Wel­come to our an­nual Ad­ven­ture Travel Is­sue.


“TRAVEL IS FA­TAL to prej­u­dice, big­otry, and nar­row-mind­ed­ness,” Mark Twain once wrote. In our cur­rent era of po­lit­i­cal di­vi­son, tur­moil, and strife, Twain’s words ring truer—and are more needed—than ever. As climbers, we al­ready know this deep down. Our sport is steeped in a rich his­tory of travel, a lore that lives on in the #van­life and #end­less­road­trip hash­tags that dom­i­nate our so­cial-me­dia feeds.

Climb­ing is best prac­ticed with a heavy dose of travel. We train at the gym and our home crags to take our skills and pas­sion on the road, to visit new crags and ice­falls and moun­tains, to re­al­ize dream goals in the wildest reaches. We ex­pe­ri­ence the earth at its rawest and most vi­tal through our fin­ger­tips and toes, and come to in­ti­mately know the lo­cals—climbers and oth­er­wise—be­cause of our im­mer­sion in the land­scape. I con­trast this with the stereo­typ­i­cal tourist on a Caribbean cruise, run­ning into port to buy a som­brero be­fore charg­ing back onto the boat to sav­age the buf­fet. We climbers are the lucky ones, to not be trav­el­ing thusly—to be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the world first­hand and meet­ing peo­ple from other cul­tures.

See­ing the world has shown me how lucky I am to be alive, well-fed, and safe, and have the re­sources and time to pur­sue an ac­tiv­ity as un­re­lated to my sur­vival as climb­ing. To in­spire you in your own trav­els and, I hope, in cul­ti­vat­ing open-mind­ed­ness of your own, we present a host of amaz­ing ad­ven­ture-travel des­ti­na­tions, both do­mes­tic and over­seas. They range from the quartzite high­lands of North Carolina ( p.28) and the gran­ite hin­ter­lands of the Adiron­dacks ( p.18), to the of­ten-over­looked boul­ders of Yosemite ( p.60), to the Mar­tian big-wall land­scape of Wadi Rum, Jor­dan ( p.48), to the hereto­fore word-of-mouth boul­der­ing of Roy, New Mex­ico ( p.36). Each area is in­ter­twined with its own hu­man story, both on the rocks and off.

Some of my fond­est mem­o­ries from my life as a climber are of the kind peo­ple I’ve met on my jour­neys, from the Greek fam­ily at a Ka­lym­nos ho­tel who made my girl­friend and I stuffed pep­pers be­cause we “looked too skinny,” to the Sierra don­key pack­ers who gave me a ride to a phone after I lost my keys in the hills, to my climb­ing part­ners in Turin, Italy, who’d al­ways in­sist on buy­ing the post-crag­ging pizza for the “strong Amer­i­can boy.” These are the mem­o­ries that re­main, long after the glow of as­cent has faded. May you find and make such mem­o­ries of your own, and may they help you in mak­ing the world a more wel­com­ing place.


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