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12 Places to Go Rock Climbing Before You Die

Red River Gorge

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Slade, Kentucky

“I love the Red both for its beauty and its enormous climbing potential. Climbing there on a dry, sunny fall day is one of the most magical experiences a climber can have. It's world class.” –Emily Harrington, champion rock climber and North Face athlete

For more info: redrivergorge.com

Photo credit: Keith Ladzinski

Acadia National Park

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Mt Desert, Maine

"There are very few places where you can climb on spectacular, crisp granite starting just inches above the frigid, dark waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Acadia National Park is home to many classic seaside routes as well as an impressive formation of pink granite that rises several pitches off the deck, providing an incredible view of the island, the ocean, and the lobster men hard at work." -Justin Gougeon

For more info: acadiamountainguides.com

Silver Mountain

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Baraga, Michigan (Upper Peninsula)

“Silver Mountain offers some of the longest, most challenging climbs in Upper Michigan. In the fall, the surrounding forest comes alive with colors to make a beautiful backdrop for this climbing area.” -Bill Thompson of Down Wind Sports

For more info: summitpost.org

Photo courtesy of Bill Thompson

Grand Teton National Park

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Jackson, Wyoming

"Grand Teton National Park is arguably the most awe-inspiring alpine climbing destination in the lower forty-eight states.The area is known as the 'American Alps' for a reason. Go in the fall for cool weather and amazing photo ops when the Aspen trees turn bright yellow." -Angela Hiatt

For more info: jacksonholewy.net

Rifle Mountain Park

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Rifle, Colorado

“I grew up climbing in Rifle; it is a place that shaped my childhood and career. The climbing is complicated and requires serious problem solving skills. It's a beautiful place, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing and the canyon feels alive and vibrant.” –Emily Harrington, champion rock climber and North Face athlete

For more info: rockclimbing.com

Photo credit: Keith Ladzinski

Indian Creek, Moab

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Canyonlands, Utah

"From striking sandstone dessert towers to world class splitter crack climbing that you can almost drive to, Moab, Utah is truly a cornucopia of adventure and beauty. If you get bored around these parts, you're doing something wrong! -Justin Gougeon

For more info: gomoab.com

Gibraltar Rock

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Santa Barbara, California

"Breathtaking views of the Santa Barbara coastline and town. Very challenging for different levels. Away from the crowds. Gorgeous nature all around" -Nora Tobin, certified personal trainer and competitive beach volleyball athlete

For more info: rockclimbing.com

The Pinnacle

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Marquette, Michigan

“I really love the Pinnacle as it's right in Marquette and is the perfect spot to go for an early morning climb in the summer. It's usually cooler by the lake and as you climb, the sun comes rising out of Lake Superior... truly a spectacular sight.” -Bill Thompson of Down Wind Sports
For more info: mountainproject.com

Photo courtesy of Bill Thompson

Mount Temple, Banff National Park

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Alberta, Canada

"The North Face of Mount Temple is known as the Eiger of the Rockies. Despite being big and serious, particularly in winter conditions, it sits right above the gorgeous tourist town of Lake Louise. Climbing it, and backing on the face is somewhat surreal since you can see the lights of town down below. The creature comforts of town seem somehow very close and very far away all at once." -Josh Wharton, Patagonia ambassador

For more info: albertawow.com

Photo credit: Mikey Schaefer

Star Wall at Donner Summit

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Lake Tahoe, California

“I'm convinced that the Lake Tahoe area is one of the best places in the country for outdoor playing, especially rock climbing. The weather is nearly always perfect and the granite climbing is phenomenal. It's one of the only places I've ever climbed in a sports bra when there's snow on the ground!” -Emily Harrington, a champion rock climber and North Face athlete

For more info: rockclimbing.com

Photo credit: Christian Fernandez

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite Valley, California

"No list of beautiful climbing destinations could be complete without paying homage to Yosemite National Park. It is a place of legends, and the views that once inspired John Muir to dedicate his life to the mountains will no doubt stir your imagination, if not your soul." -Angela Hiatt

For more info: yosemitepark.com

Red Rock Canyon

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Las Vegas, Nevada

“Believe it or not, one of the best places to learn to climb multi-pitch is the Nevada desert, just outside of Las Vegas.” –Janelle Smiley
For more info: alpineinstitute.com