by Christopher Schafenacker
Sendtember may be the more well-known of the two best climbing months of the year but that’s just because it’s a better pun. If you’re truly in search of prime conditions after a long, hot summer of training on your home woody, Rocktober is your moment. Many of the world’s best crags are coming into season this month which means that if your bags aren’t already packed, you’re already missing out. For the last-minute planners out there, here are the places you want to be:
5 Climbing Areas That Will Blow Your Mind this Fall
1. Kyparissi, Greece
The secret has been out for a while in Europe but the whispers have yet to reach North America. USA Climbing national team head coach Josh Larson may have put in many bolts at Kyparissi’s numerous crags and yet the tufa-laden limestone walls remain remarkably gringo-free. Do yourself a favor and get there before this changes because before long you’ll have to take a number to get on any of the hundreds of 5-star lines on offer.
2. Cuenca, Spain
If you’ve ever tried to use your summer holiday to go climbing in Spain, you’ve learned the hard way that much of the peninsula is uninhabitable in July and August. That all starts to change in September but the country’s best crags don’t truly come into season until, well, now.
The internet may lead you to believe that Margalef, Oliana, and any other crag made famous by Mr. Chris Sharma are the place to be and yet locals know there are better places to climb. Cuenca, with its unpolished, pocketed limestone and proximity to Madrid, is one of them.
3. The New River Gorge
If flying to Greece or Spain at the drop of a hat isn’t feasible—as is true for most of us—don’t worry; there’s plenty of world-class rock in the US and, like everywhere else in the northern hemisphere, this is month to get after it.
The New River Gorge is a case in point. Bugs? Gone. Humidity? Low. Crowds? Ok, yeah, there are crowds but they pale in comparison to those at the more-famous Red River Gorge. Rock? Tons. Quality? Spectacular.
Climbing in Yosemite is getting harder and harder. Gone are the days you could live on cat food in a cave and climb to your heart's delight. Now, every climber planning to spend a night on the wall needs a wilderness climbing permit and, of course, not everyone who wants one gets one. The park is seeking to limit crowds which means that September, the traditionally best month to be there may, well, be best month no longer.
Want to make sure you get a pass? Wish for a good weather window in October and start packing!
5. Your Local Crag
With major climbing publications pumping out endless hype around the world’s top crags it can be easy to feel like you’re missing out if you don’t go. And the truth is, you might be but then if you’re away, you’ll miss those prime conditions at your local crag—the spot you’re most likely to make the most of them.
The best place to climb in Rocktober is the place you’ll enjoy most and so if sending hard is your priority, the right move this fall might be to put all those summer hangboarding gains to work at home.
Featured Climbing Training Gear
Maverick: The on-the-go, bring it anywhere hangboard. On a family road trip to keep your fingers in shape. We like to bring this to the crag with us to keep our fingers warm—without losing skin on mediocre warm-ups—at that steep, thuggy sport crag.
The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.
The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…
The Rocketeer Wall: our free-standing adjustable solution for those who can’t mount a hangboard anywhere in their home or apartment—or who are limited on space. The Rocketeer gives climbers the additional option to set specific climbing holds. Recreate the crux holds of your proj and get ready to send, bruh.