If climbing crags and scaling rock walls is your passion, Nevada has the outdoor and indoor climbing you crave. With more than 300 mountain ranges, Nevada is host to a plethora of rock formations that will test your mental and physical strength.

In northern Nevada explore River Rock, a granite formation just west of Reno along the Truckee River that provides great half-day climbs. Dinosaur Rock, just south of Carson City, challenges climbers to a 140-foot-high crag. And the East Shore Crags of Lake Tahoe furnish climbers with plenty of multi-faced rocks to ascend.

While in rural Nevada, climb at Great Basin National Park, including the 90-foot crag The Diamond, Solomon’s Arrow, Shenandoah Wall and Nameless Tower, which offers three different routes. The Adobe Range north of Elko is a relatively new site offering traditional and sport routes. And Mecca in Caliente tests climbers with crimps, pockets and slopes.

During your visit to the Las Vegas area in southern Nevada, climb the limestone cliffs of the Spring Mountains at Mount Charleston and explore the routes at remote Mount Potosi. If you’re up to conquering sandstone ridges, you must climb at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. There are more than 1,200 routes including Dog Wall, Magic Bus and Olive Oil.

Nevada also has several rock climbing resources, associations and clubs including indoor climbing centers that provide rock walls as well as instruction. Whether it’s outdoor or indoor, beginner or expert, the climbs in Nevada are worth every pinched finger.

The Yosemite Decimal System

The difficulty of most routes in th United States is gauged by a modified version of the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). The original YDS categorized hiking as class 1 or 2, scrambling as class 3 or 4, technical free climbing as class 5 and aid climbing as class 6. Since most rock climbing can be designated as technical free climbing, these routes were subdivided into the alternate fifth class scales. Expert routes are once again subdivided into + and – or a, b, c and d. Note: Many routes shouldn’t be attempted without the presence of aids. 

Yosemite Decimal System

Level                         Difficulty

5.2 through 5.5         Easy

5.6 through 5.9         Moderate

5.10 (a, b, c, d)         Expert

5.11 (a, b, c, d)         Expert

5.12 (a, b, c, d)         Expert

5.13 (a, b, c, d)         Expert

5.14 (a, b, c, d)         Expert

5.15 (a, b, c, d)         Expert

Additionally, the length of these routes is subdivided once again into Grades I through VII. The seldom-used grades I and II are short crag routes, grade IIIs are half-day outings, grade IVs are full-day 5.10= climbs, Grade Vs are steep wall routes and grade VIs are extremely technical multi-day affairs. Grade VII is a relatively new grade reserved for remote – often severe – alpine climbs that involve no less than 10 days of extreme and technical climbing.