Life on a climbing trip is rather simple; you wake up, eat breakfast, join a group of friends as you dance up a nearby cliff, return to camp, cook dinner, go to bed and do it all again. These are the days where friendships are formed, memories are made, and happiness is never ending.
Whether you’re leaving the gym for the first time or you’re a seasoned climber, there’s a place for you. Pack your bags and book your tickets! Here are 10 amazing destinations for climbing outside Canada.
When to go: May-June, September-October
Yosemite National Park is the North American climbing mecca. The granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome tower over 1,000m above the valley floor and are loaded with history. You’ll recognize these walls from the recent movies Free Solo and The Dawn Wall. There’s something for every level whether it’s hiking, bouldering, sport climbing, traditional climbing or spending a night on a big wall.
Indian Creek, USA
When to go: March-April, October-November
Approximately one hour outside of Moab is the land of desert sandstone splitters. As the prime Yosemite season comes to an end, climbers begin the journey to Indian Creek. Step away from everyday life and live with the rhythm of the sun, without cell phone service or wifi. Your newly made friends will share gear and tips as you climb through the day and enjoy camp life at night. There’s no better place to learn to crack climb.
El Potrero Chico, Mexico
When to go: December-February
As winter arrives and the temperatures drop in Indian Creek, climbers will chase the sun further south to Mexico. Here your hands and feet can take a break from crack climbing as you explore the bolted limestone cliffs. You won’t need much more than your harness, helmet, quickdraws and a rope. Most routes are a short walk from the hostels and campgrounds. There are many routes up to 20 pitches long allowing you to take in the incredible views from a mountain top.
Patagonia, Argentina + Chile
When to go: November-February
Patagonia is an alpine climber’s paradise. It’s the home of the famous Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy groups. In addition to rock climbing, you may be walking across glaciers or ascending snow and ice as you make your way to the top of the granite spires. The weather in Patagonia can be quite challenging, requiring patience as you wait for the perfect window of opportunity. If you’re experienced, you may take the opportunity to climb in remote areas that have never been touched.
To explore this area as a beginner, consider hiring a guide to help you get to the top. Patagonia is a great place to head if you’re looking to change it up after chasing the sun through the US and Mexico, or a mid-winter break from Canada.
Heading to Chile? Get inspired!
When to go: October-November, March-May
Liming is a small village located in Laojunshan National Park in south-west China. Here you will escape the crowds of more well-known destinations while still finding spectacular climbing. There are all sorts of climbing options, from newly developed roadside sport climbs to adventurous trad routes.
Unlike Indian creek, the climbs are rather varied in size, meaning travelling with a double rack sufficient. Each day will bring an adventure and cultural experience. While there isn’t much English spoken in town, it is easy to get by with a translation app and your best acting skills. The food is delicious, the scenery is beautiful, and the locals are friendly. Be sure to check out market day when the village becomes a hive of activity full of local goods.
When to go: April-May, September-November
One of the world’s best sport climbing areas is the island of Kalymnos in Greece. The climbing can range from overhanging tufas to delicate slabs and there are over 2,500 routes to try. While autumn is the most popular season, this is also a great place to escape winter. Kalymnos is a fantastic option if camping isn’t your thing as accommodation is generally in hotels or rental suites. Renting a scooter will help you get around to the various villages and climbing areas. There are loads of options for rest days or the non-climbers in your group from scuba diving, snorkeling, or beaches to watching the beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the sea.
When to go: November-February
Sandy beaches, bright blue, crystal clear waters and limestone cliffs make up the landscape of Thailand’s climbing. It’s the beach vacation that doubles as a climbing destination. If you are travelling solo, Thailand is a great place to meet other climbers. The climbing is mostly bolted single pitch routes, but it is also possible to try out deep water soloing. Vacationing here is cheap and the atmosphere is laid back making it a relaxing getaway.
When to go: July-August
Chamonix has endless year-round recreation activities, from skiing and ice climbing in the winter to mountaineering and rock climbing in the summer. What makes it most famous, however, are the huge granite towers that form this alpine rock-climbing playground.
The alpine is made easily accessible by a large system of gondolas saving you the long hike up from town. You can be in a cafe drinking coffee one minute and at an altitude of 3,000m a short while later. Europe is also known for its series of backcountry huts, allowing you to spend multiple days climbing or trekking without being weighed down by typical overnight gear.
When to go: March-May
Talk to any Australian climber and they will definitely have stories of climbing in Arapiles. This quartzite mountain lies about 4 hours north-west of Melbourne. The rock is quite featured, lending itself to perfect face climbing, however the majority of the protection is traditional rather than bolts. With nearly 2,000 routes, there are lots of options to keep you busy year after year. You’ll be sure to find a community while camping at The Pines.
There are so many great places to climb around the world that it’s hard to pick just 9. Whether you’re seeking a remote adventure, first ascent or a relaxing day close to the city, there is a destination for you. What’s your favorite destination? Where’s next on your list?