“Most climbers aren’t in fact deranged, they’re just infected with a particularly virulent strain of the Human Condition.” — Jon Krakauer (Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains)
As the country of Himalayas, climbing is synonymous with Nepal. While mountaineering is its history, rock and wall climbing are much more recent in that respect but very quickly gaining ground.
Nepal and even Kathmandu have amazing natural climbing sites for those used to outdoor climbing and even some climbing walls that go up to grade 7c that will help hone climbing skills. For those with little or no experience, there are plenty of places to learn and get used to climbing and bouldering.
Indoor places to climb in Kathmandu
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Climbing Wall, Maharajgunj
Built in memory of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepalese woman who climbed Mount Everest this 10 metre high wall is one of the most climbing popular spots and is located in. The place has a rugged mountaineering feel to it since frequented by the mountaineering community who are always happy to share their experience and climbing skills and will point out the every tiny bit related to safety.
Various levels of courses are available.
Climbing fee: Rs. 250
Equipment hire optional
Astrek Climbing, Bhagawan Bahal,Thamel
At 15 metres tall, this is one of Kathmandu’s highest climbing walls with 20 colour-coded routes featuring climbing grades suitable for all levels. It also features an smaller area where you can practise overhangs.
Bouldering Gym, Bal lukha, Patan
For those living close to Patan, this bouldering gym is ideal for learning climbing and building upper body strength. While it might not look as lucrative as climbing, bouldering requires great upper body strength and refines climbing techniques. Another advantage this place has is that as the name implies, it also has a gym specially designed to suit climbing needs.
Contact: Paresh 9841226397
International Mountaineers’ Memorial Park, Kakani
Built on the grounds of the Mountaineers memorial park, this 15 m wall is used extensively for mountaineering training courses.
Balaju Climbing Wall – Balaju Industrial area
Unlike most places, this climbing wall does not have equipment to hire and climbers are required to bring their own gear. It features climbing grades upto 7c and some serious overhangs. When it comes to indoor climbing, this is as tough as it gets.
Climbing fee: Rs. 450.
Outdoor climbing sites
NATURAL CLIMBING SITES
Natural rock climbing requires a combination of not just pure climbing skills but also the more technical aspects of knots, rope systems and anchors. It is highly advised to hire a experience climbing guide when going natural climbing since most of the climbing sites in Nepal are not signposted. Most natural climbing sites are fee to climb but a few of them require entry permits for which rules change from time to time. Check with climbers at indoor sites for updated information.
Nagarjun (Day climb)
About 9 km up to Budhailkantha, then walk west from the bus stop the Vishnumati stream through terraced fields and enters the Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife reserve. The granite faces here lie scattered about, and the big cliff in the center is equipped with a single route.
Balaju Rock Climbing.
This is a one of the nearest climbing sites from Kathmandu located about a 30 minute northwest drive from Kathmandu. It is a day climb. There are more then 9 climbing routes from grade 4a to 7b+. It also features an overhang for climbing and also 65 m multi pitch and 12 m single pitch.
This site is 26km from Kathmandu city and it takes around an hour to reach by bus. The wall is over 35 metres high and is located about a 20 minute walk from the road. There are more then 10 routes with the highest climbing grade available being 7a and 7b and starting from 6a.
Climbing is best in winter here since it is a south facing slope and gets really hot during daytime in spring and in summer. Early mornings are a good way of getting out of the heat.
Equipment and Rentals
Equipment can be rented from many trekking shops in Thamel and from many indoor climbing sites. Costs are usually around Rs. 50-200 per piece of equipment and its good to hunt around for good deals. It is usually best to have your own shoes and harness for climbing.
While climbing can be done in all seasons, it is best to check weather forecasts when going climbing. Some places also get too hot to climb during the daytime.