2018 Rock Climbing Hot Spots, Trends, & Gear

Now is the perfect time to check out an iconic climbing locale. If you've been working hard at the gym, maybe it's time to treat yourself to some real rock and a vacation!

Yosemite National Park, CA


Climbing in Yosemite is not easy—and nothing like climbing at your local gym. But this amazing national park is a great way to challenge your technique and practice your patience as a climber. Most of the routes in Yosemite require much more balance than brute strength. Though we could say this about climbing in general, it is particularly true on the expansive granite walls of Yosemite.

Most climbing in Yosemite is traditional climbing, meaning you place your own gear in the rocks. There are a few bolted routes around the park, but you'll want to have plenty of experience placing your own gear before you go. SuperTopo has a great comprehensive guide to climbing Yosemite.

Joshua Tree, CA


In the 1980s, Joshua Tree was a sleepy national park in the Mojave Desert, between Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. In recent years, climbers have discovered the predictable weather, grippy rocks, and all of the natural wonder of the area. Now, it can be difficult to secure one of the limited campsites in the park. Climbers and spectators alike flock to Joshua Tree to experience one of the most picturesque climbing destinations in the country.

Joshua Tree boasts enough bouldering problems to keep you occupied for quite some time, and lots of traditional style climbing on the quartz monzonite that makes up the majority of the rock formations. If you're looking for a guided experience, check out the Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School. They've been guiding climbers since 1988 and would love to show you around.

Eldorado Canyon, CO


If you’ve been climbing for more than a few weeks, chances are you’ve heard about Eldorado Canyon. Just outside of Boulder, Colorado, “Eldo” is home to some of the best rock climbing in the world. The canyon is composed primarily of sandstone, but it is more stable and climber-friendly than much of the sandstone throughout Colorado and Utah. Over the years, Eldo has become a Mecca for climbers.

Though the canyon is home to plenty of legendarily tricky, traditional lead climbs, you can also find a variety of bouldering problems and some more beginner-friendly routes. Over the years, climbers have put some bolts in the rocks, but be sure to set up reinforcement rather than relying on previously placed gear. And, as always, be sure to bring a trusted climbing partner!

So pack up your gear and head to the rock. Download our Rock Climbing Equipment Checklist to be sure you have everything you need. Climb on!

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