The 35 Best Climbing Spots in America

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The Southeast: New River Gorge
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The Southeast: New River Gorge

Some climbers rank the New River Gorge below Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, but the New’s sandstone is also world-class, and there are enough routes to last a lifetime. Grades here are tougher than the RRG, the holds less visible, and the bolts spaced farther apart. The approaches can be long, which drives away less-dedicated climbers. Still, the New’s classic routes get crowded during peak season. “The New River Gorge is one of the original sport climbing areas in the United States,” Potter says. “Thousands of technical, precise sport routes, and usually on vertical walls. Plus, the Gorge is a BASE jumping area, if you need a break from climbing.”

Closest Town: Fayetteville, West Virginia

Grade Range: 5.6 – 5.14

Notable Routes: 1,177

Classics: Mrs. Field’s Follies (5.8), Burning Calves (510b), Legacy (5.11a), Under the Milky Way (5.11d), Bullet the New Sky (5.12a/b), Apollo Reed (5.13a)

When to Visit: April-Mary, September-November

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