Extreme Travel | Adventure Sports

Top five climbing destinations

The North Face climber Caroline Ciavaldini tells WideWorld her favorite spots to summit

In general I really struggle to decide which are my very favorite places to climb. The thing is, I usually end up each trip thinking that I should live there. But of course, some places have a special place in my memory, and not always because of the climbing, but for everything around it.

Southeast Asia

Very vague, but that is all the magic: you can travel from cliffs to cliffs every few days. I went there with a backpack, just like thousands of young euro travelers. Except in my backpack was a rope and climbing shoes… I love how easy it is to travel in Asia: you go from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, to Bangkok, just by spending a night in a bus. Now in Asia there are several “climbing camps” in the middle of the jungle, houses made of bamboo, local food, Thai climbers… Tons of virgin new cliffs waiting to be climbed… provided you aren’t scared of snakes!

(C) Jody McIntyre / Creative Commons

2 England

As crazy as this may sound there is a very unique climbing spirit in England, a mix of history and craziness that they call “trad”. To this very unusual style you add a huge variety of rock, from Slates to gritstone that you hardly find anywhere else. And of course, there are all the cakes that James’s mum makes each time we go to visit! (James is my very British boyfriend)

(c) Richard Allaway / Creative Commons

3 Turkey

The rock and the weather conditions combined at Antalya have sculpted amazing cliffs of limestone everywhere. The potential is infinite. Amazing route after amazing route. And Turkish people are very welcoming: when you walk past a family having a picnic next to the river, they always propose you to join. Pretty amazing, no?

(c) Adam Kubalica / Creative Commons

4 Australia

I am craving to go to the Taipan Wall. A big orange face, lost in the Bush… There, the climbing is a mix between already-placed protections, and others that you have to add yourself. I have sweaty palms just thinking about it

(c) Neil McQuaid / Creative Commons

5 Reunion Island

To be very honest the island is quite small – only 100km north to south. But Reunion Island is where I grew up, where I discovered climbing. The entire Island is a volcano, so the rock is basalt: very smooth when you climb in river beds! And there is a lot of emotion on this Island… my first memories of competition, my first taste of rock climbing… For all these reasons, going back there to climb is always a very special thing to me, which was actually the reason for the expedition I organised with The North Face.


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