be aware of ticks while in Åland. The season starts around April May and lasts till the first night frosts. A large share of ticks carry diseases in the Åland, but daily tick checks should keep you safe. While at rocks, remember following: · Don’t block road while parking · Don’t walk too close to houses or fields · Clean trashes and tick marks
Cresciano is a beautiful and compact bouldering area in the Ticino area. With more than 1000 problems it offers a wide variety of boulders for all tastes.
Margalef, situated in Tarragona, Spain, is a true conglomerate climbing dreamland. The area has been rapidly growing since it was established about 20 years ago and currently covers more than 1 400 routes. Even though it’s especially known for super hard routes and sends, you’re guaranteed to find plenty of high quality routes also for beginners and intermediate climbers – there’s about 600 routes in 5th and 6th grade! The rock itself is conglomerate often filled with pockets, and the area is surrounded by beautiful National Park of Montsant. The best climbing seasons are spring and autumn, but when choosing the shady routes it’s possible to climb even in the summer! Margalef is also great for families thanks to versatile routes, generally short approaches and safe belaying areas. These amazing .premium topos have been made by Maya Ayupova and Vicent Palau, who have tremendously contributed to the development of the area since 2008 and are also authors of the Climbing Margalef Guidebook.
In short time Leonidio has established it’s place as one of the most exciting new sport climbing areas.
Badami is located 150km North West of Hampi, and is home to some of the best sport climbing in India.
Looking for easily reachable world class climbing area that has still remained undiscovered? Or maybe you’re interested in versatile routes on limestone and marble combined with possibility for city sightseeing and cultural activities? Look no further. Athens area offers more than 1000 single pitch bolted lines in more than 40 crags and new routes are constantly popping up. In addition there are 4 multi pitch walls with trad lines, plenty of bouldering and a lot of potential for deep water solo. Limestone in Athens comes in a surprising variety of shapes and colors and can create climbing wonders ranging from sheer desperate slabs to highly featured, tufa infested walls. Tufa climbing has a strong presence in the area. In fact, the city’s best sport climbing crags can certainly rival those of Kalymnos’ in tufa climbing goodness. Undisputed king among the tufa kingdoms of Athens is the lost world of Mavrosouvala, a totally otherworldly place in the middle of nowhere. The craziest thing about this majestic stalactite forest is that very few Athenians actually know about its existence. Tufas might be the hype of the era but the true uniqueness of Athens climbing certainly lies on its 2000+ year old man-made marble quarries where the ancient extraction scars are still visible. Apart from its antiquity, marble climbing is very unique in its climbing kinesiology, forming an exceptional mental and physical challenge. Despite its hardcore reputation, Athens has moved forward into being into a climbing destination for all tastes and skills. Many new crags boast a variety for easy routes for beginner climbers. These high quality topos are made by local climber Georgios Chaziris, who’s the co-author of Athens Climbing Guidebook.
Bohuslän is a trad climber’s paradise which offers potentially the best single pitch trad routes in the world.
Gran Canaria might be mostly known as a winter holiday destination for beach lovers, but besides this the island has a lot to offer for climbers. There’s hundreds of of sport climbing routes, bouldering and trad which will easily fill your days there! The highest point of the island lies at 1948m and the mountain is very high in relation to its perimeter. This results in two very different areas in terms of weather: the humid and windy North and the dry and calm South. The climbing areas can be found in the North, South and middle of the island and due to the relatively small size of the island it’s possible to visit many different crags during one trip. Nevertheless, it’s good to check the crags you want to visit prior booking your accommodation in order to optimise the driving time. Gran Canaria suits climbers in all levels and the style varies from vertical basalt walls with long fingery routes to overhangs with big pockets and juggy ledges. When it comes to the season, during summer it might get too warm for climbing but the island has almost bullet proof weather in winter. Rain is rare and the temperatures stay pleasant at around 10-18 degrees. Gran Canaria is also a great place for families. Especially areas like Sorrueada and Tamadaba are fantastic for the whole family. There’s also bouldering in the island, and especially Mogan offers plenty of problems in different grades and styles. You’ll find the community topos of Mogan by typing the name in the search bar! When having a rest from climbing there’s plenty of other activities and sightseeing to explore. To name a few, the island offers great opportunities for mountain biking, surfing and hiking. From the main city, Las Palmas, you can find some great restaurants and shopping malls, as well as climbing shops. If you’re into long sandy beaches, then the South is the best place to head to. These topos are made by local climbers including Roque Lorenzo, Xerach Augusto, Adrian Marrero, Iris Pasamón, Norberto Cabrera and Christian Fernández del Valle. By using these topos you support the local climbing development and (re-)bolting in Gran Canaria.
La Dehesa can be described as a forest full of boulders, overhangs and crimps in an exceptionally beautiful setting. It is a truly special area!
Kalymnos is one of the most popular sport climbing destinations in the world. Known for super steep tufa lines, but there is so much more!
For many climbers, Siurana doesn’t need much of an introduction.
Belgium has a lot to offer. Beers, chocolate, fries with mussels, manneke pis,… But above all, the climbing does not disappoint.
Hoyamoros is a unique alpine bouldering destination situated in the west part of Spain, at an altitude of 2200m above sea level.
With amazing bouldering on swiss gneiss and stunning mountain scenery Magic Wood truly deserves its name.
Ever fancied bouldering in a zoo in Thailand? This is exactly what Zoolander is all about. Truly an exotic destination for those looking for something new!
Sogndal is a stunning area located at the largest fjord on the west coast of southern Norway. It’s also a great destination for climbers!
When you want to combine relaxed sport climbing, sea and culture, Nafplio is your choice.
People know Luxembourg for it’s tax-free fuel and bank matters, but it also hosts an amazing sandstone sport climbing area.
Albarracín, also known as the “Spanish Fontainebleau”, is a sandstone bouldering paradise. Situated close to Teruel, in the middle of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, it is easily reachable from many airports. The climbing is on high quality red sandstone and offers a great amount of indoor style roofs and overhangs. Besides these Albarracín offers different styles ranging from slabs to some of the worlds hardest top outs! One could though say that a typical Albarracín problem starts with a pockety roof and ends with a mantel on slopers. Due to its unique location in 1200 meters above sea level, Albarracín has almost bulletproof weather. It offers a very dry and coldish climate which suits bouldering perfectly. In addition to climbing, the surroundings and the village itself is a reason why many people travel here. Albarracín is also extremely well suitable for families. Some areas maybe less because of the hike but many areas are close to good paths. Bouldering close to one of the most beautiful villages in the world on great sandstone can’t be that terrible of a travel choice? Topos maintained by Albarracín climbing association formed by local climbers who are supporting the forest and the climbing in the region! As in all the climbing areas, behaving correctly is crucial. No littering, no climbing on wet rock, brush away all the tick marks and stay on the obvious paths. In addition, it is forbidden to climb during the night in Albarracín, so no headlamp sessions allowed.
Fontainebleau is the most popular bouldering destination in the world and a must visit place for every climber.
Montsant is known for its long line of conglomerate cliffs and it’s a great addition to a trip to Siurana and Margalef!
Montenegro is one of the beautiful Balkan countries with spectacular mountains, medieval villages and pretty beaches along its Adriatic coastline. The country has a huge potential for all types of climbing and it’s getting more popular each year. Montenegro is an excellent destination for climbers who are looking to explore something new, appreciate easy logistics and like tufa climbing. When considering its climate, relatively low prices, easy access to crags, still unrevealed potential of routes and other activities besides climbing, Montenegro is a truly attractive country for a climbing trip. The easy approaches makes it also a good destination for families! The rock is good quality limestone and even though tufas are the most prominent structure, it is possible to find a good variety of styles including slabs, vertical walls, caves, overhang and others. In addition to sport climbing Montenegro also offers bouldering, multi pitch, trad and DWS. Currently Montenegro has around 350 sport climbing routes and 130 boulder problems. Besides these there are many small crags which have some easy multi pitch and traditional routes. You can find more information about each sector from the links below and all the topos of the existing crags in Montenegro will be soon added. In addition these topos will stay up to date with the new routes and sectors! The best season for climbing in the area are spring and fall. In the summer, if the humidity is not too high, it is possible climb in the shade. During the winter months, due to the increasing number of rainy days and high potential for seepage from tufas, it’s hard to find dry routes. When it comes to culture, the cuisine of Montenegro is very rich and you can easily find a variety of dishes in local places. During the summer months, the cities alongside the Adriatic coastal line are always alive and offer a diverse social life. The cities located on north, east and west parts of the country like capital city Podgorica, Cetinje, Kolasin, Zabljak offer peaceful city life with different opportunities from movie theatres and recreational activities to hiking opportunities on the spectacular mountains of Montenegro. These topos are made by a passionate local climber and developer Ersin Baş with the support of Srdjan Lecic, Valentin Sattek, Joshua Cook, Jack Clarkson, Klemen Becan and Anja Becan. Besides the topo’s displayed on this page, have a look at Skaljari, which is a great crag in the 7a-8b range. The crag and it’s community topo’s are mainly developed by Joshua Cook .
The capital region of Finland offers a lot of versatile climbing in all levels. There’s options all the way from beach crags to quiet forestry surroundings!
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Top 22 Rock Climbing Destinations Around Asia
Having picked up rock climbing just over 5 years now, this crazy fun outdoor sport has brought me places all around Asia, Europe and soon to be USA. I have never thought would be possible. Whether you are a novice rock climber or a beginner who has just gotten your level 2 rock climbing certificate, here’s compiling the Best Asia outdoor rock climbing destinations. This sport is affordable, popular and most importantly, great for moving climbing into the great outdoors.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your trusty rock climbing shoes and gear and lets do some sport climbing!
Asia Outdoors Rock Climbing Destinations – Top 22
1. Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves, the nearest destination from Singapore just 45 minutes away by flight. This stunning cave nest in Bukit Tukun KL is not just popular for the Grand Hindu cave temple, it is also a hot spot for some great granite rock climbing.
Multi-Pitch Point – at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur. Trembling in fear to take this shot~! | Best Climbing Asia Destinations
There are 3 very popular spots for climbing here, Damai Wall, Nanyang Wall and Nyamuk Wall. They have varying degree of difficulty depending on your experience level. If you are a beginner, start off at Damai Wall, with plenty of easy routes with large jug-gy holds.
Damai Rock Wall with its infamous cave | Rock climbing in KL Malaysia| Rock climbing near me Climb all day long at Nanyang Wall. Ended up posing for photos | Rock climbing in KL Malaysia | Rock climbing near me
Look out for the occasional monkey with white panda eyes, always curious to see us ‘monkey-like’ humans scaling his grounds.
2. Bukit Takun, Malaysia
Bukit Takun has an impressive limestone formation, measuring about 300 meters in height, that is located just a half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. You’ll find both single and multi-pitch routes, most of which are bolted, and range from beginner to expert difficulty. Bukit Takun is also located conveniently close to Batu Caves, so you can definitely visit both in the same trip.
3. Bukit Keteri, Malaysia
Located in Perlis, about a 4-5 hour drive outside of Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Keteri is a climbing area that the climbing routes was bolted by members of the Mammut and Camp 5 team bolting expedition. Offering about 50 routes, this area is less-frequented compared to the other popular spots, so you should be aware of old rusty bolts or unmaintained routes.
All in all, Malaysia has so much incredible climbing spots, and if you need a little break, there is plenty to see from tropical fruit farms, kampongs to city lights.
Looking for recommendations of the Best Climbing Gear and Brands to go for?
Check out my personal picks.
4. Krabi Railey Island, Thailand
Rock climbing in Krabi Thailand. Photo credited to Si Ying | Best Climbing Destinations
The most popular rock climbing in Southeast Asia is here in Krabi Thailand. What makes this location so popular with both Asians, as well as international climbers all around the world, is due to a perfect match between amazing climbing routes and lovely island lifestyle. Gorgeous beaches, beautiful snorkelling sites and great Thai food.
Stunning beaches and rock formations at Railey Beach in Thailand. Rock Climber’s dream paradise | Best Climbing Destinations
Krabi has endless climbing spots, but the ones that most people start off with are ABC Wall and Thaiwand Wall. They are good warming up spots to prepare you for the next few days of climbing.
Krabi deep water solo – a must try for adrenaline seekers | Best Climbing Destinations
Krabi is also known for deep water solo, a must try for all adrenaline junkies who have a knack for ..craziness. They also have deep water solo in places like Halong Bay in Vietnam. I tried it with a group of 5 friends here i Krabi and it was by far the craziest activity I have ever attempted so far.
Deep water solo needs to be accompanied by a tour group, and safety of deep water solo spots needs to adhere to. For rock climbing class bookings and half day/ full day tours, you can always book there directly, either on Railay, Ton Sai or Ko Phi Phi.
5. Crazy Horse in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Asia Outdoor rock climbing destinations – Crazy Horse in Chiang Mai. Photo credited to allchiangmaitours
Crazy Horse is probably the most notorious route in Chiang Mai. This popular climbing area has great ‘air condition’ temperature cooling weather at certain times of the year. They attract those who do not fancy the sweltering heat of Krabi, Thailand. Be surrounded by a cool bamboo forest, soak in hot springs and even take a scooter ride to explore the surrounding hills on your rest days.
Rock Climbing in southeast asia at Crazy Horse Buttress Chiang Mai Caves Mae Hong Son Loop. Stunning overhang route. Photo credited to mkwild | Rock climbing Asia Outdoors
The Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Association (CMRCA) has US trained guides for those who are more inexperienced and would feel safer to be accompanied by a certified climbing guide. To get to Chiang Mai, there are many affordable budget flights from Bangkok as low as US$25 one way, or if you are coming from Singapore, there are direct flights with budget and full fright airlines.
If you are interested in taking climbing to the next level and experience Multi Pitch climbing, there is great routes here in Thailand)
6. Long Dong, Taiwan
Rock Climbing on sand stone rock in Longdong Jiufen in Taiwan | Best Climbing Destinations
Known for its stunning coastal views and sandstone rock formations, the next place featured for the Asia outdoor rock climbing destinations is none other than Long Dong Taiwan. This spot is extremely beautiful, especially for people who love the sea breeze and hear the crashing waves.
Downhill to the rock climbing zones in Longdong Taiwan | Rock climbing in Asia
So far, this climbing spot commands the most beautiful photos, and looking back it still wows me occasionally. To get there, it requires a long train ride followed by a bus to get from Taiwan to Long Dong, Jiufen. Situated at the northern part of Taiwan, this rustic coastal area is still rather remote and not too touristy yet, so the people here aren’t exactly able to speak some basic English.
Scary Selfie at the top of the rock climbing route in Longdong Taiwan | Best Climbing Destinations Beautiful view of waves crashing against the shore while resting between climbs | Rock climbing in Asia
However climbing here was lovely. So many areas to explore, and to get to these climbing spots require a bit of traversing, hiking and small climbing. Quite an adventure I must say.
Crazy stunning sea view as you attempt the different rock climbing routes in Longdong Jiufen
Warning, make sure you go in the correct season and not typhoon season, you can potentially get stranded at the climbing area when the storm suddenly comes.
7. Rehai, Near Taipei
Considered to be the best climbing area around Taipei, Rehai is primarily a sport-climbing crag offering beginner and intermediate routes. The crag offers a variety of slab and overhanging routes on volcanic andesite rock, just be aware that it’s much easier to access if you have a car. Though it’s located pretty close to Taipei, it doesn’t receive much traffic, so hopefully you will be able to enjoy some peaceful climbing.
8. Shou Shan Mountain, Khaosiung City
Located on the island’s southwest coast in Shoushan Nature Park, this crag offers a collection of high-quality limestone sport routes that could make it comparable to Crazy Horse in Thailand. You’ll find mainly intermediate routes on interesting, drippy features, along with some quality crimpy face climbing. It is located near the entrance to the visitor centre. However, do note that rock climbing in Khaosiung is prohibited now due to more frequent rock fall that area, and they have attempted to fence off the area, but people still secretly find ways to do so.
Don’t forget to check out the incredible hot pot restaurant right at the bottom of the hill after a good day of climbing.
While rock climbing is NOT labelled as an extreme sport, its still hard to find Travel Insurance that covers it. Check out those that do
9. Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
Climbing in Cat Ba in Vietnam. Photo credited to Truly-Traveled.com | Rock climbing in Asia
Have not set foot on Vietnam yet, but when I get the chance, this Cat Ba Island is on my list. Vietnam, known for its stunning cliff formations, rivers and Padi mountainous field, am not surprised why this country doesn’t have the right climate, rock formations and scenic draw factors to attract climbers from its surrounding neighbouring countries.
Best Outdoor Rock Climbing Destinations can be found in Cat Ba Island Vietnam. Photo credited to cobs.org | Best Climbing Destinations
One thing that many has tried is also deep water solo at Halong Bay, a major tourist attraction in Vietnam, where many tourists experience live onboard cruise experience as they visit all these lovely cliffy spots, looking so tempting to a climber’s keen eye.
10. Huu Lung, Near Hanoi
Located north of Hanoi, Huu Lung is a beautiful, peaceful climbing area with both single and multi-pitch climbing routes. The routes are pretty newly bolted by VietClimb, and you can enjoy long, picturesque routes. Be sure to bring sufficient quickdraws for each climb and count how many you require before you start climbing!
Climbing in Asia is sure to be memorable.
11. Halong Bay, Vietnam
Cat Ba Island isn’t the only sport climbing that Vietnam’s Halong Bay has to offer. Crags such as Tiger Beach and the Amphitheatre offer routes ranging from 4+ to 8a (5.8-5.13) so climbers of all abilities can enjoy Vietnam’s spectacular limestone rock in this area.
You can’t beat those views!
12. Yangshuo, China
Yangshuo Grit Route at Moonhill. Photo credited to alexreshikov.com | Rock climbing in Asia
The pictures people took at this destination is enough to make you burn with desire to go. Here’s the next Asia outdoor rock climbing destinations – Yangshuo in China.
The notorious wall is situated at The Moon Hill ( Yue Liang Shan), one of the major scenic and iconic climbing spot in Yangshuo. We have heard that there is even glass bottle of alcohol places in cracks along the climb as a reward for those who have scaled that high…
Abseiling down from Moonhill in Yangshuo – image credited to topguilintravel l Rock climbing in Asia
A Must Do – wake up early to catch one of the best sunrises in the world, with a stunning view of the mountains covered in a sea of mist. Sure to leave you spellbound.
The stunning natural beauty of Yangshuo in China. Amazing rock climber’s paradise. Photo credited to lycheetravel | Rock climbing in Asia
13. White River, Near Beijing
Considered by many to be the birthplace of rock climbing in China, White River is located right outside of the Beijing suburbs. Consisting mainly of granite single-pitch sport routes, the crag is a large area offering mainly sport routes in the intermediate range. You can find the most detailed guide here.
14. Si Du, Near Beijing
Also located right outside of Beijing, Si Du is a relaxed climbing area on the tranquil Juma River. Offering mainly beginner and intermediate routes, Si Du is a popular area for amateur climbers. White River and Si Du could be great crag options if you’re looking to combine a climbing trip with a trip to check out China’s capital city of Beijing!
There are endless climbs in Asia-which area will you choose?
Travel frequently in Asia but never have enough time for outdoor climbing? Maybe this list of top bouldering gyms in Asia is a better solution to keep up the climbing.
15. Dairy Farm Climbing Reserve/ Quarry in Singapore
Outdoor Nature Dairy farm Climbing at Singapore | Rock climbing near me
There is a natural rock climbing wall in Singapore? Who would have thought?
But yes, especially shouting out to Singaporeans, you can check Dairy Farm at Bukit Timah Road area, the nearest situated mall is the Rail Mail. This place is popular for bikers, hikers alike, families with young ones given the natural abundant trails and rich forestry.
View of the forest below at one of the top anchors at Dairyfarm Singapore. The life of a female rock climber
Just take note to be careful to check your routes before you embark on a Dairy Farm climb, there is ongoing rock movements due to the climate here in Singapore ( rain and shine all year round), so loose rock is a common occurence.
Rock climbing in southeast asia | Rock climbing near me
Laos is one of our favourite places in South East Asia. If you start from the north at Luang Prabang, you can slowly make your way down, crossing Vang Vieng and down to Thak Hek where all the best and incredible climbing spots are. Remember to come in the good season, it rains a lot in May – Sep.
16. Thakhek, Laos
Though climbing in Laos has less than 20 years of history, the country has quite a bit to offer. The largest climbing area in Laos, Thakhek is located in the southern part of the country, not as frequent by travellers to Laos. One of the most incredible places to climb in southeast area, you can be guaranteed pristine seclusion away from the traffic, tourists and tour groups. The entire climbing area is deeper in away from the main road and just made up of incredible crags, lush forests, rivers, beautiful butterflies and the occasional climber around the corner.
Some of the best crags for climbers in the grade of 5c to 6a would be Swiss Oldies, Tree Canyon, World’s End and G-Spot. One of the best routes Cez and I have ever tried in our lived are here as it has a good mix between awesome jugs, balancy moves, cracks, roofs, tufas, good footholds and really fun bridging. Routes are long and trains endurance, so you’re almost guaranteed to need an 80-meter rope. You can check out the Green Climbers Home for crag information and accommodation in the area! We were at Thakhek in May and it was just the tail end of the spring season, before the monsoon season hits and climbing area plus Green Climbers Home close for the season and reopen in September or October.
17. Vang Vieng, Laos
Located just a 3-hour bus ride from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, Vang Vieng is a beautiful climbing area that used to be a partier’s paradise. However, nowadays, the party crowd has died off and what it currently is has become a miniature version of Korea town. Aside from the city area which Cez and I were not a big fan of, take a tuk-tuk out to the climbing spots with a picturesque crag with views of the Nam Song River.
There are quite a few climbing areas, but we went to Sleeping Wall for a day climb, which is located across a little river. The area offers about 200 routes between the 5a-8a (5.9-5.13) grades, so you’ll be sure to find something perfect for your abilities. You can hear the occasional screams from people across the river doing some ziplining. This climbing place was also Cez’s first time trying outdoor rock climbing and that is how he fell in love with it. Local outdoor adventure companies like Adam’s Climbing School offer options for day rock climbing courses, guided trips or transportation to the crag in the area if you’d like an expert local climbing guide to show you around the crag. Some of these guides we chatted with are so good that they can climb a 6b route barefooted or in slippers (I would strongly NOT encourage anyone else to consider that)
Laos offers beautiful landscapes and sprawling cliffs.
– CAMBODIA –
We were based in Cambodia for 3 months in 2019, and beside eating tones of incredible Khmer cuisine and food in Phnom Penh city, we also managed to do some good climbing in the climbing gym PhnomClimb as well as outdoors!
There are 2 known outdoor climbing areas in Cambodia, one is near Phnom Penh, and the other at Kampot Province.
18. Kampot Province
The climbing area is maintained by Climbodia and you can climb both outside the cave as well as inside. Really cooling and sheltered even in summer heat or rainy season.
19. Mount Katsu, in Okinawa
Located in Katsuyama, on the isolated island of Okinawa, this is one of Japan’s best sport climbing areas. The crag offers a wide variety of climbing, from crimps to slopers to jugs, along with routes for both beginners and experts alike. The area has over 60 climbs, and you can find logistical information, such as how to reach the area and where the climbs are located, on Mountain Project. It’s quite the journey to make it all the way over to Mount Katsu, but you’ll be sure to have an adventure.
20. Ogawayama, Near Tokyo
You will find Ogawayama only about a 3-hour drive from the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, making it an easily accesible crag that is certainly worth the visit. Upon arriving you’ll find cliffs and boulders spread throughout a beautiful, tranquil valley. The easiest way to access is with a car, but once you’re there, you’ll find hundreds of beautiful granite routes, most of which are slab climbs, with some crack and even roof climbing as well. Aside from sport climbing, you’ll also find some of the best outdoor bouldering in Asia in Japan, and Ogawayama is a great place to go if you’re looking to get some bouldering in.
Japan’s famous Mt. Fuji isn’t the only place for climbing in Japan.
Remember to get yourself covered before you head off to do rock climbing overseas!
21. Grampians, in Melbourne
If you’re looking to do some rock climbing in Melbourne, the Grampians is your best bet. Offering some of the best sandstone routes in the world, this climbing area is perfect for anyone with a visit to Melbourne in mind. With thousands of routes and boulders, here you can find some of the best outdoor bouldering as well as sport climbing. Visitors should be aware of recent climbing restrictions in the park, but not to fear, as there are still many high-quality routes that can still be climbed. Grampians National Park is located just northwest of Melbourne, on the southeast part of the continent.
Asia doesn’t just have great sport climbing…check out the many bouldering options as well!
If you never tried outdoor bouldering, check out this article about what to expect when its your first time.
22. Blue Mountains, at Sydney
Just a short drive, less than 2 hours, west of Sydney you will find some of Australia’s best and most varied sport climbing. You should keep in mind that this area is better suited to intermediate and advanced climbers, as many of the beginner routes tend to be choosy and sketchy, but the more experienced climber will find themselves in a sandstone paradise. However, beginners can head over to Mt. Victoria for climbs that suit their level. The climbing style mainly consists of face climbing on crimps with a slight overhang, though you can find slab and steep overhangs as well.
Imagine climbing these seaside cliffs on the Australian coast.
So satisfied with the list of
22 best climbing destinations in Asia Pacific?
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- All of Europe | Greece | Spain | Montenegro | Macedonia | Czech Republic
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- All of Africa
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New York Climbing
Rock Climbing in New York State consists of three main regions: the world-famous Gunks, properly called the Shawangunks; the Adirondacks, a vast state park with dozens of crags scattered across an area the size of Rhode Island; and Moss Island, a small crag near Little Falls. Several other areas exist, e.g. bouldering in Central Park, the Timp in Harriman Park, as well as many places of questionable access and/or worth.
With the rise of Sport Climbing, several places once illegal and/or dangerous to climb at now bristle with gleaming metal, providing another facet to NYS’s menu. Many of these places still exist under tenuous legal conditions, so check with the locals and be discrete.
A few crags relegated to the dustbin of history have been revived. These include places like the “Powerlinez”, a crag that saw occasional traffic up to the early 80s but then became off-limits and fell into obscurity; and Thacher State Park, which finally opened to legal climbing in 2017.
The main rock climbing venues are near the eastern side of the state, so folks out in Rochester, Buffalo, etc. have a tough time of it – they’re either traveling a long ways, pumping plastic, sneaking into the Niagara gorge, or driving across the border to climb in Canada.
Ice climbing is a bit more evenly spread out. The Adirondacks holds the most reliable and extensive ice, but the Catskills generally forms a lot of good ice as well, and the Finger Lakes Region boasts a few lesser-known classic lines (many of which, alas, are not legal to ascend).
Alpine climbing is limited to the Adirondacks, though a few Catskill peaks come close. None of the mountains are particularly tall – Mt. Marcy, at 5,344′ is the highest – but the weather is capricious and runs the extremes. Winter ascents of the High Peaks can be very serious endeavors, especially when climbing a classic line such as the Trap Dike or Gothics North Face.
Although a small state compared to the big West, travel in NY, especially to its mountainous regions, can be tricky. Public transport is decent within two hours of NYC along the major transport corridors, but off these or farther away, and car rental, good maps, and good luck are required.
The great majority of visitors arrive in New York City; for those who do, the Gunks is a 2 hour bus ride to reach, and is definitely the place to go for rock climbing. The Catskills is a bit farther north, and having a car is almost mandatory, particularly during ice season. The Adirondacks is 4 to 5 hours away, and also requires a car. Moss Island lies along Interstate 90 and busses stop in the neighboring town of Little Falls mountainproject.com/v/power… mountainproject.com/v/thach… Thacher State Park
ALL THE BEST INDOOR ROCK CLIMBING GYMS IN NYC RIGHT NOW
Whether you’re a climbing enthusiast in the city where there’s no places to climb outdoors, or you’re just looking to jazz up your weekend adventures and workout routine, there are tons of indoor rock climbing gyms in the Big Apple to hit up. Check out the best climbing facilities where you can train hard, dabble in bouldering, and climb to new heights.
Everyday Athlete’s Brooklyn Heights studio is wrapped in a 2,500-square-foot custom rock climbing wall. A ceiling grid allows for overhead props like yoga hammocks, rings, and bungees. Making use of every inch of space—New Yorker-style—their hybrid bootcamp classes offer cardio and strength training that happens both on the floor and up the wall. The recently opened One Brooklyn Bridge studio—which is just three blocks from the OG gym—features 4,600 square feet of scalable faux-rock. At both gyms, you should expect to see plenty of sports equipment, like resistance bands and kettlebells, in addition to the climbing holds. You can start hanging with this borough’s bouldering community as early as 6am and as late as 10pm.
This giant facility in Chelsea is one of the largest indoor rock climbing gyms in Manhattan, boasting over 11,000 square feet of craggy terrain. With that much real estate to work with, your calluses will have calluses, and your lats will have lats in no time. Novices can sign up for one-on-one lessons while more advanced climbers can get right to dangling. If you can’t get enough, make your way over to their spot on the Hudson River, book a private lesson, and climb to new heights.
More and more Manhattanites and Brooklynites are making the trek to The Cliffs in Long Island City to get the grip, strength, and skills they need to take their climbing skills outside. Whether you’re brand new to the sport or already a seasoned climber, they’ve got a class catered to honing your skills and upping your psyche. Think top-rope lessons, basics, sports lead intro, and tons of classes designed to prepare you for outdoor climbing. Plus, they host “Ladies Who Love Climbing” clinics, so it’s a go-to for women looking to meet some climbing buddies. In the summer, they open an outdoor bouldering wall as well—The Cliffs at DUMBO.
They say it’s all about who you know in New York, and that’s true for using this climbing area. This facility at the gym on the NYU campus is for both the novice and the super-skilled climber (there are six levels) and is available to non-students for $10 fee if signed in by a student. The Rock Wall area boasts a 30-foot-high Nicros A.R.T. wall (which is the kind of wall that offers the most realistic climbing experience) and a bouldering cave that spans two floors.
With one gym snuggled right in the heart of NYC—Lexington Ave.—and the other on 126th and Broadway, it’s no surprise that Steep Rock Bouldering is considered the quaintest climbing gym in the city. The Lex Ave. outpost may be a tight squeeze, but being that both studios feature climbing routes that change bi-weekly and offer many different kinds of holds, boredom is never an issue. Bonus: they’re open until 11pm on weeknights, making it a surprisingly good after-work date.
With a mindset reminiscent of yoga, the MPHC rock climbing gym is all about athletes finding their inner strength. This Midtown getaway offers a 5,000-square-foot climbing playground with routes changing weekly, keeping things fresh and challenging for climbers of all ages and abilities. But if you’re a newbie to the sport, we recommend taking advantage of the welcoming staff’s knowledge of the sport. They’ll give you the lowdown on all your most pressing climbing questions. Equipped with showers, a sauna, steam room, two hot tubs, and a pool, you’re basically signing up for 365 days of staycation if you join the club.
Climbing gyms are becoming increasingly popular across the city, but what sets MetroRock apart is that it’s equal parts badass and welcoming. Based in New England, MetroRock has two locations in Massachusetts and one in Vermont, but the Brooklyn location rocks has a fitness and yoga studio alongside the climbing walls. Plus, MetroRock is just as passionate about climbing as it is about community, so you’ll quickly find that the gym is a hangout for New Yorkers who really love the sport.
This Brooklyn warehouse turned rock gym welcomes fitness fanatics, beginner climbers, and boulder badasses alike. With over 300 routes at all levels of difficulty, 22,000 square feet of climbing surface and climbing instruction available, Brooklyn Boulders in Gowanus guarantees a flurry of activity at any time of day. This hang spot also offers AcroYoga, Yoga for Climbers, a core-sculpting class called Climber Core, slack-lining classes, and a bootcamp for those craving a different kind of challenge. Need more convincing? There is also a members’ lounge, free WiFi, and an even larger sister facility in Queens.
Rising to 35 feet, Aviator Rock boasts the tallest indoor rock climbing wall in Brooklyn. But this classic indoor rock climbing wall has plenty of options for climbers of all experience levels. They also offer the most space for kids of any of the gyms listed, so you can bring your climber-in-the-making and get a whole different sort of adrenaline rush watching them take on the holds. Just make sure you call ahead before making the trek to Flatbush — they’re often closed to the public for private birthday parties.
For Upper West Siders and boulderers who are willing travel to scale, Central Rock Gym may be your new hangout spot. The facility features over 400 linear feet of bouldering for climbing virgins and pros alike. Just don’t expect any ropes or harnesses — bouldering is their sport of choice. After a one-on-one lesson for newbies, grab a Kill Cliff, hang in the large central area to borrow some beta from other climbers, or tap into the free WiFi and relax.
Adirondack Rock Climbing
Upstate New York Rock Climbing
At six million acres, hikers, paddlers, skiers, and mountaineers can access even the most remote areas of the Adirondack Park. For rock climbers, some of the best routes can be found deep in the wilderness or right off the highway. Either way – there’s always a new line to follow and an interesting way to get there.
In the Adirondack Park, granite is the dominant rock and you’ll find steep blank faces, splitter cracks, crags, cliffs that jut out over lakes and very few people. Some of New York’s best rock climbing routes can be found right in the Adirondacks.
Adirondack Crags and Cracks
- Long Pond Cliff near Indian Lake is a remote crag riding above Long Pond. At 80 to 150 feet tall, it offers incredible views and, given its off-the-beaten-path location, is one of least climbed rocks in the Adirondacks. Access via Indian Lake and canoe to John Mack Landing. A trail leads for 3 miles into the pond. Difficulty ranges from 5.3 to 5.8.
- Echo Cliff near Piseco offers challenging crack climbs overlooking scenic Piseco Lake. Access from route 8 and follow West Shore Road along the lakeshore. The trailhead is located half a mile from Little Sand Point Campground. Difficulty ranges from 5.4 to 5.10a.
- Cascade Lakes between Lake Placid and Keene offers some of the best-known climbing in the Adirondacks – for good reason. Find varied rock and classic Adirondack climbing routes – from Barkeater Cliff to Pitchoff Chimney Cliff. Access just off Route 73. Difficulty ranges from 5.3 to 5.10a.
- Poke-O-Moonshine near Keeseville and Lake Champlain is one of the Adirondack Region’s premier cliffs for rock climbing. Expect a steep wall, clean cracks and plenty of natural lines. Three sections, including a waterfall, make this a great climb for experienced groups. Access via Exit 33 on I-87 and travel south on Route 9 for 4 miles. There is a parking area at the closed state campground. Difficulty ranges from 5.6 to 5.11a.
- McKenzie Pond in Ray Brook – Located near Saranac Lake, this forest of glacial erratic offers slabs, roofs, traverses, and highballs. Large granite boulders offer easy climbing challenges for beginners and plenty of moderately difficult routes to keep everyone occupied. Travel along Route 86 towards Saranac Lake from Lake Placid, taking a right onto McKenzie Pond Road in the town of Ray Brook. There is a sandy pull off about a quarter mile down the road and the trail will be marked nearby.
One of the Adirondacks most unusual climbing experiences can be found at Rogers Rock. This Lake George region climb features a slab that rises more than 700 feet out of Lake George, which is best approached from the water. Put in at the Roger’s Rock Public Campground on Route 9N, about 3 miles north of Hague and enjoy a camping trip and challenging climbing experience on Lake George.
Overnight Adirondack rock climbing experiences are available throughout the Adirondack Mountains. Hire a licensed climbing guide or plan an expedition with friends.
Adirondack Rock Climbing Guides and Outfitters
- Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service – Located in Keene, this guiding center offers licensed and experienced full-service lodging and guiding center to the Adirondacks’ best climbing spots. Rates depend on the number of climbers in your party. Private guiding rates start at $110 per person for a group of three. Keene, NY 12942. (518) 576-2041.
- Cloudsplitter Guides – Located in Keene Valley, Cloudsplitter offers private guiding, climbing schools, summit climbs, as well as ski touring and alpine and backcountry climbing with licensed guides. Members of the American Mountain Guides Association of certified rock instructors. Rates depend on the number of people in your group and start at $74 per person for four people and one guide. 1900 Route 73 Keene Valley, NY 12943, (518) 576-9096.
- Adirondack Mountain Guides – Located in Keene, they offer rock and ice climbing with certified guides, as well as paddling and hiking excursions. Certified by American Mountain Guides Association. Rates depend on the number of climbers in the group. For groups of 10, rates start at $79 per person. Keene, NY (518) 576-9556.
- High Peaks Mountain Adventures Guide Service – Located in Lake Placid, High Peak’s certified staff offer climbing excursions, mountain biking, paddling, hiking and backpacking treks, as well as telemark skiing, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Rates vary depending on the difficulty of the expedition. For a half-day, two-person beginner trip, rates start at $240 for up to three people. 2733 Main Street, Lake Placid, NY 12946 (518) 523-3764.
- Alpine Adventures – Located in Keene, Alpine Adventure’s certified mountain guides offer guided rock and ice climbing trips, as well as mountaineering and backcountry skiing expeditions. Prices vary and are available upon request. 10873 Route 9N, Keene, NY 12942. (518) 576-9881.
- Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School – Located in Lake Placid, this climbing school’s certified climbing guides lead customized expeditions throughout the Adirondacks. Groups, private instruction and families with kids can choose a specifically tailored program. Rates vary but start around $150 for a full day of climbing with guided instruction. 2453 Main Street, Suite 1, Lake Placid, NY 12946. (800) 310-4504.
- Rocksport Outdoor Guiding Center – Three New York State licensed rock and ice climbing guides offer guided expeditions to some of the Adirondack Region’s most popular cliffs including Roger’s Rock. Rates start at $200 per person, per day. 138 Quaker Road, Queensbury, NY 12804. (518) 793-4626.
Resource Books for Rock Climbing in the Adirondacks
- “Climbing in the Adirondacks: A Guide to Rock and Ice Routes in the Adirondack Park” by Don Mellor
- “Adirondack Rock: A Rock Climber’s Guide” by Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas
- “Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region” by Tony Goodwin and Neil S. Burdick
Top 5 Outdoor Climbing Destinations Closest to Chicago
If you’re a resident of Chicago and excited about climbing, you’re probably wondering where all the outdoor climbing is. Chicago has some great climbing and bouldering gyms, but it sure is flat. As climbing season approaches and you get ready to go outside, here is a brief synopsis of the 5 most popular climbing destinations closest to Chicago.
RED RIVER GORGE
Fondly referred to as “the Red” or “RRG”, the Red River Gorge is by far the place Midwest climbers most often go to to get their outdoor climbing on. Located in the Daniel Boon Forest in the eastern part of Kentucky, the Red is about a 6.5 hour drive (lose an hour when you cross the time zone) from Chicago and has a multitudeestablished routes with bolts into the walls. Most people camp or lodge at popular destination spots like Miguels, where there is also pretty great, reasonably-priced pizza, but there is also a plethora of other lodging options nearby. Go at the right times and you’ll even run into pro-climbers working their magic on the routes. The Red is where Sasha DiGulian made a name for herself by becoming the first woman to send Pure Imagination.
Popular types of climbing: Sport/Lead climbing. There is some trad, and top-rope climbing if a lead or trad climber establishes it for you. There is some bouldering as well.
Online Climbing Guide: http://www.redriverclimbing.com/RRCGuide
CLIMBER: PATRICK YU
ROUTE NAME: AMARILLO SUNSET (5.11B)
RRG AREA: SOUTHERN REGION, NORTH 40
PC: NARI HO
Located in the heart of Wisconsin (about a 3+ hour drive from Chicago), Devils Lake consists of beautiful hikes on bouldery rocks, and a huge lake smack dab in the middle. If you know where to go, there are some great places to boulder or top rope on all sides, but you’ll need a resource such as Mountain Project or a friend who’s been there before to show you the way. Look out for boulder landings, as some areas have very flat terrain, and others definitely do not.
Popular types of climbing: Bouldering, Trad climbing and Top Rope (you will need to set up your own top rope anchors).
Helpful Guide: Mountain Project (www.mountainproject.com)
CLIMBER: NARI HO
ROUTE NAME: CORNER ROOF, V3
DL AREA: WEST BLUFF SOUTH, JIGGA-BEAUTIFUL SOUP
PC: KINGA PECAK
One of the few places to sport climb and boulder in Illinois, Jackson Falls is located in southern Illinois and has on-site camp grounds established. Though not as expansive as the Red, Jackson still contains a great number of well-established routes for climbers of all levels to tackle. It’s also beautiful to check out in the Fall.
Popular types of climbing: Sport/Lead climbing, Top Rope and some bouldering.
CLIMBER: CHARIS LAFORGE
ROUTE NAME: WILD AT HEART
PC: NARI HO
Also located in Southern Illinois, Holy Boulders is an established place with pretty great sandstone climbing. People mostly come here for bouldering and have a popular bouldering competition held every Fall. Most people drive down to the Holy Boulders, camp outside, and spend the weekend with their crash pads checking out different types of boulder climbs. If you’ve never been here before, the best way to become familiar (aside from going with someone who knows) is to participate or attend their bouldering comp in the Fall. Everything’s labeled and there are signs throughout the place to help you find your way.
Check out this fun video to get a grasp of what climbing at the Holy Boulders will be like:
Located about 45 minutes west of Devils Lake, Governor Dodge is an area that has it all, bouldering as well as some sport climbing in which you can also set up top rope climbing. Governors Dodge, like Devils Lake is a good place to either camp, or make it a day trip.
CLIMBER: RICK ALLEN
PC: JOANNA TANG
If you’ve never climbed outdoors before, or have limited experience, check out First Ascent’s Climbing Workshops such as the Gym to Crag session which will help you maneuver the realm of climbing outside. Happy Climbing!
9 Amazing Outdoor Rock Climbing Locations In The UK
In the UK, we’re lucky to have so many challenging and picturesque rock climbing locations on our doorstep.
There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a novice or an expert and whether you’re into trad climbing or bouldering.
We’ve chosen 9 amazing outdoor rock climbing locations in the UK, from Cornwall to northwest Scotland.
We’ve also included the difficulty levels of certain crags in brackets, where possible.
Let’s start with the trad climbing locations…
Land’s End, Cornwall
Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England, is renowned for its towering cliffs and entrancing sea views.
There are 181 climbs here, including Longships Wall (E3) and the Land’s End Long Climb, a VDiff route featuring several interesting pitches for beginners.
Land’s End’s best climbs are in the E3 grades and above, therefore it’s most suited to intermediate and expert climbers.
The routes may be tough at times but, as shown below, the views are well worth the physical exertion.
Handy tip: Land’s End is tidal in most areas, so watch out for large swells and go for the wave-washed platforms.
Fun fact: Land’s End’s cliffs are made from granite which is around 275 million years old.
While you’re there: Pay a trip to Sennen Cove, a fishing village which is a mile north of Land’s End. Here, you can explore Whitesands Beach, one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in Cornwall. You can also visit The Old Success Inn, a 17th century fisherman’s inn and hotel serving hearty food all year round.
Like Land’s End, the town of Pembroke is well-known for its dramatic sea cliffs. Therefore, you’re never short of places to climb.
Pembroke is home to the longest cliff in Britain and contains over 6,000 recorded climbs, hence its popularity among the climbing community.
Range East, close to the village of Bosherston, is arguably Pembroke’s principal rock climbing area. Its best-known crags are Huntsman’s Leap and St Govan’s Head – but there are many more.
Another popular area is Stackpole and Lydstep, a 15-mile stretch of coastline. You can choose from 1,100 routes and explore blue flag beaches, coves and limestone cliffs.
Handy tip: Make sure you bring gear for making an abseil descent. This article contains useful advice on crag selection, abseil approaches, tidal considerations and more.
Fun fact: Pembroke Castle is the birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became Henry VII of England.
While you’re there: Visit Henry VII’s birthplace for yourself and uncover its medieval beginnings. For a double dose of history, explore St Govan’s Chapel, a Grade I listed building which is built into a cliff. If you’ve got children, why not take them to Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo or Oakwood Theme Park?
Isle Of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye is off the beaten track, but worth going out of your way for.
There are challenging and scenic routes aplenty, from the sea cliffs of Neist Point to the mountains of the Cuillin.
If you really want to put your climbing skills to the test, look no further than Black Cuillin. Stretching over 11 kilometres and reaching heights of more than 3000 feet, this is considered Britain’s most challenging mountain range (as you’ll see for yourself in the video below).
However, for less advanced climbers, we recommend Siudhe Biorachon, a sea cliff crag containing such routes as Jamie Jampot (VS) and Veritas Splendour (E2).
Handy tip: Take lots of food and water if you’re climbing the Black Cuillin – most people fail to complete it because of hunger and dehydration. Start off by climbing sections of the main ridge, to give yourself an idea of where the best water sources are located.
Fun fact: The Black Cuillin was formed around 60 million years ago, through a series of volcanic eruptions.
While you’re there: Discover the landmarks which have put Skye on the map, such as Fairy Pools, Dunvegan Castle and Neist Point Lighthouse. If you need somewhere to stay, the island’s highest rated hotels include Morar Bed and Breakfast, Sconser Lodge and The Flodigarry Hotel.
Now onto the sport climbing locations…
Malham Cove, Yorkshire
Malham Cove is revered by lovers of the outdoors, and particularly by rock climbers.
This 70-metre high amphitheatre of rock is one of Britain’s great geological wonders, and arguably The Yorkshire Dales National Park’s chief attraction.
It boasts some of the best sport climbing routes in the Pennines, and 325 climbs in total. It’s little wonder, therefore, that it’s attracted some of the world’s greatest rock climbers.
Adam Ondra climbed its hardest routes back in 2010, while Steve McClure recently made history when he conquered Rainman (9b) – the UK’s toughest climb.
In completing this route, McClure gave Britain its first 9b sport route. The video below captures his historic achievement.
Handy tip: The shorter and easier climbs (S to E1) are located on Malham Cove’s left wing. Therefore, these are your best bet if you’re a beginner.
Fun fact: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows was filmed here.In the film, Harry and Hermione set up camp in a tent on the Limestone Pavement at the top of the cove.
While you’re there: Stop by Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar, both of which are located just a mile away. Once you’re finished exploring, enjoy a pint of beer and some food at Lister Arms, in the heart of the village of Malham.
Gower Peninsula, Wales
Gower Peninsula was declared the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956, and it’s still worthy of the accolade today.
It possesses a wealth of varied climbs, from the quaint and secluded Pwll Du to the vast and impressive Rhossili.
Not only was Rhossili Bay voted Wales’ Best Beach 2018, but Rhossili itself caters for climbers of all abilities. Its most popular routes are located in Shipwreck Cove, and include One Ton Depot (7c+), Vennerne (8a) and Blockiness (6c+).
Pwll Du offers a mixture of trad and sport routes, including Senser (7c+), its main sport route. Most climbers visit the quarry situated on the west side of Pwll Du Bay.
Rhossili and Pwll Du are just two of many beautiful areas in which to climb in Gower Peninsula. Other areas include Paviland Cliffs, Pennard Cliffs and Port Enyon.
Handy tip: Pwll Du can get dusty, so don’t forget to bring your brushes.
Fun fact: Gower Peninsula was one of poet Dylan Thomas’ favourite stomping grounds. Thomas frequented Rhossili Bay throughout his life with his wife and children.
While you’re there: Check out Three Cliffs Bay and Worm’s Head. If you have a family and fancy something a bit different, take the kids on an adventure through a tropical rainforest at Plantasia in nearby Swansea.
Horseshoe Quarry, Peak District
The final sport climbing route on our listicle is Horseshoe Quarry, a large, disused limestone quarry near Stoney Middleton in Derbyshire.
This quarry is widely considered one of the Peak District’s most popular sports-climbing venues, and it’s easy to see why.
Its construction makes it the perfect spot for sheltered winter sport climbing and it has more than 100 routes to choose from.
While climbing, you may spot some fossilised coral, and even see some great crested newts or badgers if you look carefully.
Horseshoe Quarry is best suited to beginner and intermediate rock climbers, with most of its well-known routes between 6A and 7A – Megalithic Man (6b+), Private Prosecution (6c) and Rotund Rooley (6b).
If you consider yourself an intermediate climber, the Main Face is your best bet. However, if you’re a beginner, there are a series of easier routes on the Upper Tier.
Handy tip: There’s quite a lot of loose rock (as you’d expect with a quarry), so wearing a helmet is essential. As mentioned above, Horseshoe is ideal in winter and spring when other venues are wet after winter seepage.
Fun fact: The limestone at Horseshoe Quarry was formed over 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period.
While you’re there: Take a short drive to the thermal spa town of Buxton. Here, you can stroll along ThePavilion Gardens, hike up to Solomon’s Temple and even attend the famous local opera house.
Next up, we have the best bouldering spots…
Llanberis Pass, Wales
There’s something about Wales and rock climbing – and no listicle of the UK’s best rock climbing spots would be complete without Llanberis Pass.
Buried between the mountains of Snowdon and the Glydreau of Gwynedd, The Pass is an area of rugged natural beauty.
Its different rock types make it the perfect place for boulderers. (It’s also an amazing trad climbing location, but we felt it had slightly more to offer on the bouldering side of things).
The main bouldering spot in The Pass is the Cromlech Boulders, a classic roadside venue near the long layby at Pont y Gromlech. These boulders are made from Welsh igneous rock, sit 201 metres above sea level and provide a series of problems to overcome.
There’s plenty more where that came from. Other popular boulders in The Pass include The Grooves Boulder, Utopia and Wavelength.
See for yourself how demanding The Pass can be by watching this clip from climber Johnny Dawes’ movie Welsh Connections.
Handy tip: Don’t climb The Pass’ North-facing crags too late in the season, as these can get extremely cold.
Fun fact: The Cromlech Boulders were saved from destruction in a 1973 road widening scheme. This was after a six-year protest by local people, climbers, historians, conservationists and geologists.
While you’re there: Visit the small grey village of Nant Peris, featuring the ancient church of St. Peris. The Church dates to the 14th Century and is built on what is probably an ancient Christian site. Why not also take a trip to Snowdon’s summit by hopping on the Snowdon Mountain Railway?
Dorset has become a bouldering hub in recent decades, thanks to the emergence of Portland as a prime rock climbing location.
Portland is a unique place in so many ways. The most southerly point of Dorset, it offers virtually unbroken limestone cliffs and almost 1,300 well-bolted routes.
Most of these routes are single pitch up to 30 metres above the surrounding sea, and their grades range from F2 to F8B. These present problems for every climber, whether you’re looking for roofs, slabs, or technical and powerful problems.
What’s more, they tend to be just off either side of vertical on jugs, crimps, pockets and glorious flow stone features – something almost unheard of in the UK.
Handy tip: Beginners should head to Blacknor Beach and climb Fallen Slab Arete (f3), especially if it’s a sunny day. If you’re an advanced climber, try Ope in Hell (f7b) in Southwell Landslips.
Fun fact: Portland Harbour is one of the world’s largest man-made harbours.
While you’re there: Time travel back to 1539 by visiting Portland Castle. This artillery fort was constructed by Henry VIII to protect England against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire. When you’re all cultured out, unwind at The Cove House Inn, a maritime pub on Dorset’s seafront. For somewhere to stay, we recommend Turnstones Bed and Breakfast, but there are plenty of other options.
St Bees Head, Cumbria
The last location on our list is St Bees Head, a small stretch of red Permian sandstone in North West Cumbria.
This remote coastal gem is the only stretch of Heritage Coast on the English coastline between the Welsh and Scottish border. Like Portland, it’s popular all year round due to its mild climate.
It doesn’t attract sizeable crowds, but therein lies its charm. You won’t be fighting for the best specs and can take it at your own pace.
St Bees offers a combination of low and mid-grade climbs and its best-known routes include Fisherman’s Dyno (f6a), The Arete (f7a), and the Hueco Crack (f7a).
In the video below, two-time British Bouldering Champion and Team GB athlete Leah Crane tests herself on the above climbs.
Handy tip: Try the aptly named Panic Attack (7A+/B) if you fancy a challenge.
Fun fact: The village of St Bees is one of the five most desirable postcodes in England, according to a recent study.
While you’re there: Explore St Bees Priory, a Grade I listed parish church dating back to 1120. Afterwards, head down to St Bees beach, where you’ll find a shingle bank composed of dozens of rock varieties.
As you can imagine, choosing the 9 best outdoor rock climbing locations in the UK wasn’t easy.
You may disagree with our selections, or question why (insert place name) isn’t on here. So, to cover all bases, here are some honourable mentions, which were a stone’s throw away (pun intended) from making the list.
Old Man of Hoy, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Langdale Boulders, Lake District
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Idwal Slabs, Wales
We hope you enjoyed our article, and that you’ve got rock climbing insurance for your next ascent.
GUIDED ROCK CLIMBING, RAPPELLING, ADVENTURES
Rock Climb Every Day offers outdoor trips are fun and empowering to; climbers, non-climbers, groups and families. Great guides and exclusive locations give you the perfect combination of tools needed to succeed.
All our guides are experts on the field, have many years of outdoor experience and hold the required mountain guiding certifications. Because a certified mountain guide is what makes the real difference; never settle for less.
Our Joshua Tree rock climbing guides do an excellent job, since they have Southern California’s biggest mecca of world-class rock climbing mountains available. They team up with our rock climbing guides in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire to climb Joshua Tree National Park quite often. You can truly get motivated when you see them sending routes on their days off. Their professionalism and skills set them aside, and their inspiration grows as they share their knowledge with outdoor fans like you.
To maximize your experience, we are open year round and offer a great variety of services, such as; rappelling, private climbing instruction, beginner rock climbing classes, anchor building classes, sport and trad lead courses, multi-pitch, climbing self-rescue, women-only classes, guided adventure tours, group climbing, team building events, family packages, multi-day events, gift cards and fundraising opportunities. Rock Climb Every Day is proud to offer services in Southern California, Los Angeles, California area, and Joshua Tree National Park; world-class outdoor climbing destination.