Maharashtra Region Rock Climbing
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The climbing areas in Maharashtra include Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, the major districts, which cover most of the climbs.
The Western Ghats mountain range runs parallel to the Western coast of India, and the parts of it lying in Karnataka and Maharashtra are called the Sahyadris.
Climbing is mostly concentrated in the districts of Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik, Raigad, Thane, and a few others.
The traditional (as in historical) climbing type in Maharashtra has been pinnacle climbing; there are hundreds of hills rising 500-1500m msl and end with pinnacles that typically are a few hundred feet tall. The climbing style there is a mix of expedition style, fixed rope, and trad/aid, with grades being Easy, Moderate, and Hard. A typical outing would last 2-3 days including often setting up a little base camp/sleeping over at one of the caves or temples and climbing the pinnacle the next day. However, lately, "alpine" style (i.e. the normal style of two-person party) is also picking up, with Fr/YDS rating system.
Apart from that there is a decent amount of sport routes and indoor wall climbing that is picking up. Mumbai even hosted the 2016 IFSC Bouldering World Cup and is likely to repeat it in 2017 but that isn’t perhaps a true indicator of how popular climbing is in India or Mumbai for that matter, currently.
In the world of outdoor sport climbing, which is what this note focuses on (contributions on pinnacle climbing are most welcome), the most popular one is Duke’s Nose (pictured above). It often sees several hundreds of hikers on weekends, dozens of rappellers (yeah, abseiling is, in and of itself a sport, for some people; people hike up to the summit just to rap off and these are usually organized by commercial outfits), and climbers too. A 300-foot sheer cliff, in the moderate grade, about French 5c, with a single 6b crux move (see the upcoming page or a teaser here: supertopo.com/tr/Dukes-Nose…
The most iconic and arguably hardest in the Sahyadris is Konkankada , a big wall climb, approx 700m, first climbed by a party from IIT Bombay in the 80's.
There are several single-pitch crags spread over and can easily be done in full day or half-day trips from one of the major cities.
Rock is basalt; if you are coming from Hampi or Bangalore you will be pleased at how soft the rock feels on your hands. You can climb all day till your muscles are sore (or till you are dehydrated, on hot/humid days), but your skin of your hands will barely have a scratch. On the flip side, the rock tends to be much looser and scree and honeybees add to the adventure or unpleasantness depending on how you see it. Several people including hikers and climbers have had serious or fatal bee attacks.
The best season to climb:
November to March, with January being the best month. This region is a few degrees warmer than South Karnataka/Bangalore.
April-May are too hot but the climbs in shade or morning climbs are doable.
June-October is monsoon, almost continuous rains and hence zero climbing; that’s the season for the famous Sahyadri monsoon hikes. But that is the only time it rains here, the rest of the year is perfectly dry, whereas Bangalore/Chennai see irregular rains throughout the year.
Classic Climbing Routes at Maharashtra Region
Days w Precip