In recent months, the closest thing we’ve had to a true adventure was choosing whether or not we wanted to vote in person or by mail. But as soon as it’s safe and feels like it can be done pragmatically, we’re looking forward to packing up, hitting the road, and visiting one of the countless National Parks spread throughout the country. If you’re willing to respect social distancing and mask orders, you might even go on a “low contact” trip sooner rather than later.
To help get you inspired about reconnecting with all the majesty of the great outdoors, we reached out to professional photographer and climber Drew Smith to share the secrets of some of his favorite climbing spots paired with a collection of jaw-dropping photos. Drew was recently the subject of a new documentary, A Young Man’s Road, directed by fellow adventure photographer Dylan Gordon — chronicling the young climber’s passion for adventure.
The documentary is a brief 12 minutes that packs a lot of action, giving you an overview of Drew’s life set to moody and sweeping visuals of some of the world’s greatest climbs. Give it a watch above and then dive into Drew’s favorite socially distanced adventure spots below.
The Canadian Rockies, British Columbia/Alberta, Canada
Winter in The Canadian Rockies. The Canadian Rockies boast an impressive array of both classic ice lines and nearly insurmountable alpine summits. If you’re looking for an easy-to-reach spot to get your feet wet, experience some truly difficult climbs, or just take some photos, this is it.
Cochamó Valley, Chile
Cochamó Valley, Chilean Patagonia. This area is often compared to California’s Yosemite Valley. It features clear blue lakes and rivers, stunning waterfalls and vistas, and granite walls the size of El Capitan. With the remote location you get away from any crowds and the adventure is endless.
The Grand Tetons, Wyoming, United States of America
The Grand Teton Mountain Range, Wyoming. The range is 55 miles long, consisting of 12 peaks over 12,000-feet including the 13,770-foot Grand Teton. Several hundred climbs are located in the park along with beautiful lakes and many small alpine glaciers.
The Tetons are the closest thing the US has to the extreme terrain in Chamonix and the Alps of Europe.
For those with a love of all things Arctic. Nordland, Norway might be my favorite place on earth, both for the climbing and landscape. Lush fields give way to lakes and forests, summits sharpen in between picturesque fjords. You get a taste of the midnight sun in summer. While in winter, the Northern Lights dance across the night sky.
Yosemite National Park, California, United States of America
Yosemite National Park in California is by far my favorite place to shoot and climb. No place on earth has a 3000 foot formation with exposure like El Capitan so accessible. You can’t beat the stable California weather with almost year round sun. You can climb and shoot all your heart desires.
The Fitz Roy Massif, Patagonia, Argentina
The Fitz Roy Massif in southern Argentina is every climber’s dream. Vast golden faces of solid granite and large glaciers stretch as far as the eye can see. Bad weather is exceedingly common with very windy conditions, challenging even the most experienced climbers.
El Potreto Chico, Nuevo León, Mexico
El Potreto Chico, is an internationally renowned rock climbing area in Mexico. It is considered to be one of the top 10 locations to sport climb in the world. With unique limestone cliffs and spires as high as 2,000 feet and fresh street tacos with margaritas, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Squamish, Canada’s rock climbing mecca located in the Coast Mountains on the Howe Sound. Very accessible granite walls and bluffs surrounded by old growth forest. If you’re a rock climber, Squamish genuinely has something for everyone. If it’s not raining, you’ll love it.