Regardless of whether you’re an expert looking to indoctrinate a newbie climber into the cult of bouldering or a beginner hoping to keep up with the veterans, we’ve got the best bouldering destinations for every skillset. So if clambering over massive boulders and vertigo-inducing cliffs without a harness is your adrenalin shot of choice, read on.
Hampi in India
The boulderfield in Hampi, India
The Hampi landscape is an otherworldly landscape that will stun even the most chatty climber into silence, but it is also a bouldering playground. Dotted with precariously-balanced gigantic boulders, this World Heritage Site has boulder ‘problems’ (climbing courses, for the newbies) ranging from the mild Rishimukh Plateau to the endurance-busting 7C Surfer’s Traverse.
Best time of year to climb: December-January are the region’s coolest, driest, months, all the better for bouldering.
Ice your bruises at: Heritage Resort Hampi.
Petrohrad in the Czech Republic
The forest around Petrohrad in the Czech Republic
To the west of the historic city of Prague lies the even more historic region of Petrohrad, a landscape of woodland, wildflowers and granite boulders. With over 3000 problems, experts will love the chance to test themselves on heavy hitters like Hip-Hop (7C+) and Ruda Armada (8A), while beginners get to grips with Sýr Ráno (5) and Ostrá Hrana (5+).
Best time of year to climb: March-April tend to be the mildest and driest months.
Ice your bruises at: Forester House.
The Buttermilks in California, USA
The Buttermilks, California's number one bouldering destination
The Buttermilks is California’s premier bouldering destination and home to giant, quartz monzonite boulders that climbers have been testing themselves on for centuries. Beginners can get warmed up tackling problems like Good Morning Sunshine (5) while more experienced climbers head to Soul Slinger (7C).
Best time of year to climb: October-May are the prime bouldering months.
Ice your bruises at: Starlight Motel.
The Blue Mountains in Sydney, Australia
Ready to take on the much celebrated Memory Lane
Katoomba is the chief town of The Blue Mountains range and it has an almost overwhelming selection of bouldering problems but groups with mixed abilities are best served by heading to Cosmic County. Here’s you’ll find inspiring scenery and the much celebrated Memory Lane area.
Best time of year to climb: Avoid high temperatures by visiting between March-May or September-November.
Ice your bruises at: Jamison Guesthouse.
Fontainebleau in France
Centuries of bouldering in Fontainebleau, France
Climbers have been bouldering at the Parisian commune of Fontainebleau since the 19th century. With roughly 250 kilometres of forest, populated by every kind of rock formation and climbing route, many veteran climbers believe that the best strategy for bouldering at Fontainebleau is to just forget grades and focus on the climb itself.
Best time of year to climb: All year round.
Ice your bruises at: Wisteria Guesthouse.
Rocklands in South Africa
Admiring the Cederberg Mountains in South Africa
The Cederberg Mountains are three hours’ drive north of Cape Town and are dotted with sandstone boulders. Head to The Plateau for brilliantly-named bouldering problems ranging from Bad Boy For Life (5) to Witness the Sickness (8A).
Best time of year to climb: November-April are the cooler months.
Ice your bruises at: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat.