This article originally appeared on Escalation
If you can’t wait to plan your next trip abroad after months of being housebound during the pandemic, you are not alone.
Mapo Tapo’s Climbing travel guide ($52) is an invaluable tool to help scratch your itch.
The startup, which organizes group climbing trips to remote destinations to support the sustainable economic development of local communities, designed its new 200-page book as a compendium of tips on lesser-known rock climbing spots in 50 countries. around the world, from Albania. in Senegal in Brazil in North Macedonia.
Don’t get me wrong, though. The Climbing Travel Guide is not a climbing guide, and as such you won’t find any route topos or move-by-move betas here.
“The idea behind the Climbing travel guide“, said Faustine Wheeler of Mapo Tapo, “is not to provide a complete list of all the cliffs in an area or detailed logistical information. You can buy the local guide for this.
“Instead, we aim to bring visibility to lesser-known climbing areas and inspire readers to get there, connect with the local climbing community, and leave a positive impact.”
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For example, if you want to climb in Myanmar, the book will point you in the right direction, highlighting rocks like Waterfall Hill (Yaedagon Taung), the country’s first established rock climbing destination, home to two dozen sport routes up ‘at 5.12d. Among other obscure places, he recommends the isolated white limestone walls of the Alamo., deep in the jungle outside of Hpa-An town, where you can send up to 5.13d. He also points to the local guide to consult, Nyi Nyi Aung, and mentions an excellent rock gym (Climb O’Clock) in Yangon, the country’s capital.
the Climbing travel guide goes beyond the cliffs to visit and each area lists important local resources focused on climbers, such as tourist outfitters, rock gyms, route developers, hostels and guides.
If you visit the rugged desert canyons of Oman, you can talk to Larry Michienzi, a Canadian mountaineer who has lived in the country for more than 20 years, has developed countless routes and designed a series of electronic guides on the rock climbing in Oman. If you want to set some bolts on the near-pristine limestone of Montenegro, you can seek out local veteran Ilija Gracanin. If you want to climb in Palestine, visit Wadi Climbing, the country’s premier climbing gym, in Ramallah. Here you can pick up a copy of the local “Climbing Palestine” guide and join scheduled outdoor outings with other climbers.
But the book is not only a useful resource for traveling climbers, it also aims to be responsible.
Alongside the cliff recommendations, you’ll find local tips for climbing (and traveling) with respect in each country or region. In Myanmar, for example, The Climbing Travel Guide impresses the importance of respecting local monks, dressing modestly, removing shoes before approaching pagodas or monasteries, and avoiding the consumption of alcohol in public. In Egypt, if you have extra gear that you don’t need, the book mentions that the local climbing community “will probably appreciate buying it from you”, as there are few imports.
In addition to the various country-specific sections, The Climbing Travel Guide also contains broader information, in the form of a series of articles interspersed in country-specific sections. It opens with an overview of grade translations for rock climbing and bouldering around the world, and features articles on respectful climbing tourism, the impact and importance of responsible bolting, and injury prevention when climbing. climbing abroad, among other topics.
You’ll also find an interview with famous French climber and developer Arnaud Petit, who talks about ways to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling in the modern era.
You won’t need to take The Climbing Travel Guide with you on your next adventure (and I don’t recommend it), as it’s not specific enough to be useful to you once you’re in the country. Each country is only covered for a few pages, at most. Instead, it presents a great resource for those looking for a launch pad for climbing in a remote or developing country where Mountain Project and other typical climbing resources may not be up-to-date or available. Simply snap a few photos of the pages covering your destination, grab your prints, shoes, rope, and helmet, and hop on your flight.
In that sense, it’s as much a coffee table book as it is a resource. The photos are spectacular and I found myself flipping through the book for a few minutes each night, even though I haven’t planned a trip (yet). I can count the number of times I’ve seen an advertisement on the one hand, which is always a pleasant surprise these days.
However, perhaps the most important thing to mention is that this is not just a book concocted by a few arrogant globetrotters from a few countries. You don’t just get recommendations from a nob who thinks he’s traveled a lot. You get information from the local climbers themselves.
The Climbing Travel Guide features contributions from over 80 climbers, guides and developers based around the world, including cliff photos from 60 photographers, most of whom are also locally based. People from Turkey to Jamaica to Malawi all gave advice to help build the Climbing travel guideand it shows.
If you want to sample the best rock in remote destinations outside of your territory (or just want to look at radiant photos of climbers around the world), and you want to do it in a respectful and responsible way, The Climbing Travel Guide is a great way to start.
Owen Clark is a freelance writer living on the road. In addition to spending time in the mountains, he loves motorcycles, bigaI, video games, and lime pie.
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