It's not because things are
difficult that we dare not venture. It's because we dare
not venture that they are difficult. (Seneca)
Some man said: "Vertical sports and
the presence of danger force us into the now, into being
here in this moment. Maybe that's what makes them so
appealing. Maybe it's also their greatest gift." I
really don't know why do I go climbing cliffs and
mountains but I feel in my heart he's true. If you like
climbing we can talk about it or better take a rope
and carabiners to climb a rock...
I usually go climb sandstone rocks
because sandstone creates amazing rock towers and their
breathtaking shape call on me to do a great ascent.
Having enough time and money I leave for mountains, where
I enjoy long routes, mixed rock and ice or winter routes.
The following is a list of areas I visited for climbing:
- New River Gorge and Summersville
Hundreds of trad routes worth climbing. Located along the
New River Gorge in West Virginia. Half an hour-long drive
from the river on Rt.19 north is the Summersville lake with cliffs right above the water. Here, the routes are bolted.
- Seneca Rocks
Multi-pitch routes lead to the top of a huge slab called Seneca Rocks located in West Virginia, 3.5 hour-long
drive from Washington, D.C.. Lots of info can be found on the
Seneca Rocks Web or check
a photo gallery here.
Probably the most famous climbing area in the East, about 1.5 hour north from New York. For rock climbing in
Gunks look here.
- Washington D.C. Area
Not much of rock climbing within one-hour radius because all places are rather small and consequently
crowded. Many times the rock quality is suitable for top-roping or bouldering only. Places I know about:
along the Potomac river are
Carderrock and Great Falls, and
mountain (very nice and popular but short climbs only).
- Arches NP
Much of the Climbing Arches Natl' Park can be reached by taking Highway 191 and turning off to Highway 128
from Moab, UT, then go north. Climbing in the Arches NP
is very technical and the rock is very soft which means
unreliable protection. However, nice exposure and scenery.
I haven't climbed much over there, only Owl Rock (5.8) and West Face on Dark Angel (5.9 A0), but would like to come
back some time.
- Joshua Tree NP
Awsome granite shapes are found in this desert park in
Friction and crack climbing.
- Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is less then an hour's drive west of Las Vegas and has many significant geologic features.
More info here.
In the summer 1993, me and my friend went together by train to Tajikistan
where we wanted to climb up a few peaks in the northwest part of
the country. I know this mountains as the Fanskye mountains or
Kukhestan. Their peaks tower over 5000 m above the sea level but
between ridges you can find beautiful green valleys with many rivers
What about climbing over there? You can choose between rock and
mixed terrain or even routes on ice only. But you should be aware
of quite poor quality of the rock. I took a lot of pictures when
I was in the Tajikistan mountains and in my gallery
you can see some examples of them.
Topos and guidebooks are available at Filidor (in German, French and Italien).
A superlative area for high quality easy accessible rock climbing in an alpine setting
and for mid-range, low altitude alpinism. Situated in Central Switzerland at the Grimsel
lake at the eastern end of the Bernese Alps.
- Konigspitze (Grand Zebru) - 3851m / 12634 ft
Picture of the NE wall.
Limestone cliffs along the Berounka river near Prague.
Guidebook (in Czech).
The sandstone climbing in the Czech Republic is very challenging and exciting plus you can enjoy a
nice scenery. Part of the
excitement comes from the climbing rule that you must not use any metal gear (wouldn't hold a fall anyway).
Thus, you are only allowed to use slings with knots and place them into cracks. There are some fixed anchors (rings)
but quite apart, generally more than 5 meters and you should expect distances like 10 meters or more.
Area information in Czech is here. Photographs of the most
famous sandstone towers
and brief description of climbing routes is (in Czech) here.
- Czech Paradise (Prachov, Hruba Skala)
- Suche skaly
Very hard sandstone allows climbing immediately after rain.
- Teplicke skaly
Climbing information and pictures in Czech.
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo - 2999 m / 9839 ft
Description of the area, how to get there and climbing can be found at
Current weather conditions are presented on this page
along with a webcam watching the mountains.
The High Tatra Mountains
Tatra mountains (Vysoke Tatry) are located in
and they are the most north and the highest part of 1200 km long
Carpathian bow. The main ridge leads in the west-east direction
in the length of 78 km. The whole area of Tatra mountains is 786
sq. km. The mountains are divided to two parts: Western and
The Eastern Tatra have two parts - Vysoke Tatry (High Tatra)
and Belianske Tatry. The length of ridge of High Tatra is 26.5
km. The highest peaks are Gerlachovsky stit (2655 m),
Gerlachovska veza (2642 m), Lomnicky stit (2632 m) and Ladovy
stit (2627 m).
The mountains consist mostly of granite and there are no glaciers.
In High Tatras, I have done mostly mixed climbing in winter.
Jan Merka 2007-01-20