Thursday, 19 August 2010

Rock climbing in Europe

Europe is home to many classic climb trips. There are several mountain ranges conveniently spread all around the small continent, so wherever you are you should have a good climb within a few hours’ drive. Apart from the Alps, you can find good rock climbing in Greenland, Russia's Caucacus Range, the Scottish Highlands and many other destinations. You can even find some decent glacier or ice climbs around some of the highest peaks.

Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland
This 3,000 foot granite rock face, nicknamed the Big Cylinder, near Tasermiut Fjord in South Greenland is a favorite of many great climbers, but expect to shell out big bucks to get there.

Sardinia, Italy
This small Italian island is quickly becoming Europe's climbing paradise. Head to Gennargentu national park for several multi-pitch routes on limestone rock faces that hover above the Mediterranean. Sardinia has always been popular especially the limestone sports climbing around Cala Gonone. Discover other climbing areas in Sardinia, including traditional multi-pitch climbing and sports climbing at places such as Isili and Domusnovas. They are many bouldering areas on the island usually on fantastic granite rock.

Dolomites, Italy
Italy's Dolomites are home to many good climbing spots from the limestone crags to the highest glacier climb in Italy and the Via Classica route on Marmolada's South Face. It's a good introduction to the sport without having to be overly technical. Italy is dominated by the Dolomites, with its big wall rock climbing. The limestone big walls are as tall as 800m with an abundance of classic routes, many of which can be reached with fairly short walks from the road. Other excellent rock climbing areas include Arco, near Lake Garda and Finale Ligure on the Mediterranean coast near France.

Lofoten Islands, Norway
This small island chain 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle are home to some of the best climbing in all of Europe. The mountains here only rise a little more than 3,280 feet above sea level, but their setting right out of the ocean signifies a dramatic climb.

Kalymnos, Greece
The most famous rock climbing area within Greece is found at Kalymnos. This small island near Kos is an excellent sport climbing destination with great weather throughout the year and many superb bolted limestone routes at every grade. Although the limestone crags on the island of Kalymnos have only been being climbed for the past decade or so, it is already one of the best known spots along the Aegean Sea. There are more than 800 routes, the majority being mid-level grades.

However, there are many other rock climbing areas within Greece such as Meteora, Patra and on the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

Frontier Ridge, France
“The Kuffner" sits on Mount Maudit in the French Alps in view of Mont Blanc. It's an easy climb, one of Europe's best, but the mix of snow, ice, rock, and altitude makes any experienced climber think twice.

Glymsgil, Iceland
Compared to Box Canyon in Colorado as one of the world's best ice climbing destinations. Dozens of good routes exist, with the best conditions from December to February.

Paklenica National Park, Croatia
Croatia has a vast range of rock climbing areas, of which the majority are situated near the coast, including the famous Paklenica National Park. Paklenica offers everything from single pitch sports routes up to 12-pitch traditional routes on the 350m high face of Anica kuk.
Other major rock climbing areas include the north coast near Pula and Rovinj, and to the south around Split and Omis.

Samaria Gorge, Crete
Above the Samaria Gorge, there are a dozen or so difficult courses ranging from 1,300-2,600 feet in height at Gigilos.

Cullen Ridge, Scotland
This ridge on the Isle of Sky has more than 30 peaks, none of which are overly high in altitude or difficult. It's a good place for some basic climbing where little can go wrong.

For more information about other interesting places in Europe, visit our website

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