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Articles - Sun, 25 Sep 2022 14:06:29 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Ice Climbing in Scotland Ice Climbing in Scotland

 Out of all the places in the world you could visit to enjoy a spot of ice climbing, Scotland may not be a country that comes at the top of anyone's list, or even on that list at all. Well, once reading this article hopefully we will have convinced you otherwise and you'll be on your way to the Highlands to enjoy a fantastic winter climbing experience.

First of all, you should know that ice climbing in Scotland is only available during certain parts of the year as the climate is much more varied than that compared to the Alps, for example. However, when the Highlands are in the correct condition for ice climbing, there are several locations that combine together to offer one of the best overall venues in the world.

Those of you who have been ice climbing before will most likely have been to locations such as, the Alps, Ireland or Rjukan in Norway and in these destinations you are surrounded by steep inclines. However, this is not the case in the Highlands. Characteristically, the inclines in the Highlands are much more open, but this does not mean you can not test yourself against some steep gradients. The various rock climbing locations dotted around Scotland will seriously test your winter skills, while other routes are more suited to beginner climbers.

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Scotland's Top Five Winter Climbing Locations

If the idea of ice climbing in Scotland sounds appealing to you, then get your axes and snow boots ready as below we take you through the top five locations to brave the snowy conditions in Scotland.

Ben Nevis

It is no surprise that Ben Nevis is the most popular destination in Scotland to enjoy some ice climbing when it sits at the highest point across the entirety of the United Kingdom at 1,344m above sea level. This collection of tall rugged ridgelines will have you marvelling at the view whenever possible. Ben Nevis offers some of the steepest gullies available in Scotland along with a variety of winter routes throughout the mountains. In total, you can find around 375 routes, making it the perfect adventure for all climbers.

For the best ice climbing experience, you will want to book your trips to Ben Nevis starting in January and shortly afterwards. By this time, there will have been plenty of snowfall and the ice will have had a chance to properly form throughout the Scottish winter. Since Ben Nevis' peak sits 1,344m in the sky, you can often find suitable ice climbing conditions in early June.

If you want some guidance on which winter route to pick, then we advise either the Prion Face Direct (Grade 5) or Tower Ridge (Grade 4).

Creag Meagaidh

Although Creag Meagaidh is often snubbed by rock climbers during the summer seasons, it is a whole different story once the snow has settled and the ice has formed. Creag Meagaidh is mostly known for its water ice lines, which are routes formed when the snow melts and then freezes as it falls gracefully of the side of the cliff faces. Although Creag Meagaidh offers some spectacular climbing lines, conditions in this area of the Scottish Highlands are incredibly unpredictable.

Those tempted by the climbing lines offered by Creag Meagaidh will need the area to go through several cycles that include the freezing and then thawing of the ice.

Our suggested routes in Creage Meagaidh include Smith's Gully (Grade 5) and Fairy Godmother (Grade 4).

Stob Coire Nan Lochan

Stob Coire Nan Lochan is a North-East facing peak in the beautiful Scottish Highlands that sits around 1,115m above sea level. This fine ice climbing location can be accessed directly from the A82, where climbers can begin the ascent from the base of the mountains. Due to the altitude that Stob Coire Nah Lochan offers, it presents itself as a great ice climbing location throughout the majority of the season.

Another highlight of this location is the varied climbing routes which offer a selection of different gradients, technical requirements and challenges. In total, there is 57 routes and the ones that make our top picks include; Central Groove (Grade 7) and Dorsal Arete (Grade 2).

The Northern Corries

Now, if you are looking for a location in Scotland that offer ice climbing routes early on in the season, then The Northern Corries should be at the top of your 'To-Do List'. The Northern Corries are located in the vicinity of the Cairngorm Ski Centre and can be accessed via a short walk making them highly accessible to climbers. The Northern Corries are not just a single crag, but instead two crags that are parted by a ridgeline. The two crags are named; Coire a t-Sneachda and Corie an Lochan.

Between the two crags, you have access to a total of 318 climbs which vary from beginner routes through to professional routes. The two routes that we advise having a go at if you are lucky enough to go to The Northern Corries are; Aladdin's Mirror Direct (Grade 4) and Fingers Ridge (Grade 4).


Around 20 miles from Braemar, you will find the beautiful location of Lochnagar which is one of the less popular ice climbing locations in Scotland due to the poor accessibility. We advise heading to Lochnagar towards the end of the season as this is when you will find the best conditions. With that being said, with routes that stretch over 200 metres long, you will find that the conditions on the different pitches vary.

If you are determined to endure the long walk to Lochnagar, then you can take advantage of the 145 climbs that are available. We suggest giving either Raeburn's Gully (Grade 2) and Eagle Ridge (Grade 6).

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Wed, 19 May 2021 17:21:30 +0000
Climbing The ‘Pale Alps’ Climbing The ‘Pale Alps’

If you are currently wondering what on earth are the ‘Pale Alps’, then it will ease your mind when I tell you that this is the nickname that the Dolomites go by. Hopefully, most of you reading are now aware of the incredible rock faces that I am referring to and for those of you who don’t… well let’s just say you are in for a real treat.

Placed in Northern Italy, the Dolomites offer one of the most diverse climbing destinations for all mountaineers and rock climbers to enjoy. More specifically, the eye-catching limestone spires of the Dolomites can be found south of the Austrian/Italian border. Characteristically, the Dolomites feature steep inclines with ever-lasting peaks that stretch over 3000m in altitude, in some locations. Around 80km of mountainous environment provides a vast range of varied routes, climbing destinations and challenges for all climbers to take on.

Those of you who fancy taking on the Dolomites will not be the first of course, with there being plenty of historical mountaineering figures who have done so in the past. To give you some examples of these; Emilio Comici, Angelo Dimai, Lacedelli, Piaz, Huber, Messner and Vinatzer are just some of the names to have ventured up the Pale Alps.

One of the mitigating factors that lead to the immense popularity shown by today’s modern people and historical figures for climbing the Dolomites is the challenges they present and the varied climbing destinations. Below we take a look at some of these options.

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Comici-Dimai Route

For those of you who are not fluent in Italian ‘Tre Cime di Lavaredo’ translates to Three Peaks of Lavardeo and this simply refers to the location in which you can find the Comici-Dimai Route. This route is certainly not one that should be attempted by beginners with it presenting a number of challenges. The classic route can be found to the north face of the Cima Grande which was put up by some of the historical figures in 1933 that were mentioned earlier, including; Emilio Comici, Angelo Dimai and Giuseppe. As you probably already noticed, the Comici-Dimai Route gained its name from two of the three famous climbers.

To have success on this route that presents a grade of around VII, we recommend an early start, expert efficiency in climbing skills and experienced route-finding skills.

For more experienced climbers We sugesst Constantini-Apollonio VII+.

Via Ferrata

Once again, for the readers who are inexperienced with the Italian language, Via Ferrata translates to ‘Iron Path’ and this refers to the steps, ladders and iron cables you can find scattered across mountain ranges. Without this ‘Via Ferrata’, many mountains like the Dolomites would be impenetrable. The via ferrata that you can find in the Dolomites have been in place since World War I, where they originally helped soldiers pass the tough rock formations during the fight between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Fortunately, the very same ‘iron paths’ remain in place and offer exciting routes for all climbers to enjoy - professional and rookies. Even those of you who are considered non-climbers, but perhaps fall into the category of a hiker, will feel right at home on these history-filled routes.

If you would like some extra guidance before taking on the ferratas, then we advise reading Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites Vol 1, by Josh Rushforth.

Piz Pordoi

Despite lacking on the history side of things, the Fedele Route with a Dibona finish is one of the best in its grade that's for sure. With over 20 pitches available and a grade of 5.7 (5.6 on the lower section), the Fedele Route has plenty of fixed-gear available to take advantage of. This challenging but fun route is perfect for all climbers, offering the chance to grab a tan and a pizza on the way down too.

Our Dolomite Need-To-Knows

Before you set your aim on the wonderful Dolomites in Italy, we advise that you take a brief look at our suggested ‘Need-To-Knows’ which will help you make the most of your time spent here.

Accessing the Dolomites

Being such a popular location, we expect many enthusiasts will be flying from abroad to arrive at the Dolomites. In these instances, the best airports to access the Pale Alps are most definitely Venice and Innsbruck. If you are struggling to book flights to either of these locations, then Munich and Milan will both work as substitutes.

If you managed to get to either Innsbruck or Venice, then driving is 100% the easiest approach but you can also make the most of several bus services in the larger towns that will drop you in the Dolomites.

With this being said, we have to mention that public transport is not a great service in the Dolomites. As mentioned before, the larger towns and cities offer adequate bus services but once you enter the mountains you will find yourself stranded without a car.

When is Climbing Season?

The best time to visit the Dolomites is between June and October (mid-October if you’re lucky). Fortunately, the Dolomites are positioned on the warmer, more sunny side of the Alps which means it gets much better weather than other regions. Also, with the Dolomites peaks sitting lower than that found in the Western Alps and Chamonix, you can expect warmer weather and less snow.

However, on the expectancy of snow, adventurers can head to Croatia, Austria or Acro in a few hours.

Places To Stay

Fortunately, the Dolomites is not the only scenic place in the area and Italy has a handful of serene villages dotted around. If you are the type of person who wants to get involved with the community then Cortina is a great option. The mountain town hosted Italy’s first Winter Olympics in 1956 and has won the bid to hold it once more in 2026. You can also find AirBnB’s available in quieter locations Ortisei and Alleghe.

If, on the other hand, you want a location that is closer to where you will be climbing then you may want to find a spot in the hills. You can find several mountain huts available for hire in the Dolomites, making for great short stay spots.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Tue, 11 May 2021 10:49:10 +0000
A guide to climbing in Red Rock Canyon Nevada’s sun-kissed Red Rock Canyon

Did you know that just 20 miles north-west of the Las Vegas Boulevard “Strip” lies a fascinating geological area in the Mojave Desert? Red Rock Canyon’s majestic red sandstone peaks and the Keystone Thrust Fault are just two reasons why avid climbers are growing increasingly intrigued by this corner of South Nevada. Red Rock Canyon offers climbing experiences and challenges for people of all ages and ability levels. Better still, the Nevadan climate means that it’s a year-round climbing location.

Nowadays, more people are venturing out to Las Vegas to experience Red Rock Canyon, as opposed to exclusively sitting in the casino floors of the Strip. The increasing accessibility of real-money poker rooms and online casinos, which offer plenty of games and welcome bonuses, means that the unique feeling of playing table games in “Sin City” is being lost. Las Vegas is also working hard to diversify into other areas of entertainment, including fine dining. 

The number of Michelin-starred eateries is rising year-by-year, while Vegas is also welcoming more professional sports teams to the city, namely the Las Vegas Knights NHL team and the prospective Las Vegas Raiders NFL team.

Besides, it’s also rapidly gaining a reputation for its Red Rocks, which are wholly unique for North American rock climbers. Some might think that Nevada is mostly flat as a desert. But real-money poker rooms interspersed within its flatter landscape. The busiest time for climbing at Red Rock is between September and May. It remains popular in the summer months but due to the searing midday heat of June, July and August, climbers tend to head out on climbs at 6 am, returning well before the midday desert heat reaches its climax.

There’s no other location in North America that feels like you are climbing in the wilderness of the desert despite being just a 20-minute drive from the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas’ civilization. Let’s take a look at a few of the best climbs you can do in and around Red Rock’s National Conservation Area:
1. Pine Creek Canyon
This scenic granite canyon appears to be the most popular climb of all at the Red Rocks. With an elevation of 7,190 feet, it’s a stiff physical test. There’s up to 630 different routes you can take on your climb, most of which will demand a 230 ft (70m) or 260 ft (80m) rope. Climbing conditions can be almost impossible when Pine Creek is wet, due to the fragile sandstone. Nevertheless, Pine Creek is easily reached by car via the scenic loop road.

2. Black Velvet Canyon
There are few more breath-taking climbs in the entirety of the Red Rocks than at Black Velvet Canyon. In particular, the Epinephrine route is one that offers something for everyone. Aside from the awe-inspiring finish, looking down at the Las Vegas Strip, the chimney pitches are worth the entry fee alone, as is the descent.

3. Juniper Canyon
Easily accessible from the Pine Creek parking lot, the Juniper Canyon offers exciting moderate routes for brave beginners and intermediates, as well as stiffer routes up the Rainbow Wall and the Cloud Tower. Once again, it’s important to reaffirm that climbing Juniper Canyon is unsafe if the area has experienced heavy rainfall and should not be attempted if the ground or rock face is damp in any way.
Of course, it’s possible to stay in and around the Las Vegas Strip if you are embarking on daytime climbs. But you can also choose to camp within the National Conservation Area. Vehicle campsites are first-come, first-served, and available at just $15 a night. The Red Rocks are definitely a bucket list climbing experience, even for those that don’t enjoy the bright lights of Las Vegas.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Fri, 27 Dec 2019 09:27:14 +0000
Unique Ways to Show Off Your Climbing Memories Unique Ways to Show Off Your Climbing Memories

When it comes to climbing, preserving a particularly great climbing spot or action move is sometimes just as important as the climb itself. While experts recommend a variety of tips for climbing photography, what’s even more important is what you’ll do with the photo afterwards. While it’s great to inspire yourself with climbing quotes, it’s even better to inspire yourself with real photos of amazing climbing experiences you’ve had personally. And, what better way to do so than to transform yourself and the photo into timeless art, still or moving?

Create Wall Art

Forget about those traditional inspirational posters. When you’re wanting to either hype yourself up for your next climb or show off a particularly stunning shot of you climbing one of the most difficult mountains in your region, you can use wall art to do so. Due to the rise in popularity of creating canvas art from personal photos, companies like CanvasPop offer individuals the chance to turn their special memories into 3D art that can be hung on a wall in your home, office, or training space. If you know someone who loves climbing and outdoor activities, this also makes a great surprise gift for a special occasion or to celebrate a recent accomplishment with a big climb.

Create a Movie

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which means that a video must be worth so much more than that. It’s actually true, with studies showing that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Turning footage from a climbing trip into a special movie is not only a great way to eternalize your memories, but it’s also an effective way to analyze and learn from your own climbing skills. Having to watch yourself and every step you take will help you become a better climber, and you’ll have a stunning movie to show off to friends and family following the big climb.

Enjoy the Moment

As a climber, you likely won’t be a stranger to the thrilling exhilaration that you feel during and after a great climb on a new mountain. While you’re probably great at living in that present moment, commemorating it with wall art or in the form of a video can be a great way to ensure you can relive that moment over and over for a long time to come. After training, traveling and exploring the heights of mountains and your own physical abilities, it will be well-deserved.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Tue, 12 Feb 2019 21:53:03 +0000
Ice Climbing in Iceland Ice Climbing in Iceland

Reaching the summit of Everest is on every climber’s to-do list, and if it’s not, it should be. That said, it’s not exactly the wild ride it used to be, and you’re more likely to see the likes of Damien and Willie Benegas cleaning up the litter left by hundreds of climbers than empty rock faces. To get away from all that, head to the glaciers of Iceland.

The Icelandic tourist scene is still developing, so while you’ll see some tours around, die-hard climbers will be able to get their fix of uninterrupted, uncrowded, unspoiled climbing amid awe-inspiring natural formations. And don’t let a potential lack of guides or hooks put you off. Or that rumor that there is no ice in Iceland. With a bit of preparation and bravado, even ice climbing beginners can have a memorable trip.

And on that note, let’s have a look at some of the top places apart from the obvious (the active volcano and highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur) to go for an extraordinary climb.

A good site for ice climbers to make their debut is the Sólheimajökull glacier. It’s a quick and easy journey from Reykjavik, home to most native ice climbers, to the car park closest to the glacier. But first, you’ll have to walk for about 15 minutes to get to the foot of the ice wall. True novices in the world of ice climbing should be aware that glacier hiking isn’t necessarily a walk in the park — be prepared for some uneasiness and ice crunches underfoot. To make the hike slightly less disconcerting, donning crampons for this part helps a lot. The beginner wall at the glacier lives up to its name: there are quite a few handholds that have been formed by other people’s axes and crampons icing over so while you’ll still have to work at getting your axes anchored in, your feet will have a bit of help.

Kaldakinn in Skjálfanda, which is in the northeast of the country, would undoubtedly be much more popular if it wasn’t so far away — you’re looking at a six-hour drive or internal flight from the capital. But is it worth it? That depends. Are you looking for up to 200 meters of clean ice? About 20 stretches of which have probably never been climbed before? For anyone looking to get a real adrenaline rush or to build on previous experience, Kaldakinn is well worth a visit.

And for seasoned ice climbers, those who have done all the “easy” climbs and are looking for a real challenge, Glymsgil is the place to head toward. It’s just an hour away from Reykjavik and therefore much more accessible. At the opening of the canyon, there are several easier climbs, but as you move further in, you’ll have to contend with a river that doesn’t freeze completely. Rappelling down is easy, but once you’re there, the only way to get out is by going up. The routes are long and it’s an arduous climb. Be prepared and make sure your equipment is in good shape because these routes aren’t frequently climbed, so do everything in your power to ensure you don’t get stranded. The Icelandic Alpine Club has more information about the routes at Glymsgil (in Icelandic), including the best ways to get there by car.

Iceland is, as of now, an untouched paradise for climbing, with only the locals getting into it. Our advice is to head there sooner rather than later before it becomes as commercial as other spots. After all, where’s the fun of conquering an ice face that has been done by thousands before you?

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:46:16 +0000
Climbing in Leonidio Climbing in Leonidio

In April 2017 we check new destination on worlds climbing map – Leonidio in Greece. Almost two weeks in this quite new sector was a good time. In this article, you will find some tips for climbing and accommodate here.

Getting there

Leonidio (~6000 residents) is placed in a valley on the east coast of the Peloponnese peninsula (210 kilometers from Athens). It is surrounded by big limestone crags, and from city to Sea is 3 kilometers. The best way to getting there is to buy a fly ticket directly to Athens. From there you have a 4-hour drive (you can rent a car from airport) to Leonidio (highway and later express road near of Mediterain Sea.



Climbing in hot rock. Photo. Damian Granowski

Another option is going there by bus:

By Bus:
From Athens International Airport take Bus X93 to Kifissou Bus station (in greek: Κηφισού). It is the final station of the line, ca. 1h drive, 5€.
At the bus terminal buy your ticket at the counter "Leonidio" (in greek: ΛΕΩΝΙΔΙΟ or Λεωνίδιο).

From Athens to Leonidio
8:15 am, 11 am (1x switch in Tripolis), 16:30 o'clock. Drive: ca. 4h
Fridays is an extra Bus at 18:30 o'clock.

From Leonidio to Athens
5:30 am (except Sundays)(via Tripolis), 8:15 am, 16:30 o'clock
Athens Bus Station: (+30) 210 5124910, 210 5124911
Leonidio Bus Station: (+30) 27570 22255

Accommodation & Food

Leonidio – The traditional town offers a lot of places to accommodation. There is the big touristic base for summer, when a lot of people go there for holidays (sea and beach). But out the season lot of them is free (and probably cheaper).  Here you have link to possible places.


The traditional town still offers a pleasant way of life and is a good place to choose for a relaxing and/or active vacation! Many of you have visited our beautiful village and have experienced the stunning cliffs surrounding Leonidio. Currently, there are more than 1000 routes across a wide range of grades, and there is still potential for much more.

In Leonidio, you have 2 small supermarkets. But you also have a lot of bakeries, small shops (fruit & vegetables). For long evenings you have a tavern and pizza restaurants. Local taverns have a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes.


There is „Leonidio Climbing Guidebook” (edition 2016, also in English). Almost 1000 routes in 50 sectors. More than 40 intro pages. It cost ~30 euro. It was produced by the climber from Panjika cooperative in Leonidio. They have in Leonidio bar, climbing shop, the restaurant in one ;).



Przemek Patelka on Tufa Tango 6c, Sector Mars

Best season for climbing

Climbing conditions in Leonidio are best in autumn, winter, and spring. Best period for climbing is from October to April, with the climate being typically Mediterranean. Some crags can be climbable even on hot spring and summer days.

We have been there on the beginning of May and there was a lot of crags where you can climb. But in many cases, we tried to climb in shade, For example, after 1 am there was shadow on sector Mars. Main sectors (above Leonidio) like Hot Rock are best in winter when the sun is your friend :-).


Daniel Wdowiak on Metallica 5c+

A lot of climbers is there at the beginning of November, when is Leonidio Climbing Festival (in this year 2-5 November).

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The rock

In Leonidio is limestone. Usually red/orange in overhangs. The vast majority of climbing routes in Leonidio are relatively new. Many still require thorough cleaning of loose rock and traffic to improve. Pieces still break off, so helmets are strongly recommended.



Ania Kołodziej in Sector Red Rock

In general quality of rock is good. You will find crimps, pockets (not so many), tufas. Climbing on slabs, vertical, overhanging rock.



Mateusz Kołodziej climbing 6b in Sector Mars


Near of Leonidio, there are close to a thousand climbing routes ( the state from 2016), most of them are quite new. The majority are single pitch routes, but you will find some multi-pitch climbing (up to 200 m) on the main cliff above the city. All the climbs are sensibly bolted (no clipstic required).

It is recommended to take an 80m rope since some of the routes are up to 40m high and required as many as 20 quickdraws (I hear that on some harder and long (~50m) routes you need 25). However, it is possible to get away with a 70 m rope and still climb the majority of the routes. Even 60 m rope should be ok, for a lot of routes (For example sector Mars). For sports multi-pitch climbing you need 80 m single rope (rappels are 40 m long) or 50-60 double rope. The double rope should be better on traditional routes.



Daniel Wdowiak and Krzysiek Sadnicki on multipitch route Mira 6b

Almost every climber will find something for them. From french 5a to 9a. But this area is not for very beginners climber. It is ok if you do 6a grade (OS or quick RP). There are not many routes at 4 and 5 grade.

A lot of routes have soft grade and are good for Onsight. It depends from the area. There where are routes bolted by German and Czech climbers will be more thoughtful.

One more time I repeat - A helmet is highly recommended, especially on vertical/long routes.

Best crags

Approach to the crack is usually short and well-signposted. Some sectors are 20-40 minutes from parking. And there you drive 5-20 minutes from Leonidio. Sectors like Red Rock, Hot Rock, Mars are available 20-30 minutes of walk from Leonidio. If you prefer you can hire bicycle or scooter in the town.

Most popular sectors:


Vertical, red-yellow wall. 15 minutes from parking above the valley of Leonidio.
Routes: up to 40m, 6a – 7a+


40 minutes by walk from Leonidio. The sector is in shade after 13:00, but after 17:00 tufas can be wet...



Katarzyna Miszograj on Tufa Tango 6c, Sector Mars

Routes: up to 40m
Grade: 6a+ to 8a

Twin Caves



Climbing on vertical routes in Twin Caves

This sector is in shade until 11:00 and after 18:00

Adrspach Wall

The Kokkinovrachos multi-pitches

There is 4 sports routes in the lower 6 grade and 12 fully bolted or traditional routes up to 200 meters. Recommended multi-pitches are: Tha Ta Poume 7a, Plug and Play 7a+, Aramis 6c, Mira 6b.

I don’t recommend Pillar of Fire. Its ugly trad (with some bolts) - better take only quickdraws and go for fully bolted routes :-).



Second pitch on Mira 6b

Take necessary gear + water, adequate clothes, and headlight. Best way to go down is rappeling by this same route or go to dedicated rappeling route on the right side of the wall (rappels have 40 m and are marked by red dots).

Other options for rest

- Mountain bike
- Diving in Sea
- visit monasteries of Elona. One hour from Leonidio is Mycenae and Tiryns


There are a lot of climbing sectors in Leonidio. You can find more information and topos here:

More pictures from Leonidio you will find here: Leonidio Gallery.

Damian Granowski

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Mon, 18 Sep 2017 07:52:38 +0000
Rock climbing in Poland Rock climbing in Poland

Poland is mostly flat but we have some mountains and rock climbing. I cannot describe all of them (~200), so just I write about best spots where you can do rock climbing. Lucky this locations are very close to big cities like Kraków, Katowice or Wrocław. In a different article, I write about mountaineering in Tatras (the highest polish mountains) - check if you want.

Very quick - like I say. Poland is mostly flat, but on the south side, you have almost 200 climbing areas and probably 15000-20000 routes! You will find in Poland typical rock: limestone, granite, sandstone. Routes have to 30 meters, from 3+ to 9a. You will find sport and trad routes. Generally, all that you need ;). We have also mountaineering, dry tooling, bouldering but I will don’t write here about this. Just only rock climbing.


Rock climbing near of Kraków (Łabajowa Rock in Będkowska Valley)

Below practical info and later bigger description of areas.

Practical info

Poland is a big country with long history. There is a lot of things to see. Good idea is to connect climbing with touring or hiking. Of course, we are climbers then first I will tell you about climbing. At the end of the article, you will find some ideas for a rest day.


Trad climbing on Wronia Baszta (Kobylańska Valley near of Kraków)

Getting there?

Poland has good airplane connections with almost every country in Europe. To Kraków, Katowice and Wrocław fly cheap airlines like Wizzair, Ryanair. At this places, you can rent a Car, but airports have good public transport. From Kraków and Wrocław you can go to crags by public transport! From Katowice, You have a good connection to Kraków, Wrocław, and Częstochowa.
The most comfortable will be traveling motorway by car. Be prepared that polish roads are not so good like in Germany ;). In every bigger climbing area, you will find camping or guest houses.
Be careful and parking only in designated places (the best way to avoid conflicts with locals). Usually, the best places to parking you will find in guidebooks. Good option to check a status of the crag is on website (Our Crags). Something like American Acces Fund. On you will find info and status of different crags
Approach to crags depends from the area - on Jura it should not take more than 30 minutes (rare is 40-60 minutes), on Sokoliki 25-45 minutes.


Granite climbing in Sokoliki

Accommodation and food

Accommodation opportunities depend from a place. But almost everywhere you will find private rooms and in most popular crag areas will be campsite or hostel.
In the most cases sleeping in the woods is not allowed. There are some places like Kobylańska Valley (free campsite in the Valley) or in Podlesice, but the better option will be to use (cheap) campsites (2-3 euro for tent, 5-7 euro for a bed in the house).
On my climbing school website, I wrote two articles about accommodation near of Kraków and Sokoliki. Articles are in Polish… but you can use Google Translator and Google Maps ;).
Accommodation and eating near of Kraków
Accommodation and eating near of Sokoliki

Generally in every place is no problem with finding grocery shops. In bigger cities (even villages) will be a market.
Popular crags areas are places where is a lot of people, then you will find there some restaurant (check my articles about Kraków and Sokoliki).


View from Krzywa Turnia (Sokoliki)


Almost every crag in Poland is in the guidebook and descriptions are quite good :-). We don’t have guidebooks in English, but I think that every climber with a quarter of the brain will know how to use books :). In guidebooks, you will find maps, GPS locations (crag and parking), approach patches and short notifications “How to Use the Guide” in English.
The most popular (and very actually) are:

Jura Południowa, Grzegorz Rettinger [South part of Jura (near of Kraków)]
Jura Środkowa, Grzegorz Rettinger [Middle part of Jura (near of Zawiercie)]
Jura Północna, Grzegorz Rettinger [North part of Jura (near of Rzędkowice)]
Jura 2, Paweł Haciski [South & part of Middle Jura (Kraków to Olkusz)]
Jura 3, Paweł Haciski [North & part of Middle Jura (Częstochowa to Smoleń)]

Góry Sokole, Michał Kajca
Rudawy Janowickie, Michał Kajca [out of sale, but this summer should be new edition]

Podkarpacie - Przewodnik wspinaczkowy, Jacek Trzemżalski [South-east part of Poland).
Hejszowina - Przewodnik wspinaczkowy


Climbing on Sokolik Mały

Where to buy?

You will buy a proper guidebook in this places:
Campsite 9up (Sokoliki), Tabor pod Krzywą (Sokoliki), Trafo Base Camp in Podlesice (North Jura), in Gliwice (very near to A4 motorway), KsiążkiGór (climbing bookstore (also online) in Kraków), (online climbing bookstore).

Another option is Big Brother Google. A lot of crags topo is available online. Highly recommended are websites like:,,, (my website with topo of multipitch climbing in Tatras). But the best website is Portalgorski with its topo base of polish crags! You also have dedicated App ;).
Last but not least - Watch out! Advertise ;). If you want help then write an email to Me. I will try to advise you the best option for classic climbs in Poland.
You can also hire me to be your Climbing Guide or Instructor. Check my offer on this page: Climbing Courses in Poland.


Trad climbing on Malinowa Rock (Rudawy Janowickie

Best season for climbing

In Poland, you can climb all year, but for Rock Climbing best season is from April to September. One important thing - Our climate doesn't have something like “long period of stable weather”. It is mostly random and I can just tell you that some months probably will be ok, but you never know ;). Generally is ok, last long period with big rains was in 2009 (almost one month of rain and floods) ;). Usually 1-3 days of rain (Mostly light rain).

January-February-March: We have winter. Sometimes you can climb, when are better periods of good weather. These periods are very random and temperatures are from 0-10°C (mostly below zero). But this is a good time for dry tooling.
April-May: There is spring but weather can be random. Usually, the temperature will be from 10-30°C but can be also 0-10°C in some days. Spring in Poland has good weather, not so many rainy days (usually storms) and temperatures are quite good for hard climbing. In this time Jura is very beautiful with fresh green grass and trees.
June-July (and two weeks of August): The hottest (20-35°C) and most wet (storms) time of the year. But like I say before, usually, it is a storm, then you can climb very quickly after rain. But shit happens and you can have 2-4 days of heavy rain. But mostly you must search for crags in shadow because Sun is too hot.
The second part of August-September: Probably best time for climbing in Poland (if you are a serious climber). A few rainy days, good temperature (10-25°C), rare storms and autumn in our country is wonderful.
October: For hard climbing is very good (5-20°C). Not so many rainy days (but happens that 2-3 days of rain). Days are shorter and sometimes crags in deep Valleys (like near of Kraków) can be wet (morning fog).
November-December: For rock climbing not recommended time: a lot of rainy days, low temperatures, short days. But a good time for dry tooling ;).


Sukiennice in Sokolikie. One of the best crags in Poland

Climbing in Poland

You will find here almost 200 hundred crag areas with 15-20k routes (mostly sport, but you will find also nice trad routes). Difficulties between 3 and 9a (even 9a/a+). We have three main type of rock: limestone (Jura), granite (Sokoliki and Rudawy) and sandstone (Podkarpacie and Hejszowina).
Routes are to 30 meters high, but average high is 15-25 meters. We have almost rock formation what climber need to live. There are some higher crags like Sokolica, Łysina or Żabi Koń where you have multipitch climb (usually well bolted).

rock climbing in poland map

Polish limestone has challenging routes on tiny holds with worse friction than the one found in most of the climbing spots in the Western Europe. Jura has a lot of small pockets (worse than on Frankenjura) and on harder routes, this pockets will be your footholds. Watch your fingers! I promise that after climbing trip to Poland your strength in fingers and footwork will improve ;).
Typical Polish route (at grade 6b-7b, ~20m) in white limestone is vertical with small crimps, pockets, small footholds and endurance climbing. We don’t have many overhanging routes like in Spain, but there is some climbing in roofs. Don’t dream about climbing on tufas in Poland ;).
Granite in Sudety (Sokoliki) are roughly and they have a lot of crimps and cracks. Cracks are not like in Yosemite where you have only cracks... and jamming is mandatory. In Sokoliki lot of (not every) routes have cracks, crimps, jugs and other holds.
Usually, grades have been given in the Kurtyka Scale. Below is a table with the comparison.

Skala trudności wspinaczkowych - porównanie, tabelka 

Routes are equipment in rings. Belay stances are from 2 rings and chain. Nowadays is very rare to have a route with old protection (especially bolts in limestone).
There is some outstanding trad climbing - most of them in Sokoliki, Hejszowina (sandstone) and Tatras (multipitch). But some of them are on Jura and this limestone trad climb is mode demanding (irregular crack, then you must use nuts and hexes).


Limestone climbing in Bolechowice Valley (near of Kraków)

What gear do you need?

Standard rope in Poland is single 60m. 13-15 quickdraws should be enough. On polish limestone, the best are climbing shoes with a hard sole and sharp tip (a lot of small pockets). The standard for belays are 2 ring + chain and routes are well equipment.

For trad climbing gear rack:

- set of cam (to #4 Camalot Black Diamond) on harder trad routes set of microfriends.
- set of nuts
- set of slings
- some alpine quickdraws

On Jura (limestone) better than cams are hexes (irregular cracks).


The most popular area for climbers in Poland is the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland (in Polish: Jura Krakowsko Częstochowska). These limestone crags are located between Kraków and Częstochowa. Very good access from Kraków (airport) and Katowice (airport).
For climbers, Jura has 3 sections: South (10-40 from Kraków), Middle (50-60 km from Kraków and Katowice) and North (50-100 from Kraków and Katowice). Every area has almost the same type of limestone ( the difference is usually with the size of pockets and… slippery). A lot of crags are hidden in the forest, but many are on hills with an outstanding view!


Rock climbing on Jura

The best places on Jura

South Jura
Będkowska Valley (Dolina Będkowska). Crags: Dupa Słonia, Sokolica, Łabajowa, Wysoka, Brandysowa
Bolechowicka Valley (Dolina Bolechowicka)
Kobylańska Valley (Dolina Kobylańska). Crags: Żabi Koń, Zjazdowa Turnia, Wronia Baszta, Sępia Baszta
Kluczwoda Valley (Dolina Kluczwody). Crags: Jaskinia Mamutowa (Mammoth Cave), hardest polish routes in roof.
Others: Pochylec, Słoneczne Skały, Dolina Brzoskwinii, Skiała nad Potokiem
Last but not least. In Kraków (near city center) you have 2 old quarries (Zakrzówek, Krzemionki) where the journey is quick, and even if you have 2-4 hours you can climb ;).
Local climbers go after work to crags near of Kraków (20-30 min by car or 20-60 min by public transport).

Middle Jura
A lot of crags in the forest.
Pazurek, Podzamcze, Zegarowe Skały, Goncerzyca.

North Jura
There are more crags on hills. Rock has more pockets than on South Jura.
Olsztyn, Mirów, Rzędkowice, Łutowiec, Góra Zborów, Góra Kołoczek, Biblioteka, Jastrzębnik, Okiennik Skarżycki, Góra Birów


Kobylańska Valley (near of Kraków)

Góry Sokole is the north-west edge of Rudawy Janowickie, but is often regarded as a distinct location. The rocks here are also granite, and the area is subdivided into three regions: Krzyżna Góra, Rejon Sokolika and Rejon Sukiennic, all of which are also a part of Rudawy Landscape Park.
This small mountain range offers best granite climbing in Poland (I don’t include multipitch climbing in Tatras). On this area is ~1000 sport and trad routes (also multipitch climbing to 60 meters).

Best crags in Sokoliki and Krzyżna Góra
Sukiennice, Krzywa Turnia, Sokolik Wielki, Sokolik Mały, Tępa, Jastrzębia Turnia.

Rudawy Janowickie
Rudawy Janowickie is a mountain range in the Western Sudetes, fairly close to the border with the Czech Republic and Germany. It’s located about 100 kilometres west of Wrocław and is enclosed by Rudawy Landscape Park (Rudawski Park Krajobrazowy). The mountain range is commonly divided into four regions: Rejon Zamku Bolczów, Grupa Fajki, Grupa Skalnego Mostu and Starościńskie Skały, each of which offers numerous granite rocks, higher than the limestone peaks in Jura. Lot of climbing in Rudawy are on trad. Also area is bigger than Sokoliki - You will have longer approach to crags.


Granite slabs in Rudawy Janowickie (Starościńskie Skały)

Best crags in Rudawy Janowickie
Starościńskie Skały, Malinowa, Fajka

Other places
In Poland you will find more (small) crag area. I will mention about most popular and recommended to climb.

Sandstone areas
Probably best sectors are: Rożnów (close to Nowy Sącz), Kamień Leski (near of Sanok) and Czarnorzeki (close to Rzeszów). This second should be better (more routes).
On the Lower Silesia (border between Poland and Czech Republic) is Hejszowina, where are big sandstone walls. But protection is from rings (long distance between them) and knots :). Like in Czech: Ardspach and Teplice.

sandstone rock climbing poland

Sandstone sport climbing in Czarnorzeki (near of Rzeszów)


Climbing in Tatras (more info here: Mountaineering in Tatras)

I hope that this article was helpful for you. If you have any question then contact with me. Also I'm climbing instructor then if you want I can be your guide on polish crags or you can take part in my climbing courses near of Kraków or Sokoliki. Check there for more information: Climbing Courses in Poland.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Tue, 07 Mar 2017 11:57:42 +0000
Best ice climbing in Norway Photo: Thomas Senf

Norway is Mecca for Ice Climbers from around the World. Tousands of icefalls and excellent conditions in winter. In this article you will find some propositions for unforgettable ice climbing holidays. In Norway you can find routes from single pitch up to 800-1000 m in length (sic!). If your an experienced ice climber then Norway is a trip of a lifetime :-).

Climbing ice on the coasts of Norway has its specialities: Due their proximity to the sea the icefalls in the western fjords are bent are twisted creations. Massive storms, drastic changes in temperature, and the resulting fast freeze thaw cycles combine with long spells of warmth and rain lead to insane ice creations.

Coming to Norway without solid planning and an eye to the weather means playing roulette with your travel budget: you run the risk of experiencing a period of rain and thaw and the objects of your journey simply vanish in the changing conditions.

Rjukan – Telemark Region

This is the best location in Norway to find stable ice climbing conditions (November – March) and icefalls at all skill level. Rjukan in deep valley with over 150 established ice climbs all concentrated in a very small area and is easy to reach just 2.5 hr drive from Oslo (airport). In city Rjukan you will find accommodation.

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New this year Rjukan has one of the nicest Ice Parks where they “farming” fresh ice just 5 minute walk from our beautiful lodge the Climbing. In general You will need a car to get around the area if you do not want to be limited to the routes close to the town centre. The vast majority of the routes are all within 20 km of 
the town.

Icefall Lipton WI7. Photo: Andrzej Makarczuk /

Classic single or multi-pitch routes range from easy WI 3 – WI 6 and all approaches are generally short and logistically easy. There is also an alpine skiing centre at Gaustablikk

Below nice movie "Rjukan Ice Paradise" by polish director Jan Wierzejski


Hemsedal – Buskerud Region

If you want to combine Ice Climbing and Skiing then Hemsedal is the best choice. Here you have plenty of classic routes and one of Norway’s better ski areas all in the same valley. Routes at all levels but not the plethora that can be found in other parts of Norway.

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Gudvangen in western Norway is home to several world-class routes. These lines provide around 1000 meter of continuous steep ice-climbing. Some of the lines are climbed, but the greatest line was still untouched before Robert Jasper introduced his climbing ethics to Norway

Eidfjord – Hordaland Region


Måbødalen - Eidfjor. Photo: Matthias Scherer (source)

Eidfjord is considered a must visit location for ice climbers who want to explore new routes or just experience huge steep icefalls. It is a beautiful small village within the fantastic Hardangar Fjord. Here you can climb ice routes above the fjord and have access to long classic routes.


Northern Norway – Lofoten, Lyngen Alps, or Bodø

This remote region offers an abundance of established challenges, as well as considerable potential for new routing. The dark winter days north of the Polar Circle allows for climbing all winter but this area is best in late February – March when the light comes back and gives long enough days to climb these routes without having to climb by headlamp. But prepare for long approach.

Wspinaczka lodowa w Norwegii

Climbing in Lyngen Alps. Photo. Hannes Mair (source)

Hidden Gems

If your looking for a real adventure and want to climb some first ascents in Norway then is good area for you.  This kind of trip requires special planning and probably help from local climbers.

Check also Scotland.

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:35:47 +0000
10 of the Best Ice and Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe 10 of the Best Ice and Rock Climbing Destinations in Europe

Europe is home to a lot of hiking and climbing trips. Compared to other regions, Europe has the most mountain ranges that are conveniently spread throughout the continent. Whatever country you’re visiting in Europe, chances are, you will only be a few hours drive from a good climbing spot.


Sardinia, Italy


Despite being a really small island, Sardinian is quickly becoming a climber's favourite. Its mild temperature in winter makes this place a great place to escape the scorching heat of the sun.

Sardinia is bolted with almost 4,000 sport routes and 1,000 multi-pitches. It is thanks to the efforts of veteran climbers and passionate locals who want to create climbing problems for all grades that Sardinia is now a climber’s haven.

Lofoten Islands, Norway


Lofoten Islands is a small island chain that is 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is home to some of the best climbs in Europe.

The mountains in Lofoten Islands aren't very high but they are the most beautiful in the region. The highest peak, Higraftindan, reaches only 1,161 meters but the fact that they rise straight from the sea makes this peak awe-inspiring and extraordinary in its own right.

Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland


Ulamertorsuaq has 4 peaks with heights of 1,858 metres, 1843 meters, 1829 meter, and 1825 meters. The 1,843 metres high peak is the most popular among climbers because of the challenge its perpendicular cliff presents. It is also favoured due to its extremely firm granite structure that is similar to other summits such as Napasorsuaq and Ketil.

Dolomites, Italy


Dolomites is a mountain range located northeast of Italy. They are part of the Southern Limestone Alps, and extend from the River Adige to Piave Valley. The uniqueness of the landscape offered by the mountains of Dolomites has allowed the place to be considered a World Heritage Site.

Kalymnos, Greece


Kalymnos is a Greek Island in the Southeastern Aegean Sea. It offers rock climbing and bouldering the whole year round but it is commonly visited during the summer months because Greek locals like to escape the mainland heat. At the end of October, colder winds come in from the north and bring winter, making this a popular destination for winter climbers.

Glymsgil, Iceland


Glymsgil is often compared to the Box Canyon in Colorado. Glymsgil, like its American counterpart, is one of the best ice climbing destinations in the world. A lot of good routes exist here, with the best weather coming in from December to February.

Frontier Ridge, France


Frontier Ridge houses a mountain called Mont Maudit, which is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massic in France and Italy. Mont Maudit literally means "cursed mountain" due to the fact that its terrains are extremely difficult to traverse. Mount Maudit stands at 4,465 meters, and can be extremely unforgiving when it comes to the weather.

Samaria Gorge, Greece


Samaria Gorge is a national park in Greece. The gorge is in the southwest of Crete in the regional retreat of Chania, and it was formed over many years by a small river running between the White Mountains and Mt. Volakias. There are several terrains here for mountaineers to enjoy and explore.

Múlafjall, Iceland


Múlafjall is a popular climbing area near Reykjavík. It has a 1.5-mile long cliff face, with dozens of routes of varying grades for different climbers.

Cullen Ridge, Scotland


Cullen Ridge, which is located on the Isle of Sky, has over 30 peaks. None of the peaks are high in altitude or difficult to climb, making it the perfect spot for novice climbers.

Climbing has become a popular activity over the years thanks not only to the enthusiasts who blog about their feats but to the media as well who cover events. Apart from high profile news coverage and magazine features, the media has acknowledged climbing’s popularity by creating TV shows and games based on the pursuit.

Reel Rock is one of the most popular television shows that covers climbing which followed Emmy-winning adventure filmmakers Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer on some of their most daring attempts to capture exhilarating sites.

There's also the video game The Climb, which is a virtual-reality climbing gaming title. The Climb has adopted the revolutionary VR headsets in an attempt to innovate the virtual climbing experience. For casuals who aren’t fond of VR tech, there are several titles that use climbing as their core theme. Hosted on gaming and slot site Betfair there are titles such as Ice Run and the popular Wild Gambler: Arctic Adventure, both of which are a nod to the dangerous yet equally rewarding lives of climbers.

No matter what the generation, climbing will always garner a strong following, not just because this thrill seeking activity gets mainstream coverage, but because there will always be adventurers looking to conquer challenging climbs.

Do you have a favourite climbing spot? Let us know which you feel are the best in the world in our comments section below.

Image credit: all images obtained from Pixabay

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:18:26 +0000
Reinhold Messner famous quotes Reinhold Messner famous quotes

Reinhold Messner, born in 1944 and raised in the South Tyrol's Villnöss Valley among the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy, is simply one of the greatest mountaineers of the 20th century. Is famous for making the first documented solo ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Messner's Climbing Resume

Solo first ascents on the great faces of the Dolomite mountains in northern Italy.
The forbidding North Face (Nordwand) of Switzerland's Eiger climbed in a quick 10 hours with Peter Habeler in 1974.
The first person, along with partner Habeler, to climb Mount Everest, highest mountain in the world, without supplemental oxygen in 1978.
The first solo ascent of Mount Everest in 1980, and by a new route!
The first person to climb all fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, the world's highest mountains.
The second person to climb the Seven Summits, the highest points on the seven continents.
Later Messner made expeditions to the North and South Poles, crossed the Gobi Desert in central Asia on foot; and researched and wrote a book about the infamous Yeti.

Reinhold Messner quotes

"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."

“Not only during the ascent, but also during the descent my willpower is dulled. The longer I climb the less important the goal seems to me, the more indifferent I become to myself. My attention has diminished, my memory is weakened. My mental fatigue is now greater than the bodily. It is so pleasant to sit doing nothing--and therefore so dangerous. Death through exhaustion is like death
through freezing--a pleasant one.”

"Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible."

"My market value increases with every outside critisism. Therefore, the frequently raised contention that I am the most highly critisized mountaineer does not disturb me in the slightest."

"I do this for myself because I am my own fatherland, and my handkerchief is my flag."

"I always take the same perspective with each new adventure. I put myself in the position of being at the end of my life looking back. Then I ask myself if what I am doing is important to me."

"In my state of spiritual abstraction, I no longer belong to myself and to my eyesight. I am nothing more than a single narrow gasping lung, floating over the mists and summits."

"Bolts are the murder of the impossible."

“When I rest I feel utterly lifeless except that my throat burns when I draw breath... I can scarcely go on. No despair, no happiness, no anxiety. I have not lost the mastery of my feelings, there are actually no more feelings. I consist only of will. After each few meters this too fizzles out in unending tiredness. Then I think nothing. I let myself fall, just lie there. For an indefinite time I remain completely irresolute. Then I make a few steps again.”

"I was in continual agony; I have never in my life been so tired as on the summit of Everest that day. I just sat and sat there, oblivious to everything...."

"If you have a high-way on Everest, you don't meet the mountain. If everything is prepared, and you have a guide who is responsible for your security, you cannot meet the mountain. Meeting mountains is only possible if you . . . are out there in self-sufficiency."

"I want to solve a climbing problem in the mountains, not in the sporting goods store."

"The wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have."

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"...seen from above, landscapes are made up of mountains and watercourses. Just as a transparent model of the human body consists of a framework of bone and a network of arteries, the earth's crust is structured in mountain ridges, river, creeks, and gullies."

"Mountaineering has become part of tourism. Today you can buy an ascent of Everest like you can buy a trip to Rome. You can buy the summit and be taken there as a tourist, but you cannot buy the experience I had or that [Edmund] Hillary or Chris Bonnington had [1953 first ascent of Mount Everest; 1975 ascent of Everest Southwest Face]. Real mountaineering means that you--or you and your partner--are solely responsible for what you do and the decisions you take. It is completely different.”

"Over time, our only chance at safety will depend on not turning the mountains into Disneyland."

"I didn’t go up there to die. I went up there to live."

More climbing quotes...

]]> (Damian Granowski) Articles Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:23:20 +0000