Looking for a short list of the best climbing spots in the world? Here we point out some of the most well known destinations, and what makes them so special. Climbing trips and travel require extra safety, caution, and some logistics before traveling, so we have included some brief information on that as well.
Best Rock Climbing Destinations In The World
Yosemite National Park, California – USA
Yosemite may be the single most famous rock climbing destination in the world. With one of the most stunning faces on the planet, El Capitan and incredibly popular climbing films occuring in Yosemite National Park, this destination has no shortage of incredible climbing. On top of this, it has been a place where climbing culture, particularly in the U.S. has risen from. A highly trafficked national park, this is one of those must climb destinations for many that is worth getting stuck in traffic for.
The Dolomites feature some of the most stunning scenery in the entire world. At a quick glance of a single photo, it becomes easy to recognize the Dolomites. With incredible culture, incredible climbing, and easily accessible top tier climbing, this is an outdoor adventurer’s heaven.
From bouldering, easy routes, to the most difficult routes humanly possible, Squamish features climbing for every type of climber. An incredible small town with insane scenery, and lots of rock, this is an amazing destination. This area lacks inexpensive / free camping options, but has easy (short approach) access to tons of climbs. Sport, trad, bouldering, crack climbing, big wall, multi-pitch and everything in between.
Backcountry skiing, mountaineering, climbing, stunning mountainscapes, glaciers, and the famous Matterhorn is all commonplace in Zermatt. Zermatt has all types of outdoor activities, and a culture to make the nights in town even better. If you are in for mountaineering, crossing glaciers, and big days, this is one to cross off the bucket list.
Tonsai & Krabi Railey Island, Thailand
Looking for an Asian climbing destination in an incredible climate? Check out Krabi. Towering limestone, sea landscapes, bouldering, and rope climbing. With easy routes to extremely difficult routes, to free solo routes over water, this destination is only paralleled by few on earth. Tonsai has beaches, food, cheap stays, great culture, and quality limestone.
Red Rocks (Nevada)
Nevada only has a few thousand amazing climbing routes. With every style climbing available, warm weather, and great rock, it simply is an amazing place for avid climbers. Located only a short distance from Las Vegas, this destination is great for short or longer trips.
Kalymnos has over 3,400 known routes with most of them having easy access. From 5a to 5.14d, this area has just about everything you could ask for. With stunning ocean views, amazing food and culture, this is another incredible destination.
Rocklands (South Africa)
Rocklands is becoming more and more well known across the globe for incredible bouldering around the Cederberg Wilderness Area. Red sandstone walls offer more than 2,900 routes for various ability levels, and most are easily accessible with short approaches.
Verdon Gorge (France)
Verdon Gorge, France has incredible limestone walls up to 1,000 feet long, short approaches, and more than 500 routes for climbers. There are many difficult routes, but more routes and well bolted areas are making this destination more attainable by many. This isn’t as well traveled a destination because it is simply a difficult place to get to!
Tafraoute, Todra Gorge, and the Taghia Gorge in Morocco
Morocco is close to most European cities in terms of flight distance, features an affordable destination, and tons of solid rock! With well developed areas like Todra Gorge, and other areas in the Atlas Mountains, there is big wall climbing, difficult routes, easy routes, and year round climbing.
Fiordland National Park (New Zealand)
Fiordland National Park on the South Island of New Zealand is the largest National Park in New Zealand, and has incredible beauty and uniqueness. There are lots of routes, and if you are looking for a good reason to get to New Zealand, climbing is just one of many.
Patagonia (Chile and Argentina)
Are you into mountaineering? Incredible landscapes? High altitude? Volcanos? Patagonia clothing? Come check out Patagonia. This is a broad category, and there is so much to offer in this incredible landscape.
Hueco Tanks State Park (Texas)
Hueco is known as the best bouldering destination in the world (especially to Texans). There isn’t too much to say about this destination, other than give it some research, and give it a try.
This Spanish island contains limestone cliffs with incredibly scenic deep water soloing opportunities. If you want your next climbing fall to be into water, here is your place.
Pre-Planning for Your International Climbs
An obvious part of pre-planning is having a current passport. Given that, here are some other important considerations:
Medical & Travel Documents
Some destinations will require specific immunizations, along with those you already have. Be sure to research those that will be required. There are other medical documents you will want to have too. Just consult with the authorities, what documents are necessary, and get fully prepared.
It is always wise to have medical and other documents (like your passport) translated into the languages of the countries you intend to visit. This is especially the case if you are traveling to a country where your native language isn’t spoken frequently. For this, you will want to look for one of several online professional translation services, so that they are translated with attention to detail.
If you are an experienced climber, you have plenty of gear for the different types of rock features you face. Do your research on the types of climbs you will be facing, and choose your gear accordingly. You should also figure out which you will need to take with you and which supplies you can rent or buy at each of your destinations (e.g., pitons and bolts). The more you can rent or purchase, the less your luggage will weigh.
You will know the climates – plan accordingly and minimally.
Merissa Moore is a researcher and writer, as well as an avid world traveler. Many of her numerous articles relate to foreign travel, languages, and international lifestyles. When not traveling or writing, Moore subjects her friends to her international gourmet cooking experiences and plays the guitar in an Indie band in her hometown.