Men’s Journal Picks the Toughest Rock Climbing Routes in the World

Attempting to rank the toughest climbing routes in the world is no easy task. After all, there are literally hundreds of thousands to choose from, and the qualities that separate the most difficult of them from one another are often intangible, completely arbitrary, and wide open for debate. Still, the team over at Men’s Journal attempted to come up with a definitive list of the gnarliest climbing routes in the world, and while you may not necessarily agree with where a particular route falls on that list, it’s hard to argue with the climbs that made the cut.

To find the toughest rock climbing routes imaginable the MJ team literally had to scour the globe. In fact, the climbs that made the cut can be found in places like Spain, India, Madagascar, and unsurprisingly Yosemite. Those routes include such amazing climbs as the Dawn Wall for instance, as well as the Shark Fin on Meru Peak, the subject of the amazing mountaineering documentary MeruThe other entires may not be quite as well known with the casual reader, but they are equally as challenging and massively iconic in the rock climbing world.

In the end, only six climbing routes made the cut, and there are a few obvious ones missing (Trango Towers anyone?), but it is hard to argue with the list as a whole. Each of these entires aren’t just incredibly hard, they require a level of dedication and talent that goes beyond just being tough. To help illustrate that, each of them is accompanied by a photo that provides a sense of what each route is like, while a descriptive paragraph provides more insight into the exact challenges they present.

So what do you think of the list? Are there any glaring omissions that you’d add? Check out the six that made the cut and share your thoughts in the comments below.


Kraig Becker