For serious climbers, those self-proclaimed adrenaline junkies, regular sports just don’t cut it — and neither do basic climbs. Sure, you may have started out on an artificial wall, and those local adventures fed your passion, but now you want even more of a rush.
If you’re inspired to push limits and step outside your comfort zone, getting to the top of these intense destinations is sure to get your blood pumping.
Toughest Rock Climbs
In northeast Wyoming, nestled in the midst of a quiet 1,300 acre oasis and surrounded by a stunning collection of grassland and ponderosa pine forests, sits a mysterious and famous rock—Devil’s Tower.
Every year, around 5,000 climbers make their way up the sheer 867 foot face by taking over 200 identified routes to the top. Hundreds of parallel cracks divide up Devil’s Tower into large hexagonal columns, which make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in the world; a siren song for climbers.
Rock climbing aficionados revere El Capitan in Yosemite as the world’s greatest rock climb. Standing more than 3,000 feet tall, this vertical cliff face is the largest granite monolith in the world and is without a doubt challenging, especially when the weather unexpectedly turns foul.
Even the most experienced climbers typically take four to five days to reach the summit—sleeping in hammocks hung from pitons in the cliff face before scaling to the top.
If you’re looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush, ascending the cliff with nothing more than your hands and feet should do the trick.
Nestled between India and Nepal, this mountain is known not only known for its incredible views, but also for the bitterly cold weather and frequent, unpredictable avalanches and mudslides.
With an elevation of 28,169 feet , Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, and one of the most treacherous rock climbs known to man. In fact, the final ascent is an almost vertical pyramid of over a thousand feet.
The North Face of the Eiger, or Murder Wall, in Switzerland is a 13,000 foot high mountain of vertically shattered limestone rock and polished ice fields. It has long been regarded as the “ultimate” challenge by those attracted to its cruel beauty and has defined extreme climbing.
Some sections of the climb are Class V or S rock with knife edged ridges, offering severe dangers. But it’s not even the height of the mountain or the risk of falling ice and rock that make this an impossibly difficult climb—it’s the commitment it entails.
Because of the climb’s nature, once you start, you don’t have the option of turning around, so you better be set to make it over the top.
At an elevation of 6,288 feet, Mount Washington is highest mountain in the Northeastern US.
Although none of its faces are truly vertical, Mount Washington does have very treacherous rocky terrain and erratic weather. The air currents near this summit are home to regular hurricane force winds that can reach up to 231 mph, and storms often form without warning, causing ice pellets to rain from the sky even during the summer months.
But for those in search of a difficult climb and dramatic 360 degree views, the West Ridge is the best place in the Oregon Cascades to try out your alpine climbing skills.