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Sports & Recreation

Best Place to Get High 

Cliff Drive

The reopening of Cliff Drive last fall made the commute that much easier for Kansas City climbing enthusiasts who see the cliff as a limestone treasure. On a typical weekend, the precipice along the Missouri River bluff draws as many as a dozen climbers. They loop colorful ropes at the top and grip their way up cracks, pinchers, flakes and crimps. Some of the routes rise more than 60 feet, and they can be tough. "If you can do Cliff Drive, you can do anywhere," says Lee Johnson, a local climber who hits the drive a few times a week to stay in shape for his trips to southern Missouri and beyond. Of course, the view below of Kansas City's industrial bottoms is not exactly an awesome wilderness vista, but with belly pressed to the rock face, fingers straining for traction and sweat dripping in the eyes, who has time to admire the view?

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