In a recent article by Carlo Alcos on the Matador Network travel site, three cities in British Columbia and one in Oregon were listed as the world’s best for rock climbing.

The story, titled “17 of the world’s best cities for rock climbers,” takes into consideration the quality of the climbing area as well as the local amenities from brew pubs to nightlife and includes such world-famous locations as:

  • Sidney, Australia
  • Sheffield, England
  • Yangshuo, China

No-one would be surprised to see BC cities Squamish or Penticton on the list as they have some of the best rock climbing in Canada along with excellent amenities. (Penticton has a population of 33,250 yet boasts more than 150 restaurants and 29 wineries.) Likewise it makes sense for Bend, Oregon, to be on the list as it’s near the world-class climbing area of Smith Rock.

Rock climbing in Skaha Provincial Park, Penticton.
Rock climbing in Skaha Provincial Park, Penticton. Photo: Preserved Light Photography

However, what was surprising was seeing the small Kootenay city of Nelson on the list. The author writes:

“Besides having several nearby quality crags (Nelson) has an amazing music, arts, food, cafe, and outdoors scene… You can climb right in town at Squatter’s Bluff or Pulpit Rock, or head out a bit afield to crags like Waterline, Kinnaird Bluffs, Woodbury, Arrow Lakes…and Creston.”

Of course, it helps that Alcos lives in Nelson but given the city is also close to the world-class alpine climbing of the Valhallas, including the iconic Gimli Peak featured in the video below, the choice makes sense. At least to us. To read the story in its entirety, click here: 17 of the world’s best cities for rock climbers.