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Travel Solo as a Climber - Suggestions! Climbing hostels, campgrounds etc!


Original Post
Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

I have just returned from an amazing solo climbing trip in Spain.  I was amazed, staying at a climbing hostel in El Chorro (the olive branch), by the instant group of climbing partners, friends and community atmosphere.  Finding a climbing partners was not an issue... which surprised me, so I'm curious, what other places/climbing hostels/campgrounds are like this?  and are they seasonal?  I have dear friends I love climbing with, but when they aren't available I'm excited for my next solo adventure to meet really cool folks, both in the US and abroad!  

Thanks for all your advice.  It was amazing to not have to do any networking before showing up somewhere and have a plethora of climbing partners, and new friends!  

So far, I know the finca and olive branch in el chorro.  The climbing hostel in chulilla, for any climbers out there looking for a fantastic winter solo adventure!  

Steve Pulver · · Williston, ND · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 455

Southeast Asia has a lot of options,  Green Climber's Home in Laos was my 2017 trip, http://www.greenclimbershome.com/climbing/. I always figured females could find climbing partners anywhere though.

rockhard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 65

Arapiles in Australia.  The campground is awesome

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Steve Pulver wrote:

Southeast Asia has a lot of options,  Green Climber's Home in Laos was my 2017 trip, http://www.greenclimbershome.com/climbing/. I always figured females could find climbing partners anywhere though.

Thanks for your recommendation!  that seems like a rad place to climb.  Where all have you climbed in SE Asia?  and did you feel the areas you went were relatively safe.  

While finding partners (for males or females) is generally not a problem, I really loved the genuine experience of showing up to a place without networking before-hand and find a climbing family.  It was nice to connect with someone over making dinner at a climbing hostel, know you have personalities that mesh, then go out and climb together the next day, rather than network before you get there, and learn upon arriving that perhaps you are your climbing partner really don't enjoy each others company. 

Additionally, saying female can find partners anywhere is not cool.  We are all climbers, no need to throw genders around.  

Peter J · · Davis, CA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 125

As far as the US is concerned: The New River Gorge. There is an AAC campground and a really incredible community. Also has the best single pitch cragging in the US.

Also Red River Gorge has a community around Miguels and the other climbing campgrounds. RRG is generally more packed, more raucous, and more beginners/gumbies. (The Red has more moderates, softer grades, and closer bolting)

Both of them are seasonalish (fall/spring is best) and i find the weekdays to be nicer than the weekends. The weekdays are all the dirtbags/consistent community but on the weekends all the college climbing teams and weekend warriors and such show up and makes things a little less fantastic. 

Steve Pulver · · Williston, ND · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 455
Nicole K wrote:

Thanks for your recommendation!  that seems like a rad place to climb.  Where all have you climbed in SE Asia?  and did you feel the areas you went were relatively safe.  

While finding partners (for males or females) is generally not a problem, I really loved the genuine experience of showing up to a place without networking before-hand and find a climbing family.  It was nice to connect with someone over making dinner at a climbing hostel, know you have personalities that mesh, then go out and climb together the next day, rather than network before you get there, and learn upon arriving that perhaps you are your climbing partner really don't enjoy each others company. 

Additionally, saying female can find partners anywhere is not cool.  We are all climbers, no need to throw genders around.  

My only other SE Asia experience was Thailand. Krabi/Tonsai is a great area with lots of other solo climbers, plus it's gorgeous.

 Regarding safety there are a lot of young people (European/Australian/non-climbing) that solo backpack SE Asia without problems. Accidents are probably the most likely issue. You have to be careful with things like drunk inner tubing in Viet Viang, renting scooters, and checking the condition of bolts on some routes.

(Regarding Arapiles, I was able to find a partner, but there seemed to be a lot fewer solo climbers even during peak season, and particularly mid week you might have issues finding someone) YMMV

There's a website called climbcation.com that I used once to plan a vacation, you can filter to find areas that are in season.

madek · · California · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

another vote for railay/tonsai in thailand. great climbs, feels safe, lots of people at the hostels/bars.etc. to meet and climb with. food is iffy, a lot of people get "tonsai tummy". chiang mai in the north has cool climbing as well.

in california, joshua tree and bishop area are pretty easy to meet a partner for the day.

Andie Mitchell · · San Diego · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
Nicole K wrote:

I have just returned from an amazing solo climbing trip in Spain.  I was amazed, staying at a climbing hostel in El Chorro (the olive branch), by the instant group of climbing partners, friends and community atmosphere.  Finding a climbing partners was not an issue... which surprised me, so I'm curious, what other places/climbing hostels/campgrounds are like this?  and are they seasonal?  I have dear friends I love climbing with, but when they aren't available I'm excited for my next solo adventure to meet really cool folks, both in the US and abroad!  Are these places seasonal?  

Thanks for all your advice.  It was amazing to not have to do any networking before showing up somewhere and have a plethora of climbing partners, and new friends!  

So far, I know the finca and olive branch in el churro.  The climbing hostel in chulilla, for any climbers out there looking for a fantastic winter solo adventure!  

I am studying abroad in southern France right now but I did not bring any of my gear (besides harness, shoes and chalk bag). Do you think I would be able to go to El Chorro and find climbing partners willing to share gear?

Sabrina Kieser · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

I live in SW China right now and have made a couple random trips to Shigu (in Yunnan province, get there via Lijiang) by myself and had no problem joining a group of people or finding a partner. I also feel very safe. Most people that go to climb there stay at The Stone Drum or another climber's hostel close by that I personally haven't stayed at yet. In addition to being super knowledgeable about the area's climbing and its development, they have awesome local food at the hostel, a good atmosphere, and comfortable sleeping. The owner there is always helpful in letting me know if people are around looking for partners or willing to let someone join them. Up until recently I didn't have my own rope or draws, but they had a rope to rent so it was fine. Liming isn't too far away either if you wanted to do some trad climbing.  And it seems like most people that come through Shigu are making the trip from Yangshuo or Getu (where I hear it is also easy to find partners and have pretty popular spots that climbers stay at).

I will say, from my experience, that this part of China has significantly less English speakers than many parts of SE Asia or Europe.  Very very few.  So if you do come this way it is super helpful to have destination names, and each of the steps to get you there, printed out in characters so you can show it to people and they can point you in the right direction.  

Kemper Brightman · · Tucson · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 2,061

La Mojarra in Columbia. Cheap lodging, a killer restaurant, and a bunch of wonderful locals and international folks. I cant recommend it enough!

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70

A random plug for The Olive Branch:

In 2010 21 year old me showed up in El Chorro about a month into an around the world wander with a backpack and not a whole lot of money. It was the off season, but they put me up, let me eat and drink for free, and in return all I had to do was lift some rocks around their pool. And yes, I found folks to climb with even in the summer. At the time Gary and Mel seemed unsure if they were going to make it financially. They are good people. Every time someone mentions their place I am so stoked it worked out.

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Andie Mitchell wrote:

I am studying abroad in southern France right now but I did not bring any of my gear (besides harness, shoes and chalk bag). Do you think I would be able to go to El Chorro and find climbing partners willing to share gear?

most likely, when were you thinking of going? Most people are if you are a solid lead belayer and can clean :)   


Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Mike Mellenthin wrote:

A random plug for The Olive Branch:

In 2010 21 year old me showed up in El Chorro about a month into an around the world wander with a backpack and not a whole lot of money. It was the off season, but they put me up, let me eat and drink for free, and in return all I had to do was lift some rocks around their pool. And yes, I found folks to climb with even in the summer. At the time Gary and Mel seemed unsure if they were going to make it financially. They are good people. Every time someone mentions their place I am so stoked it worked out.

what month were you in el chorro in the summer?  how were the temps?  The Olive Branch was amazing.  by far one of my favorite experiences.  my only regret is not having more time to stay there.  what a wonderful little climbing community!

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70
Nicole K wrote:

what month were you in el churro in the summer?  how were the temps?  The Olive Branch was amazing.  by far one of my favorite experiences.  my only regret is not having more time to stay there.  what a wonderful little climbing community!

I think I was there in June, but it was a long time ago. I wouldn't go in the summer. The temps were hot and I think I only climbed early am and late pm. That trip wasn't really climbing focused. I've been to Mallorca in June though and had an awesome time. Don't know about meeting people though, and a car is kind of required.

I dirtbagged for a minute and in general found it easy to meet partners in most major climbing areas I went to. Squamish (summer), El Potrero Chico (winter), and Yosemite (swing season) are places that seem obvious omissions from this thread.

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Mike Mellenthin wrote:

I think I was there in June, but it was a long time ago. I wouldn't go in the summer. The temps were hot and I think I only climbed early am and late pm. That trip wasn't really climbing focused. I've been to Mallorca in June though and had an awesome time. Don't know about meeting people though, and a car is kind of required.

I dirtbagged for a minute and in general found it easy to meet partners in most major climbing areas I went to. Squamish (summer), El Potrero Chico (winter), and Yosemite (swing season) are places that seem obvious omissions from this thread.

Cool!  were you deep water soloing in mallorca?  

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70
Nicole K wrote:

Cool!  were you deep water soloing in mallorca?  

 Yes, but not nearly as much as I was sport climbing. The sport climbing is really good. I've also heard there are a bunch of access issues with popular DWS crags now, but you probably want to ask someone who has been there more recently.

Bill 1552 · · Portland, OR · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 325
Kemper Brightman wrote:

La Mojarra in Columbia. Cheap lodging, a killer restaurant, and a bunch of wonderful locals and international folks. I cant recommend it enough!

+1 https://www.refugiolarocacolombia.com/

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Mike Mellenthin wrote:

 Yes, but not nearly as much as I was sport climbing. The sport climbing is really good. I've also heard there are a bunch of access issues with popular DWS crags now, but you probably want to ask someone who has been there more recently.

is there a climbing hostel in Mallorca?  

Nicole K · · SD · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Bill 1552 wrote:

+1 https://www.refugiolarocacolombia.com/

thanks! I was looking and it was listing $30 per night, is that USD? and how close are the crags to the hostel?

simplyput . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 60

Yangshuo, El Potrero Chico, Cat Ba, Geyikbairi, Vratsa, Hampi, Jtree, Bishop, City of Rocks.


Bill 1552 · · Portland, OR · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 325
Nicole K wrote:

thanks! I was looking and it was listing $30 per night, is that USD?

They have a lot of different options, small cottages, private rooms and dorms. I think dorm beds were about $10. The crag is very close to the hostel, 5 - 10 min walk. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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