5 Top Spots for Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is always a fascinating adventure, especially because it is one of the sports that push us beyond our limits. It is also an excellent way to enjoy the splendour of nature. Nevertheless, every rock climbing getaway brings with it unprecedented memories. That explains why rock climbing enthusiasts always want to try new spots, as well as brace themselves for a greater challenge every time.
The world scenery offers great places for bouldering and climbing – the thrilling sport suitable for anyone willing to participate in and show off their gripping prowess. Bouldering is great for bonding and team building among rock climbers, and it is particularly exciting in new and uncrowded destinations. Here are five rock climbing spots you should consider for your next excursion.
1. Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca is popular for its breezy beaches which are notorious partying grounds. But aside from this, Mallorca is definitely among the most wide-ranging sports climbing destinations in Europe. With a vast stretch of limestone features, the Tramuntana mountain range, beautiful beaches, and a rough coastline, Mallorca becomes an enviable destination. You are assured of a thrilling experience throughout your visit, with a lot of places to spend quality time when you’re not ascending the rocky terrain. The varied climbing options will give you a complete challenge, and you are definitely going to love the experience.
The Tramuntana Mountains are a popular destination for experienced climbers. The east coast is an ideal starting point for beginners who wish to challenge themselves. The entire island boasts multiple routes to try out and a well-established road network. Hence, there is no challenge trying to access any particular place within this region.
Mallorca has too much to offer for a visiting nature enthusiast. Such a place is a great bet for team activities, so you will never have to take up the challenge alone or enjoy the scenery in loneliness. A friends’ trip to the island would make it more than an adventure. The best time to visit Mallorca is between September and May. At this time, visitors are back home after the vacation, and the weather is really favourable. You will not have any trouble finding accommodation services, as the streets are not too crowded – an ideal time to enjoy nature.
2. Gibraltar Rock in Santa Barbara, California
Gibraltar Rock is located along Gibraltar road. It is easily accessible through multiple routes leading to the rock. If you are planning a trip to California, make sure you visit the Gibraltar Rock for climbing activities. The rock has four faces – the north, south, east and west faces. Among them, the south face, which is also the front face of the rock, is the friendliest for beginners. The west face is the biggest challenge, and only experienced climbers make it through.
Besides Gibraltar Rock, there are several subsidiary formations in the same location which offer moderate and challenging climbs. They include the Upper Gibraltar Rock with bolted and gear climbs, Toxic Waste Wall with all bolted sport climbs, Sweating Buckets Rock with one 11c bolted climb and Hole-in-the-Rock used for top roping. Together with the main Gibraltar rock, they form the “Gibraltar Rock family.” The rock family is enough to offer any climber or group of climbers a full challenge alongside the scenic view of the serene landscape.
Credits to: Richard Shore
Access to Gibraltar Rock Family via road is quite easy. The general direction is due north of Santa Barbara towards the mountains. More precise guidelines can be found in Steve Tucker and Kevin Steele’s “Climbing in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo.” The only real difficulty with exploring the Gibraltar Rock Family is lack of accommodation. There are no facilities or camping sites nearby. However, with the ease of accessibility, camping sites in the broader neighbourhood are a reliable option.
3. Kalymnos, Greece
Kalymnos is the kind of place you can decide to be at any time all year round. The small island offers great rock climbing and bouldering experience alongside a beautiful scenery. In September, the weather is at its best, and the water is warm, so you can dive in and unwind after a climbing challenge. The rocky island presents a challenging formation and great features such as the Grande Grotta, a world spectacle with a climbing challenge of its kind.
Kalymnos remained unexplored for the longest time until the late 1990s, when its discovery sent news of its bliss across the world. Since it is vastly unexploited, Kalymnos Island has a unique touch of a natural feel. Besides rock climbing, Kalymnos offers great terrain for mountain trekking and bike riding, walking trails and the cultural diving fests. The island also has several castles, which make it a great scene for sightseeing. Its beaches are spectacular, and are a great place to pass the time away from rock climbing.
If you wish to visit the island, you can easily find accommodation in the numerous little towns and villages along the coast. During your stay, you will depend on walking or bike rides as a primary means of transport, which will give you an impressive experience with the island. The island has a few neighbourhoods that you can visit. They include Telendos, Leros, Kos, and Pserimos. In some seasons, expedition boats make trips from Kalymnos to Bodrum, Turkey.
4. Fontainebleau, France
Fontainebleau is a dedicated bouldering spot located in a pine forest about 60km Southeast of Paris, the capital of France. The forest is home to thousands of boulders and over 20,000 climbing routes. Fontainebleau is the ultimate place for bouldering lovers who aren’t interested in high rock climbing to explore. The climbing challenges are classified into circuits with each circuit being assigned a colour code according to its degree of difficulty.
Bleau is a popular destination for both leisure and sport bouldering. It is actually considered the world’s number one bouldering destination. Due to its high demand, prior booking is advised to avoid inconveniences on arrival. Bleu is designed to accommodate the whole family, which makes it even more popular.
Some prominent areas in the forest include;
- Bas Cuvier & Gorges d' Apremont – This was the first set of boulders to be established. It is located in the main forest and has a total of 6 circuits and a lot of classic problems.
- The Trois Pignons area – It is the biggest rock climbing area of the Fontainebleau.
- The Trois Pignons area – it is a centralized camping area and ha easy access to most bouldering areas.
Prior to visiting Bleau, you can decide from a variety of accommodation options ranging from campsites within the forest, crash pads and hotel options in the towns around Fontainebleau. You can also check out accommodation offers within the forest and nearby areas. You may also need to acquire the comprehensive guidebook, “Fontainebleau Fun Bloc Jingo” from Wobbly Publishing.
5. Arco, Italy
Arco is set within the Sarca Valley, north of Lake Garda, in northern Italy. It is a distinctive rock climbing site that offers rock climbing in two diverse styles; bolted sport routes on limestone rock and long, Dolomite style long wall routes on steep sloping limestone rock. It is accessible throughout the year, as the mountains are still easily accessible around the Dolomites during the wet season. The entire area is vast, with over 5000 routes at all grades, all on limestone rock. The area has over 130 sports crags and 30 long multi-pitch crags.
Besides rock climbing, mountain bikers and windsurfers also love to explore their passion in Arco. If you don’t want to spend the entire time ascending the cliffs, you can spend your weekend trip watching them do their magic. The pleasant climate makes Arco a comfortable place all year round, and this has made the place a getaway destination. For the past 20 years, Arco has been home to Rock Master Competition, an annual competition for strong athletes from the whole world.
Getting to Arco is a 50-mile drive from Verona. Your travel adventure will begin by enjoying beautiful Italian scenery along the way and a breath-taking road snaking along Lake Garda. Despite the high influx of visitors, Arco will always have enough room to accommodate you – from townhouses to camping sites; you’ll have your choice. There are several guidebooks in the market; all you have to do is pick the one that suits you best.
All in all, adventures should bring the best out of us. These rock climbing destinations will offer you the opportunity not just to take your rock climbing to the next level, but also to traverse the world. They will open your eyes to the magnificent features of the world and take you into new cultures. We spend most of our time working hard, so we should spend some of time enjoying what there is.
The next time you plan on a rock climbing excursion, make sure you consider some of the destinations above. You can always pick one out and shelve the rest for the next vacation, of course depending on a lot of factors and your priorities alltogether. But either way, make sure you visit them someday.