Vertical Goals: The area’s best climbing adventures, both inside and out

Whether you climbed trees as a child, hike mountains, or yearn to see that next spectacular view, you understand there’s nothing like the feeling of reaching new heights and uttering those words, “I made it.” New to the climbing world, I discovered you don’t need to be a daredevil to find that fun and healthy dose of adrenaline. Here are some of my favorite places in Reno/Tahoe to climb high, no matter your age or ability.

Climb the World’s Tallest

Not far from the Reno Arch, you can’t help but notice an enormous climbing wall attached to the side of the 16-story Whitney Peak Hotel. BaseCamp Climbing Gym stands 163 feet and 6.5 inches and is the tallest artificial climbing wall in the world. It officially holds the Guinness World Record! When you make it to the top, you’ll enjoy ringing the bell as on-lookers cheer from below. I was the first to ring the bell after the official record holding announcement. For any bucket list enthusiast, I dare you to check this off your list. If you’re looking for a more subtle approach, inside BaseCamp you can rent some gear and free climb on their boulders, perfect for your first introduction or a great challenge to those wanting to train on their steep, overhang caves.

Play in the Pines

Did you know there are 11 coniferous tree species in the Tahoe Basin? There’s no better way to learn about them than by exploring this living classroom. On the north shore of Lake Tahoe, choose from three spectacular tree parks with North Tahoe Adventures. Imagine flying, climbing and slack lining all in one. We Getaway girls hung out (literally) at their newest location in Tahoe Vista. We toured treetops, towering bridges, aerial walkways and zip lines, suspended anywhere from 10-to-50 feet. I love trees and was happy to know that these stewards are setting the trends in tree platform attachment methods. They are committed to keeping both the trees and forest healthy, allowing us to experience the wonders of these giants for years to come.

An Epic Discovery

Heavenly Mountain Resort is one of Lake Tahoe’s premiere ski resorts and attractions, even during the summer months. The ascent starts with a scenic gondola ride up the mountain. Get your camera ready because there’s some serious panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. At the top, it’s a climber’s paradise. Choose from three ropes courses at varying levels, a 25-foot climbing wall, summer tubing, and even a mountain roller coaster (say what?!). And it gets better. With the Skyway Canopy Tour, here’s your chance to fly through and above the forest with an array of zip lines and aerial bridges. Talk about jaw-dropping views of the lake. Finish your decent with a zip line race against your friends on the Hot Shot Zip Line or complete your adrenaline fix on the Blue Streak Zip Line, a 3,300-foot line with recorded top speeds up to 50 mph.

Rock Jocks

Last summer was my first time rock climbing granite faces in Tahoe’s wilderness. Even at a novice level, the mental and physical challenge was a little nerve racking at first, but then exciting, and now addicting. I encourage you to master this skill with Tahoe Jack’s Adventure Authority. They’ll take your climb to the next level, providing all gear rentals and hands-on instructions in a safe and beautiful environment. Learn the essentials like knots, anchoring, belaying, climbing techniques and rappelling. You’ll be a rock jock in no time.

New Climbs

Coming to the Biggest Little City this summer is a brand new 24,000-square-foot climbing and fitness facility. Considered a leader in the climbing gym world, Mesa Rim Climbing & Fitness Center will feature towering indoor climbing walls, strength and cardio equipment, a yoga studio, gear shop, climber training area, community lounge, sauna and private event room. The rope climbing walls will be suitable for those wanting to learn basics to those looking to master their skills, with dozens of top-rope and lead climbing along slab walls, steep overhangs, dihedrals and crack systems from 35-to-50-feet tall. Check them out for opening details.

With these routes in mind, it’s time for you to reach your vertical goals. And remember, the best view comes after the hardest climb.


By: Meghan Burk