The Gnarly Athlete’s Guide To Rock Climbing In Southern Utah

The Gnarly Athlete’s Guide To Rock Climbing In Southern Utah

The sport of rock climbing is still gaining momentum.  Its earliest beginnings were in 200 BC, and it was further developed in late 19th Century.  In 2020, rock climbing will hit the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.  Being on the global stage will surely attract new hoards of climbers worldwide, especially in the rock climbing heavens, such as St. George, Utah and Zion National Park.  Whether you’re scaling the indoor walls at the gym or tackling V8 and V9 monsters outdoors, you should know of something of competitive climbing and of the world’s best places for rock climbing.

Competitive Rock Climbing

In competition, the athletes choose from three distinct disciplines: Lead Climbing, Bouldering, and Speed Climbing.  In lead climbing, the athlete climbs as high as possible up a 40- to 60- foot route. In bouldering, they scale a series of short challenges, each limited to a set amount of time.  In speed climbing, you are timed in a race to the top without falling. In the Tokyo Olympics, rock climbing will be a combined event, including all three disciplines. Forty climbers—20 men and 20 women—will compete over four days. The top athletes from the first rounds will qualify for all three disciplines in the finals round.

St. George, Utah

St. George has more sport-climbing routes per capita than any other city in North America.  Known as the rock climber’s paradise, it offers plenty of challenges and rock types: red sandstone, limestone, and volcanic black rock.  Some of the favorites are Bluff Street Cracks, Dutchman’s Draw, Running Scared Crag, Chuckawalla, Woodbury Road Crags, Utah Hills, Zen Wall, Green Valley Gap, Snow Canyon, Prophesy Wall, Underworld, Crawdad Canyon, Cougar Cliffs, and Turtle Wall.  You’ll be amazed at how many stunning rock formations are around St. George, and there are plenty to suit your skill level and style. Snow Canyon State Park is especially fantastic.


Besides the three campgrounds in the city limits of St. George, the real diamond lies about ten miles away in Snow Canyon State Park.  This has to be the best campground anywhere that has easy access to more great rock climbing than you could ask for. Half of the 33 campsites are reserved for large RVs, and you’ll have access to electricity, toilets, drinking water, and even showers.

Zion National Park

Some of the most incredible faces to climb are in nearby Zion Canyon.  Zion shows off its endless objectives for rock climbing. Large walls are the norm in Zion.  You’ll be thrilled with plenty of underclings, jugs, and lay-backs at your fingertips. There is something for every skill level.

Just outside Zion is the charming town of Springdale, Utah, where you can indulge in classy lodging, cool gift shops, and tasty restaurants.

The Gnarly Athlete's Guide To Rock Climbing In Southern Utah

The Gnarly Athlete’s Guide To Rock Climbing In Southern Utah

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