So, if your anything like me, you probably love talking, watching and thinking about anything climbing related.
We have all been there, right? A long, slow day at work, hands itching to get back on the wall and climb something, anything.
Once you have seen some of the climbing Shangri-la below you will be left inspired and have some perfect daydream material!
Yosemite is a beautiful glacial valley with a lot of climbing history.
The valley is located in central California, and spans a huge 12km long. This beast is home to some of the most famous lines in the world.
You can’t talk about Yosemite and not speak about El Capitan or half dome.
These majestic faces have inspired many rock climbers worldwide.
El capitan was first climbed in 1958 by George Whitmore, Wayne Merry, and Warren Harding the first pioneers of climbing culture.
The first ascent took 47 days, and they used the aid of pitons and expansion bolts to climb with various camps along the way.
With fixed ropes allowing the team to ascend and descend from the ground up; in climbing, this is what’s called a siege tactic.
After hearing about the ascent, another group of climbers wanted to top it.
Two years later, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt, Royal Robbins, and Tom Frost valiantly set out and ascended El Capitan in one continuous climb.
Even to this day, modern climbers are still competing to try and get the fastest ascents, with some crazy motherfuckers like Alex Honnold doing it free solo, which means without any safety equipment.
If you are interested in more of the history behind Yosemite and the climbers that wrote it I highly recommend watching ‘Valley Uprising (2014)’.
Forest of Fontainebleau
Yosemite might be the climbing mecca, but Fontainebleau or “the font” is definitely the bouldering capital of the world.
People flock to this wonderful forest from all over in order to take advantage of its highly developed bouldering scene.
Located just outside of Paris, this forest is nestled around a small French town.
One of the best things about Fontainebleau forest is that it contains great climbing problems of all grades.
This means that it doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or an expert. you can still take advantage of what the Font has to offer.
Climbers have been using the forest as a training ground to hone their skills since the 1870’s.
Which is great news since every crag and boulder has been overturned and tested, this hive of climber activity has resulted in over 20,000 problems of all shapes and sizes to enjoy.
Most of the climbs are spread out throughout the forest, this is great if you love a scenic route. But, if you really want to make the most of your trip, you’re going to need a car.
With a quick google search, you can find local shops that will rent out crash pads, so with no need to carry gear this makes it a perfect weekend getaway.
Laem Phra Nang (Railay Beach)
So if you fancy something in a hotter climate then the steep cliffs of Railay beach might be perfect for you.
Railay beach has three separate areas that are great for climbing, but I’m going to talk about the main one Ton Sai.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you, Ton Sai has some really difficult routes rated around 6 to as high as 7a.
You might have a little difficulty getting there, however, as it’s only accessible by boat.
If you’re ready to take the trip I would recommend going in the dry season which lasts from November to March.
The locals of the area even offer guided climbing trips all across the beach including a couple of deep water solo trips.
Luckily for us, a lot of the routes are quite short, but what they lack in length they make for in difficulty.
Ton Sai is also home to some pretty cool bars and cheap accommodation that helps create a nice relaxing atmosphere for when you are done with a days climbing.
If you don’t like lugging your gear around airports, Ton Sai also has a couple of shops where you can hire everything you need for a day or a week if you need it.
I recommend an up-to-date guidebook if you decide to skip out on a local guide, this will let you know if a line has not been recently bolted.
Photo courtesy of Tomas Donoso
Just like Yosemite, Shawangunks is home to some of America’s best climbing spots.
Being based just 85 miles outside new york city, there is no excuse not to go pay it a visit.
This ridgetop offers amazing climbing routes that cater to all skill sets. Most of the climbs in the gunks are trad style but with over 1000 problems to choose from, you won’t be getting bored anytime soon.
The best time to head to the gunks is during September and October when it’s in its best climbing conditions. Even when the conditions are good you might want to drop a few grades, the gunks has a bit of a reputation of being pretty steep on the grading side.
If you need a place to stay during your trip there is a range of hostels and hotels in the local town of New Paltz. The Chill college Town vibe makes a nice place to spend your downtime when not climbing.
Hiring and renting gear shouldn’t be an issue as there are a couple of outdoor shops that are based in New Platz. If you are unsure of the area you can also hire day guides to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
If you do decide to climb at Shawangunks you need to know its part of the Mohonk Preserve, which is dedicated to preserving and protecting the ridge, you will need to purchase a pass in order to climb there.
Joshua Tree National Park
America is the home to many famous climbing destinations, another one you can’t miss is Joshua Tree National Park.
There is a great variety of climbs set around several campsites, the hidden valley campsite is mainly populated with climbers, this creates a nice social setting that makes it easy to find a climbing partner.
Due to the scorching hot American summer, most tend to travel here in the spring or winter to make the most of the cooler weather.
If you somehow manage to get bored of the amazing routes at the park, you can always go on a hike and take in some of that beautiful Mojave.
While the routes at Joshua tree won’t be very high, they make up for it in interesting problems of all shapes and sizes.
Supplies and hire gear can be found in the 3 local camping stores, the staff members are pretty knowledgeable about the area so be sure to ask them if you are struggling to find a particular route.
If you are worried you are going to get lost in the desert, you can hire a guide from the local climbing school. This can help you find climbs suited to your level with ease!
The Peak District
This gritstone heaven located in the United Kingdom has been a staple for British climbers for years.
With over 10,000 routes across some beautiful British countryside what’s not to like?
This wonderful moorland can cater to all types of climbers. If you like a cheeky arete or to slowly progress your way up a crack line, the peak district has you covered.
It’s easily accessible by car from any of the 2 nearby UK cities Manchester or Sheffield.
Due to the fairly mild weather in the UK, you can climb in the peak district in pretty much any season.
However, to ensure you get the most out of your trip I would recommend going between spring and autumn.