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6 outstanding rock climbs around the world

For rocks to scale and walls to conquer whatever the season, head to one of the following locations. Though they differ in terms of scenery, they’re all appropriate for both beginners and experts. Just bear your skill level in mind when planning the trip, so that you can equip yourself with all the necessary gear.

Argentina – El Chaltén

Argentina – El Chaltén

Argentina – El Chaltén

Found in the midst of some of the most mightiest mountain peaks in the world, the town of El Chaltén in Argentina is a lively hub for climbers. Granite spires jut fiercely upward at heights of 300 to 1,500 metres, offering a wide range of routes. Though the weather here tends to be mild, most climbers visit between early November and late February because the days are longer and the temperatures are higher.

Croatia – Paklenica

Croatia – Paklenica

Croatia – Paklenica

A national park consisting of two dolomite limestone river canyons, Paklenica is a spectacular place to rock climb. The park has around 150 km of hiking trails but its unique selling point for rock climbers is that you won’t have to hike far at all to get to your climbing location. In fact, some of the best climbs can be found just minutes from the entry to the canyons. And there are plenty of great climbs. A single vertical rock alone, Anica Kuk, holds 90 sports climbing routes. The park also hosts numerous events including an outdoor equipment fair, lectures, film festivals, and, of course, climbing competitions. The main climbing season starts in spring and lasts until late autumn.

Italy – Cortina d’Ampezzo (Dolomites)

Italy – Cortina d’Ampezzo (Dolomites)

Italy – Cortina d’Ampezzo (Dolomites)

The Dolomites are a range of steep peaks on the border of Austria and Italy. Their jagged, grey appearance lend the landscape a bracing appearance, in turn making a rock climb here feel like a real adventure. Many of the climbing routes here can be climbed over a single day trip but equally you’ll find options if you want to spend longer, staying overnight at a mountain hut or lodge. The best time of year to visit is July through September.

Greece – Meteora

Greece – Meteora

Greece – Meteora

The word metéora means ‘suspended in the air’, a fitting description for both the rock towers and the climbers who flock to the area. Perched precariously atop these towers are ancient monasteries and the many caves below used to be home to hermits. Today, monasteries are scattered among the rock formations and those that are inhabited should not be climbed. This respect for the history of the area has had an influence on the climbing culture that has developed here, with an emphasis on using as little fixed gear as possible. Meteora has nearly 800 single and multi-pitch routes up to 285 metres in length and offers a mixture of bolted and traditional (placing own protection) climbing. Greece’s climate is relatively dry and it’s possible to climb all year long but the best seasons to do so are spring and autumn.

Thailand – Railay Beach

Thailand – Railay Beach

Thailand – Railay Beach

The limestone rock that makes up Railay Beach in Thailand has over 700 routes – often on steep, overhanging walls, right off the beach. With routes ranging from beginner grades like 5a, to multi-pitch 6a, all the way up to 8c, there’s more than enough to keep any climber busy for years. And across the border in Laos, Thakheh and Vang Vieng are another two prominent rock climbing areas. In Thailand spring can be extremely hot, and rainy season runs from April through November. The best climbing weather – dry and warm – is November to March.

Slovakia – Vysoké Tatry

Slovakia – Vysoké Tatry

Slovakia – Vysoké Tatry

The High Tatras are situated on the border of Slovakia and Poland. The main ridge is about 26 km long and 17 km wide, made up of about 300 peaks and spires, with paths signposted with colourful markers and wooden arrows. Weatherwise, starting in mid-May is advisable for routes with southern exposures, as storms are common in June through July. For all other routes, August and September are your best bet, with the lowest number of rainy days.

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