Camping and rock climbing are two adventurous sports that seemingly don’t go together. After all, sleeping in a tent hanging hundreds or thousands of feet above ground sounds more like a once in a lifetime experience than a hobby. But thrill-seekers have turned it from unthinkable to a bucket list expedition. It is, however, not for the faint-hearted. Adrenaline lovers need a courageous spirit, proper rock climbing equipment, and a portaledge – it’s like a portable camp bed that mountaineers sleep in during vertical ascents that take a few days. Some may prefer this kind of extreme camping because there are no crowds or annoying neighbors and the panoramas are unparalleled.
The Great Sail Peak on Canada’s Baffin Island may be the most dangerous campsite in the world. The Daily Mail wrote about a few “daredevil explorers,” scaling cliffs and pitching tents at the height of more than 300 double decker buses. Some climbs can last weeks and the people attempting to conquer them need to rest. Setting up a tent in the air seems like a logical move.
The tabletop mountains are quite isolated and mostly unexplored. Getting to the base of any tepui requires driving, flying, and hiking. The rocks are steep – anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 feet tall. Camping there can be defined as “slightly insane” even though the views are worth the risk. However, roofs and ledges are easy to find.
El Capitan, also an insane BASE jumping location, is possibly the most famous location for camping thousands of feet in the air. Climbs up the giant summit can last days. Daredevil adventurers on the sheer rock cliff face have to be prepared for freezing temperatures, wind and falling rocks. Wherever along the vertical route you stop to set up camp, you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate views of Yosemite Valley.
For a thrilling experience high up in the air, go to the Waldseilgarten. They also take tree camping to a whole new level. The extreme campsite in Pfronten was set up by Waldseilgarten, an adventure mountain resort. You are in a hammock-like tent that is suspended from a tree. There is nothing else supporting it. You can only get to the tent by climbing a rope.
If you want to be drunk on adrenaline and awe, try cliff camping in Antarctica. You may have heard of Alastair Lee and his team from “The Last Great Climb.” Five people were on the mountains of the Frenriskjeften range in northern Queen Maud Land. The mountains are extremely remote and so out-of-the-way that they were not explored until 1994.
Mount Arapiles is a remarkable island of hard quartzite rock. The area is often labeled “the best traditional-climbing area in Australia.” It’s Victoria's climbing Mecca, its best destination, and maybe the heart and soul of rock climbing in the country/continent. Most of the terrain is steep and overhanging.
The cliff stands just outside of Estes Park in Colorado. The view is outstanding. After all, you are going to be in a fabric-and-steel camping portaledge hanging some 170 feet up a sheer rock wall. But don’t worry, this is a guided excursion. The company actually runs a cliff-camping program that included several locations in the park.
You can climb some of the tallest limestone cliffs (1,000 feet) in North America at El Potrero Chico. The tallest is the North Face of the Mountain of El Toro, which is about 2,000 feet. The well-bolted, multi-pitch sport routes offer the experience of a lifetime. One of them is the second longest in the region. The best time to visit is in the spring and fall.
Believe it or not, you can get a relaxing night’s sleep on the side of a 5,577 ft. high cliff. In July, for the first time ever, thrill-seekers were able to pitch tents overnight on the narrow wooden walkway that runs along the edge of the Laojun Mountain, according to media reports. The sunrise is stunning and the sea of clouds under you makes you feel like you’re flying.
The Blow- Me Down in Newfoundland’s Devil Bay is often mentioned as a great cliff camping location. This is a nearly 1,300-foot granite cliff rising above waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The area is only accessible by boat. The bottom half is just less than vertical, while its top half steepens considerably, capped by an intimidating system of triple roofs below the summit, according to Alpinist.
The 2,700 ft. of vertical rock and one of the biggest rock faces in the Italian Dolomites is worth to see even if you are attempting to conquer the top. Set in northern Italy, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. This range with more than a dozen major peaks is a top destination for adventurous travelers.
The 3,600-foot wall, the most famous one in the country, is the tallest vertical rock in Europe and the continent’s longest climbing route. It is a desirable challenge for climbers and base jumpers. What makes it dangerous are the frequent storms and melting ice which lead to rocks falling. The Wall is also called Trollveggen.
How about enjoying the Rockies by descending on ropes in darkness and sleeping halfway up a cliff? This kind of new extreme activity in Estes Park is offered by Kent Mountain Adventure Centre (KMAC). You will be in an overnight tour. You’ll enjoy stargazing and mesmerizing views of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
This climbing locale is home to more than 1,000 bolted climbing routes that accommodate climbers of every level, according to Central Oregon Visitors Association. The park is known as the birth place of sport climbing and it’s famous for its natural beauty and picturesque views of deep river canyons.
Glendalough means “Glen of two lakes.” It is one of the country’s first Medieval monastic settlements dating back to 618 AD. It is here where brave rock climbers can really enjoy and appreciate the magnificence of Mother Nature. Lonely Planet Ireland calls Glendalough “truly one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.” Popular climbing sections are the Big Jane, Big Jim, Hobnail Buttress and the Main Face.