The Alsek Pass Boulders lie along the shore of an ancient lake located on the border of Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory of northern Canada. The scene is stunning with a backdrop of vast sweeping vistas in wild grizzly bear country. Well-sized outcroppings of beautiful green and red, climber-friendly stone are set as the main stage. The area is located about 15km west of the small Yukon town of Haines Junction that has a population of around 600 people.
We can all enjoy bouldering in the majestic Alsek Pass thanks to a legend in Yukon climbing, Paul Henstridge. I had the pleasure of experiencing the grandeur of Alsek Pass for the first time in 2008. I was spellbound by the beauty of the place and the quality of the stone. When I heard that Paul had developed the area, I got in touch. Paul has been climbing in the Yukon for decades and has developed uncountable routes, ice climbs and boulders around the territory, concentrating around his hometown of Haines Junction.
When we met, he had recently had a severe motor-vehicle accident from which he has been valiantly recovering despite the doctors’ negative prognoses. I’ve been documenting Alsek Pass with Paul very sporadically over the years on one-day missions. He’s got a perma-psych that is contagious and a playful determination that will put a smile on your face. Every year his body is more able to move around on the rocks but it’s not just the progression that’s inspiring, it’s his authentic and overflowing appreciation for the beauty of life.
Alsek Pass, Yukon|Bouldering in the Wild North by Sierra Allen was last modified: August 18th, 2019 by sya
The quality of climbing at Moore’s Wall is superb. As John Sherman said in his Stone Crusade, the rock is “bullet-hard quartzite”. Large blocky features that force opposition as well as the small razor sharp crimps are common and found in many of the area classics and test pieces such as Stickman, Proper Modulation, The Nick and Tsunami. Further adding to the experience is the mental game of unlocking beta. Large, seemingly good features from the ground, climb very different than they appear and makes for some thought provoking beta decryption. The high-quality rock, its texture and features along with the vision of the locals has produced a movement and style unique to the Southeast.
Chris on Tsunami V8
Located inside Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina, Moore’s Wall is one of many state parks maintained by the North Carolina Parks division. It is part of the Sauratown Mountain Range (1,700 feet to more than 2,500 feet in elevation). It is comprised of four primary sectors, The Main Area, The Valley, The North End, and Two Mile. One of the great things about Moore’s is that the sun exposure is different for each of the areas. During some of the coldest months you can still climb at Two Mile since it is south facing and will always be warmer than the other areas. On the flip side, if it is warm out you can climb at The North End, which is always ten or more degrees colder than The Main Area or Valley. However, a cooler temperature if it is humid out (and this is North Carolina) will just mean the boulder will feel wet. We don’t make the rules here.
Kitten Mittons V7
As you might expect, the best time of year to climb here is when it is cold and dry. Although you can theoretically “climb” year round, the heat, poor friction, smog of bugs, unreasonably large spiders, and rattle snakes during the warmer months are a deterrent for most climbers. The climbing season can start as early as September if the temperatures stop exceeding 80 and 90 degrees and continues until it gets unbearably cold at the dead of winter. Climbing picks back up in February or March and continues through May/June. Although with global warming you can occasionally climb throughout the so-called cold months. In what roughly correlates, in our calendar, to the month of December, there is a yearly sasquatch migration. They can be quite territorial. When confronted, avoid direct eye contact; it may be considered an invitation or a challenge depending on the gender of the sasquatch. Be especially careful on a lunar leap year.
Buy Yukon Bouldering here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
Sierra Allen on Credit Card Debt (V4), Rock Gardens
Right next to Alaska is a land less known, but just as vast and rugged. The Yukon Territory is full of potential for discovery. Larger in geographic size than the state of California, and with less than 40,000 human inhabitants, it still contains great expanses of untouched wilderness. It is a land of great potential for climbers seeking virgin stone as only a tiny percentage of the rock here has been explored.
Over the past century, rumours of getting rich off gold brought an influx of destructive human activity to Yukon. More recently, as the global consciousness shifts from extraction of and control over nature to the appreciation and gratitude for it, the Yukon is becoming a destination for folks seeking a different kind of richness: low-impact outdoor adventure in a still pristine landscape.
Sierra Allen on an Unnamed problem in the Alsek Valley
The Yukon is becoming known for being a natural playground for fisherpeople, backpackers, paddlers, dog mushers, cross-country skiers, paragliders and mountain bikers. Rock climbing and bouldering development in the Yukon began decades ago but it is now gaining momentum as more and more people head north, seeking the freedom to play in untamed nature. That desire for adventure is key in really getting the most out of what the Yukon has to offer. Naturally, the climbing areas that have been most developed thus far are concentrated around the Yukon’s capital city, Whitehorse.
Loic Markley on Witness the Sickness (V9), Ibex Valley
Accessibility is the exciting challenge to new development beyond the rock that lies near the Yukon’s sparse highways. Even access to the Yukon’s most prominent bouldering area, the Ibex Valley, requires a 4wd vehicle. Many more possibilities open up to those for whom hiking, four wheeling, and boating are an option. There’s a lot of quality rock out there, rewarding those who are psyched to put in the energy to get out there and seek it!
I invite you to come and experience the wild Canadian north through the simple yet infinitely engaging art of bouldering. The season to climb here is between May and September, with July and August being the months with the best conditions and nearly 24hrs of sunlight. You’ll never have to worry about having to rush to send before dark!
Ethan Allen on Tryndamere (V5) and Jenna Carter on Tryed and True (V0), Ibex Valley
Come expecting a solid variety of world class rock along with some pretty engaging “backyard choss”. Expect quiet beauty, zero crowds, adventure potential everywhere you look, free camping, free clean water and pristine landscapes you’ll be awed by.
Buy Boat Rock Bouldering here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
Athar Naseer, Gaping Crack (V3)
Boat Rock is a granite playground nestled in the heart of a bustling metropolis. It consists of monstrous boulders hidden within a beautiful southern forest. The contrast between this amazing paradise of sharp boulders and the fast-moving cement city that has enveloped this climbing Eden is stark and dramatic. Boat Rock is an amazing respite for the climber stranded in the city, and is the most extensive and varied bouldering park within a few hours of Atlanta.
Boat Rock boasts a variety of climbers that called the Boat their stomping grounds, including Robyn Erbesfield, Bob Cormany, Ron Kauk, Curtis Glass, Shannon Stegg, Jerry Roberts, and Rich Gottlieb who all have made Boat Rock a destination for those looking to develop technical skills in this slab filled area.
Alex Liu, on Easy Crack Traverse (V3)
Boat Rock is notorious for being saved from urban progress by advocacy groups, especially the Southeastern Climber’s Coalition. Today, the area is divided between being held for climbers, and still owned by others, so climbers have to be aware of where boundaries are. Future plans seem to incorporate the outlying areas that possess interesting problems into use for climbers of Boat Rock permanently.
The pinnacle of climbing season is late January, where it doesn’t usually get blistering cold in this area of Georgia. The closer to summer, the ever-present humidity makes its presence known to climbers. Spring and fall are beautiful times to enjoy this park, but as the foliage is beautiful on the trees, it does inhibit navigating the boulders for beginners and new-comers.
Boat Rock is a place for climbers of varying ability levels. This is a great place to develop great slab climbing skills, as well as crack climbing, edging and balance.
Buy Pot Point Boulders here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
Corey Harris on Rite of Passage (V2)
The Pot Point bouldering area is one of the best kept secrets of the Chattanooga bouldering scene. Potential for new lines and free camping all within a peaceful setting make this spot perfect for climbers looking for something new.
This area sits on the ridge overlooking the river gorge and Raccoon Mountain and is situated along the Pot Point hiking trail. While only the best select problems are included in this initial guidebook release the area has an abundance of unclimbed rock and well featured boulders. Divided into several mini areas the boulders are strewn about for almost a mile.
Drew Meyer on Love Handles (V4)
Each area has its classics and warmups with the furthest of all the areas being a large maze of rock, otherwise known as the Fortress. While most visitors to the area will hit the Fortress; the other areas hold enough quality problems to keep all but the strongest climbers busy. Keep in mind that since development in 2006 nature has reclaimed some boulders and problems can grow with lichen again and their approach trails become non-existent. This is part of the beauty of the area so embrace it.
From the downtown Chattanooga area head north on Hwy 27 taking the Signal Mtn Rd Exit and head west (toward the mountain) taking a left onto TN-27 W/Suck Creek Rd. Drive 8 miles through the scenic Suck Creek area and turning left on to Choctaw Trail following signage for Prentice Cooper. A left turn onto Game Reserve Rd leads you to the entrance of the Prentice Cooper area. Drive 8 miles to the left turn to the Davis Pond Rd. and park here if the roads are closed.
The roads are closed from December to March or in exceptionally wet times. When the roads are open you can drive the loop just past the pond taking the right fork. You will be able to see the Alpha area from the road.
Buy Norm & Matt’s Powerlinez guidebook here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
Jeep Trail – Trail Head Entrance
If you are one who is interested in history, then the Powerlinez might be just the place for you. Let me forewarn you – it’s not a place for solitude or escape from the influence of man. Hundreds of years ago, before power plants and landfills, the local Ramapough Indians roamed these hills and especially the Torne Valley region, which is the same valley we climb in today. Rumors of artifacts and old settlements have dated as far back as we remember.
Now, Powerlinez rock climbing is the beginning of a new history. It is the first area in Harriman State Park to be legally opened to climbing. Thanks to all the hard work of the Torne Valley Climbers’ Coalition (TVCC) in 2013; they worked together with the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC) to work out a no fee, waiver agreement to get climbers into the area and doing what they love most!
The question is – how long have climbers been climbing here and what history are current climbers going to leave behind?
Krista on Goldilocks (5.6)
Over the last two years, development has exploded in the Powerlinez climbing area. There used to be a total of 100-200 boulder problems and roped routes, and now the first release of the rakkup guidebook “Powerlinez” is poised to have 100+ climbs alone. We’re barely exposing a quarter of the total current routes! When the hardest climbs used to top out at 5.10 or V4, local hard climbers are slaying 5.12s and V9s every month. This summer, during our two year anniversary, is only going to rein in more hard and bold climbing.
Matt on Indulge the Bulge (V7)
This development has spread as whispers around the local climbing gyms, and a couple local Gunks’ celebrities – Russ Klune and Al Diamond – showed us some hard boulder problems that they messed around on in the 90s. When we thought we were getting first ascents, we realized that we still live in the shadows of the true masters of their craft.
How can you not expect routes to be climbed in an area that’s only an hour away from New York City? With so many people, it’s no surprise that a climber or two have wandered through the boulder fields of the Powerlinez. After all, Storm King Mountain was one of the first rock climbing spots in the Northeast in the 1920s, and that’s still another half-hour north of the Powerlinez.
Matt on Indulge The Bulge (V7)
So here we stand, a group of local climbers fielding the interest of an even larger community further south in the metropolis of the city. They all want a taste of local climbing, but what can happen to an area with a new guidebook? Thanks to rakkup, we’re sure that amazing things will happen. With an interactive trail map to stay on the right trail, and waypoints so that you don’t get lost, rakkup is helping climber’s not only follow the rules, but make the most of their climbing experience.
Charlie on Ricochet (V4)
Here’s what we hope: We hope harder climbers will come out and project new stuff. We hope more 5 star problems will become uncovered from their mossy crags by all these climbers. We hope that there will be a responsible stewardship of the area; leaving a legacy of respect for the area, its history, and the locals.
We know that this is the beginning of a long and beautiful history between climbers and state lands. While we look forward to the next hand hold to climb on, may we all remember where we came from, and as more areas open up in New York State Parks, I hope we can remember the little area that started it all. The little yeast that leavened the whole dough: The Powerlinez.
In the clouds of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco rests a real bouldering treasure hidden from the climbing community for many years. Oukaimeden is the first bouldering destination in Morocco, and is just a one and a half hour drive from the cultural heart of Marrakech. Bouldering in Oukaimeden combines well with a road trip through Morocco or a city trip to Marrakech and is a cultural and exotic experience.
Odielvan Wijkon on Schwartz Walderkirch (V3)
If you thought pioneering was only something done by pioneers in the twentieth century, you are wrong. At 2000 meters above the imperial city of Marrakech you feel the fresh air of nature and splendid views when you get psyched about a new problem you’re working on. Thousands of potential problems are located in the hills surrounding the little village of Oukaimeden. A true pioneer’s experience of exploring new boulders and sending new problems no one has attempted before you.
Irene Pieper on Lost Hold (V3)
Oukaimeden is best visited in the spring months of March, through May and during the Autumn months of October and November. The summer months June, July and August can be hot and the mountains are, by then, covered with shepherds. The winter months December through February can be perfect for sending hard problems but at the same time can be frustrating with thick layers of snow. Nevertheless, the sun is strong enough to melt the snow from the boulders, even during the winter months, at a fast pace.
Leander Rutten balancing in The Bakery
Currently, Oukaimeden has three main areas where most of the problems are located. The lowest (2300m.) area, and probably the most flat one too, is called The Colony. A small area with a high density of documented boulders from balancy plates to high balls and seriously overhang cave problems. The Colony is a 7 km drive from the village and is located in a hairpin turn and provides spectacular views over the lush Ourika valley.
The most developed areas are The Bakery & Rivers of Babylon located near the small village of Oukaimeden. At the northwest side of the road The Bakery is covered with the most problems ranging from v0 to v6. There are also potential hard highball problems in this area. Rivers of Babylon is at the north east side of the river and is a long stretched area at Atlas crest line. Don’t wait, book your ticket to Marrakech today and go send these tasty problems.
The Hillside Dams, once the principle source of Bulawayo’s water supply, are in easy reach of the center of town. Our own climbing and bouldering oasis little more than a hop, skip and a jump away.
Although distinct from the Matopo Hills, this area of broken kopjes and sandy open plains resembles the much larger, better-known World Heritage Site. Yet it lies within the Bulawayo City boundary. Its natural vegetation is still largely intact and it includes a wide range of bird life. It has to be said that there are more species of plants in the park than the whole of England. There are also many small mammals including monkeys, squirrels, rock hyrax and duiker.
Tim Kluckow on Jungle Fresh (V3)
The area has attracted people since the earliest of times. It is not surprising that it was the location of one of King Lobengula Khumalo’s favorite royal villages to which he escaped when the stresses and strains of power at the nearby capital of Bulawayo were too great. In recent history it has catered to generations of Bulawayo residents seeking an accessible place of refuge and winding down. The newly renovated restaurant is becoming more popular and is a great place for a sundowner after a good session of sending.
Dom Stackler on Jungle Fresh (V3)
People have been climbing at Hillside Dams since the 90´s with the likes of Jeff Broome and Haedi Cunningham using the park regularly to keep in shape for the bigger rocks of the Matopo Hills and as a place to introduce those interested to the world of rock climbing. The bouldering potential was never really explored till after 2012. In 2014 Zimbabwe Rock Climbing (ZRC) was formed with the purpose of developing climbing and climbers in Zimbabwe. Hillside Dams with its position within the city and the potential for 300+ boulder problems (not bad for an area of 86 hectares/212 acres, a lot of which is the two dams) was chosen to be the focus of this development. Since the formation of ZRC there has been a frenzy of development including a dozen or so short sport routes and many dozen boulder problems. All of the climbing is easily accessible with most problems less than a 10 minute walk.
Tim Kluckow on Me Jane (5.10d)
The dominant rock is Syenite. This coarse igneous rock is about 2.172 billion years old and is very similar to granite but is deficient in quartz. As far as climbers are concerned it looks like and climbs the same as local granite and is often referred to as granite. Bulawayo´s cool dry winters are the best time for climbing at Hillside Dams, while early mornings and late afternoons/evenings are still great during the warmer months.
Squamish Smoke Bluffs Rock Climbing with The Chief & Howe Sound backdrop.
Smoke Bluffs Introduction
The Smoke Bluffs is likely one of the most popular and frequented climbing locations in all of Canada. This is primarily due to the hundreds of quality single-pitch climbs found scattered across the hillsides, all within walking distance of Squamish. The crags host an abundance of varied crack and slab climbs, and most of the cliff-tops are easy to access for setting up topropes. Rainstorms will prevent climbing on all the cliffs, but the Bluffs dry very quickly afterward due to afternoon sun exposure, minimal tree cover and frequent winds, which also provide welcome relief in the heat of summer.
Jasmin Caton working on Zombie Roof. 5.12d. Smoke Bluffs, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
If you’re new to the area, the Smoke Bluffs is a great place to test Squamish granite, get a quick session in after work, or hone your skills for bigger objectives on the Chief.
From downtown Squamish, the Smoke Bluffs appear as a series of granite outcrops lining the hillsides directly to the east. To reach the parking area, follow Highway 99 toward downtown and turn east onto Logger’s Lane opposite the McDonald’s restaurant. Follow the paved road north past the Squamish Adventure Centre and a sign will direct you into the climbers’ parking area a little farther down the road on the right. All crags are approached from this location. The Smoke Bluffs is a municipal park that borders residential neighbourhoods and is frequented by non-climbing locals. Please be a considerate visitor in order to keep relations with the locals as positive as possible.
Roger Strong, Cold Comfort 5.9, Smoke Bluffs, Squamish, BC
The quantity and quality of routes in the Bluffs causes the popular cliffs to get quite congested on most weekends throughout the climbing season. Walking from crag to crag looking for a free climb can be a frustrating experience, but if you consider the following recommendations, a good day with minimal waiting is likely. Try starting early or climbing late if you must join the onslaught of weekend warriors. The bulk of the climbing public will arrive mid-morning and will often quit before dinner, leaving many of the crags deserted in the evening, a wonderful time to get in a few classic pitches.
Placing gear in one of the Smoke Bluffs many sweet cracks.
If you’re having trouble finding open climbs midday, try the out-of-the-way cliffs. As a general rule, the farther you hike the better your odds of finding a quiet spot. Good examples are the crags around Lumberland, High Cliff and Island in the Sky below Burgers and Fries, and the outlying crags on the Loop Trail, such as Funarama, Tunnel Rock, Call it a Day and Skunk Hollow. Finally, don’t write off rain days. Many climbers from Vancouver get spooked if the forecast is threatening, and won’t make the one-hour drive from the city. But if you don’t mind taking a risk, you might luck into a great day in the fast-drying Bluffs. And if it does rain, you can always go hiking, biking or climbing at Chek.
Finding the sweet jams in the Squamish Smoke Bluffs Rock Climbing
Buy Aaron’s Grayson Highlands Bouldering rakkup guidebook and save more than 30% over the Apple & Google in app price here. Learn more about why you can trust Aaron’s bouldering beta here.
Aaron Parlier on Flying Spaghetti Monster (V7), Olympus Boulder
Grayson Highlands State Park (GHSP) has been called a tonic for the mind, body and soul. I have heard this sentiment offered by a number folks who love the outdoors but have never avidly climbed, and it accurately describes the scenery that envelops anyone, climber or not, who visits the Appalachian Highlands of Virginia. Cascading mountain streams, lofty boreal forests of spruce and fir, fall foliage showing fiery sugar maples and dancing yellow big toothed aspen, wild ponies, expansive mountain top balds, high elevation bogs, and foggy morning hollows (read “hollers”) are just a few of my favorite attributes of this region of Virginia. The 1000 boulder problems scattered throughout GHSP make this place yet another reason to return, season after season.
Matt Bieljeski on Foot Kaput (V4), Lonely Boulder
With elevations ranging between 3,500 and 5,089 feet, and being at a more northern latitude than other Southeastern bouldering areas, GHSP is without question the best summer bouldering in the Southeast. It isn’t only due to the high-northern Appalachian aspect of Grayson that allows for wonderful summertime sends. The very nature of the boulders adds to this. GHSP boulders are steep (VERY steep) with shaded overhangs leading to -usually- juggy topouts. Bouldering in Grayson Highlands is frequently a powerful, fingertip oriented, 45 degree affair. Vertical or slabby boulders are quite rare. Atypical Grayson holds are in-cut crimps and flakes (it is unusual to find a crux move involving a fiction dependent sloper). Once most Southeastern boulderfields become too humid, overgrown, and bug infested, GHSP thaws out from the icy winter as the spring season kicks into high gear.
Dan Brayak on Moon Light Sonata (V3), Moon Light Boulder
Spring conditions are great in Grayson to be sure. Summer bouldering in GHSP is as good as it gets in the Southeast, but fall, as with every other Appalachian boulderfield, is the crown jewel for perfect projecting. Adding to the awesomeness of fall conditions, GHSP has without-a-doubt the best fall foliage in Virginia (and the literal bus loads of “leafer” tourists stand as testament). Crisp conditions, beautiful golden and red colors surrounding, and hundreds of boulder problems within a few minutes of the parking lot tend to spoil visiting climbers. With grades currently spanning from V0 to V12 (one boulder housing every grade from V2-V12), and with hikes ranging from 45 seconds to 30 minutes, what’s not to love?
Julia Statler on Indian Outlaw (V3), Picnic Area Rockhouse Boulder
Bouldering in Grayson Highlands unofficially began in the early 1990’s with clandestine sessions at outlier boulderfields by the likes of James Litz and several others out of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The total number of boulder problems likely didn’t exceed 200 until secure access and official approval of GHSP bouldering was gained in 2008-2009. Since then, open communication between climbers and park staff, careful development regarding recreational impacts and the park’s rare plant species, and volunteerism towards construction of approved access trails has opened many new GHSP boulderfields. The 1000th boulder problem was climbed in 2014. Now, with the full color Grayson Highlands Bouldering Guidebook and Rakkup’s mobile guidebook app, these wonderful areas, boulders, and problems in the most scenic section of Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains are even more accessible.