Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Ah, sport climbing. The act of rock climbing in which you use permanent anchors that have already been placed in the rock. (Like how I threw that definition in there for other readers, Brendan?) The three top destinations for it in the east are the New River Gorge, West Virginia; Rumney Rocks, New Hampshire; and the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Now, a rundown on each one.
New River Gorge
There are thousands of established traditional and sport routes surrounding the New River Gorge outside of Fayetteville in south-central West Virginia. Although this is probably the most popular climbing destination in the East, the routes are spread out enough—and the cliffs above Summersville Lake on the Gauley are equally as epic—for you to avoid crowds.
Guide Service: New River Mountain Guides
Camping: Rifrafters Campground
These are a series of 20 or so crags scattered throughout a 150-acre area on 1,600-foot Rattlesnake Mountain in the western White Mountains of New Hampshire. Without question the favorite sport climbing destination in the east, and (unfortunately) the clingy schist of Rumney Rocks keeps growing in popularity. A great spot for beginners through experts—but avoid it on weekends.
Guide Service: Mooney Mountain Guides
Camping: Baker River Campground
Red River Gorge
You'll find some of the toughest sport climbs in the country among the 150 or so crags interspersed around the town of Slade, population 38, within the towering sandstone walls of the Red River Gorge in eastern Kentucky. Most prime sport routes lie within the boundaries of the Daniel Boone National Forest. But the Red River Gorge Climbers' Association, which is largely responsible for keeping the federal lands accessible to climbers, also now owns and maintains a nearby 750-acre swath of crag-filled land in the gorge called the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve. The hub of all activity in the area is Miguel's Pizza and Rock Climbing, just outside of Slade, where you can find directions, advice, food and gear.
Guide Service: Red River Outdoors
Camping: Climbers only can camp at Miguel's Pizza