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Best place to live in, for the all-around climber? (rock/ice/mountain)
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By Ignacio
From Denver, CO
Jun 1, 2013
At bolt 6 (or 5?)

After many years of being stuck in Texas, I'm having the opportunity to relocate this winter to a place where I don't need to drive at least 4 hours for average rock climbing or an eternity for ice climbing/mountaineering. What would you say is the best town in the US where I could take advantage of ice waterfalls in the winter, and rock climbing/mountaineering year-round (or most of the year)?

My initial thoughts were Durango, CO or the Bay Area in CA but the wife gave me the thumbs down on Durango and the Bay Area is insanely expensive. So far the Bay Area is the #1 candidate, but I'm curious about other locations. I've heard of Tucson but after 11 years in Texas I'm done with the long stretches of 100+ weather. Oh, and make it a dog-friendly town for bonus points. :-)

Any suggestions??


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By Josh Kornish
Jun 1, 2013
The Roach

Missoula or Bozeman, Montana are both pretty sweet. Bend, Oregon seems to satisfy much of your list as well


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By Kelly P
Jun 1, 2013

The Boulder/Denver metro area :) Boulder is expensive(we have not been able to find a home to purchase under 450k as an idea) but the suburbs of Boulder are pretty affordable and obviously, the climbing can't be beat!


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By Andrew williams
Jun 1, 2013
Mental Games Apple Valley

SLC? Ice climbing/bc skiing in LCC (and I think BCC) in the winter, the rest of the year you have great bouldering/sport/trad all about 30 mins from downtown or less. You are also 2 hours from Maple Canyon and 3 from Joes Valley. I think Moab is just under 4 hours away, City of Rocks is 3 hours. Housing in Utah is also dirt cheap and the area is a growing job market. Hard to beat for outdoor access :)

You can Ice Climb, Rock Climb, Kayak, Mountain Bike and Ski all in the same day in Spring.


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By Name
Jun 1, 2013

Best mountains and weather (rock, snow and ice) are California's Eastern Sierra mountains, Colorado, then Utah. All others aren't even close in all around.


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By s.price
From PS,CO
Jun 1, 2013
 Morning Dew ,self portrait

Pagosa Springs, Co. 60 miles out of Durango, more affordable. Everything you are looking for at the southern foot of one of the best mountain ranges(and at our end one of the least explored) in the U.S.


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By wendy weiss
Jun 2, 2013

Do you have to consider job availability? Cost of living?

What are your wife's criteria?


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By Michael Holland
From Teton Village, WY
Jun 2, 2013

What about Jackson Hole? There is pretty great ice climbing in Dubois, and there are the Tetons, of course, and in a three hour radius you have world class sport climbing, and in the summer the Tetons are pretty much all you need in terms of adventurous trad climbing, and the winters are absolutely epic for skiing, and the summers are perfect for pretty much every summer sport you can think of besides surfing... it is a bit pricy, though


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By Devin Krevetski
From West Woodstock, VT
Jun 2, 2013

New Hampshire?














....I'll let myself out.


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By Peteoria
Jun 2, 2013

yeah there's a ton of towns all around durango that offer exactly what you're looking for.

I think you may need to clarify why your wife immediately nixed Durango. It fits the bill for everything you want & sounds wayyyyyy better than living in the Bay. If your wife doesn't like Durango because she knows its a smelly hippy town where she'll be surrounded by meth heads as you leave her alone cuz you're engulfed in all the loads of glorious climbing nearby, and she prefers the Bay area because it has shopping and yuppies and hard core capitalism, well then you may need to reconsider your post, since you might not be looking for "the best climbing town in the US."

I've never lived in the Bay area, but something tells me it isn't the BEST climbing town in the US, or really even in the top 200. If it were, you'd hear about more pros living out of their vans down by the Bay. It doesn't happen for a reason.

If you're more focused on ice climbing, I would NOT suggest Boulder, the ice just isn't in Boulders bacyard ike people say it is. You can walk to climb rocks from nearly anywhere in Bouder, but ice requires hours of driving.


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By Ignacio
From Denver, CO
Jun 2, 2013
At bolt 6 (or 5?)

Sorry, I didn't provide enough details and my initial post was a bit too vague. My wife doesn't care much for climbing but she likes outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, etc. The reason the Bay Area wins so far is because she wants to be near the ocean. So I was looking at that area and San Diego as well. I figured it would be much easier for both of us to find a job in the bay area, though (software engineer & bilingual elementary schoolteacher). It blew my mind the amount of outdoor stuff so near Silicon Valley in terms of beach, cycling, hiking, snow sports, rock/ice/mountaineering with its proximity to Yosemite and the Sierras. Pretty much proximity to climbing AND the ocean limits the search to the west coast, I guess.

Portland? I wasn't even considering that option... does it share Seattle's weather, or do you get a decent number of climbing days there? How far are you from rock & ice climbing?

I guess I'd place equal weight to both rock & ice, doesn't matter if I need to wait until the winter to get on ice as long as it's within a reasonable distance.


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By Ignacio
From Denver, CO
Jun 2, 2013
At bolt 6 (or 5?)

I actually intentionally left the "beach" part out to hear about other towns that may have cool attributes that I could use to offer in case it's not quite near the coast. :-)


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By kidda
From Boone, NC
Jun 2, 2013

We moved to the bay 3 years ago in large part for the climbing. There is nothing worth mentioning in the immediate vicinity, but so many world class destinations in the 3-4 hour range. It's almost always sunny - I've never had even a weekend trip totally ruined by weather. We both have Friday - Sunday off every weekend which helps with the travel:

-Yosemite Valley, 3.5 hours (April/October/ lucky winter)
- Tuolumne/High Sierra, 4 hours (June-September)
-Tahoe, 3 hours (May-September, Sugar loaf in south lake ideal in winter)
- Sierra National Forest, 4 hours (year round)
-J Tree, 9 hours (November-March)
Bishop, 5-8 hours (November-March)

We rotate destinations by season. After 3 years, we have climbed a lot of classic stuff but we are worn out by the constant traveling, over the big city and a lot of the things mentioned by others, and missing living in the mountains.

The other obvious downside to climbing world class granite every weekend is the crowds - though it is posible to find out of the way destinations in the sierras when the crowds get unbearable (4wd is helpful).

We have an opportunity to move back to Boone, North Carolina, and are going to take that opportunity. The trad climbing is great, less than an hour away, and consistently climbable from March to November. Winter can be rounded out by bouldering or traveling 2 hours. But, rain is an ever-present concern.

Hope this helps.

EDIT: The bay also has a thriving gym community if you're into that sort of thing.


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By Bob Dobalina
Jun 2, 2013

The Bay area?! For me, that would be a death sentence!


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By Dan Felix
Jun 2, 2013

Look a little closer at the east coast. Especially New England. For me, beaches are an hour away. Rumney is the same. Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges are less than 45 minutes. There's a whole lot of climbing less than an hour away from me that isn't as crowded. Someone else will have to fill you in on ice but I know there's plenty of it here. The bi-lingual teacher part could be a problem but I'm sure high school jobs exist.


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By climbing coastie
From Sacramento
Jun 2, 2013
Switzerland

Given any thought to Anchorage?

The local rock isn't the greatest, but trips into the Alaska Range could make up for it. Ice climbing 12 months a year. Waterfall ice from Thanksgiving to Memorial Day and glaciers during the summer/fall. Mountaineering along with Road/mountain biking, hiking is literally right out your back door.

Ocean is right there, but it does have one of the largest tide swings in the country. Seward and Whittier have world class kayaking.

You do have the daylight extremes but it isn't that bad once you get use to it.


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By Ignacio
From Denver, CO
Jun 2, 2013
At bolt 6 (or 5?)

Bob Dobalina wrote:
The Bay area?! For me, that would be a death sentence!


Why is that?

PS: Note that I'm also listening to reasons why the Bay Area would be a bad destination, besides the obvious (horrid traffic, expensive housing), so feel free to explain without sugar-coating it. :-)


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By Ignacio
From Denver, CO
Jun 2, 2013
At bolt 6 (or 5?)

Thanks a lot for the feedback, kidda! So I guess those crags within an hour (Castle Rock, Indian Rock, etc) are not too exciting? I guess compared to Yosemite everything else gets dwarfed... (don't forget I'm coming from driving 2.5 hours toa 25ft sport crag, so I was ecstatic to see 100ft routes within an hour :-) )

-i


kidda wrote:
We moved to the bay 3 years ago in large part for the climbing. There is nothing worth mentioning in the immediate vicinity, but so many world class destinations in the 3-4 hour range. It's almost always sunny - I've never had even a weekend trip totally ruined by weather. We both have Friday - Sunday off every weekend which helps with the travel: -Yosemite Valley, 3.5 hours (April/October/ lucky winter) - Tuolumne/High Sierra, 4 hours (June-September) -Tahoe, 3 hours (May-September, Sugar loaf in south lake ideal in winter) - Sierra National Forest, 4 hours (year round) -J Tree, 9 hours (November-March) Bishop, 5-8 hours (November-March) We rotate destinations by season. After 3 years, we have climbed a lot of classic stuff but we are worn out by the constant traveling, over the big city and a lot of the things mentioned by others, and missing living in the mountains. The other obvious downside to climbing world class granite every weekend is the crowds - though it is posible to find out of the way destinations in the sierras when the crowds get unbearable (4wd is helpful). We have an opportunity to move back to Boone, North Carolina, and are going to take that opportunity. The trad climbing is great, less than an hour away, and consistently climbable from March to November. Winter can be rounded out by bouldering or traveling 2 hours. But, rain is an ever-present concern. Hope this helps. EDIT: The bay also has a thriving gym community if you're into that sort of thing.


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By Ignacio
From Denver, CO
Jun 2, 2013
At bolt 6 (or 5?)

BTW, I _really_ appreciate the suggestions, I wasn't even considering most of the areas you mention... keep'em coming! :-)


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By rging
From Salt Lake City, Ut
Jun 3, 2013
CoR

In a van.


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By Edward_
Jun 3, 2013

Ignacio wrote:
Thanks a lot for the feedback, kidda! So I guess those crags within an hour (Castle Rock, Indian Rock, etc) are not too exciting? I guess compared to Yosemite everything else gets dwarfed... (don't forget I'm coming from driving 2.5 hours toa 25ft sport crag, so I was ecstatic to see 100ft routes within an hour :-) ) -i

Some might not like it, but I think Castle Rock is awesome for bouldering... nothing wrong with it at all. In bay area, I rotate in between :

spring - yosemite
summer - tuolomne (hopefully Sierras this year)
fall - yosemite, tahoe
winter - sugarloaf, Table Mountain (Goldwall/Grotto/Jailhouse)... occasional trips to Bishop and JTree

Castle Rock fits nicely in winter if there is no rain, or a summer weekday evening if I can get off work by 5pm...

I think LA would be an awesome option too... close to JTree, Red Rocks, easy drive to Bishop and Yosemite, and little crags like Echo, New Jack City, etc...

Hope that helps!


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By Dave Cummings
From Grand Junction, CO
Jun 3, 2013
me on my redpoint

San Juans CO, SLC, Boulder all have it all really close by, I like GJ being in the middle all of those three but I drive a little further


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 3, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

Waterfall ice in California is pretty weak compared to the mountains and rock climbing. You can probably dry your tears on the endless granite but the ice climbing in the rockies is significantly more abundant.

SLC isn't half bad but the alpine climbing is probably weaker than other areas. SLC is somewhat centrally located to the San Juans, Tetons, Wind Rivers and Sawtooths though so it's not totally awful.


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By PatrickV
From Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jun 3, 2013
mexico

No one ever mentions Estes Park, is that because it is too obvious a choice?


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By Cory
From Boise, ID
Jun 4, 2013
Relaxing in the Tuttle Creek Campground after a fun day in the Hills

kidda wrote:
-Yosemite Valley, 3.5 hours (April/October/ lucky winter) - Tuolumne/High Sierra, 4 hours (June-September) -Tahoe, 3 hours (May-September, Sugar loaf in south lake ideal in winter) - Sierra National Forest, 4 hours (year round) -J Tree, 9 hours (November-March) Bishop, 5-8 hours (November-March) We rotate destinations by season. After 3 years, we have climbed a lot of classic stuff but we are worn out by the constant traveling, over the big city and a lot of the things mentioned by others, and missing living in the mountains.


If you want reasons to avoid the Bay Area they are listed right here. Super classic stuff, but that's a lot of driving! Also remember that those drive times don't apply to Friday afternoon traffic.

With 3 day weekends I guess it's not so bad, but for Mon-Fri working fools like me that would force the classic puzzle: Choose two of the following, family, career, or your life passion (climbing). With drive times like that you cannot have all 3.

I left California for that reason. Now I have to get way down the list of climbing spots before I stop measuring drive (or bike) times in minutes and start measuring in hours. It's awesome! I get to climb a lot, have time to cook really good dinners with the MRS, and consequently am enjoying my career that much more to boot!

Good luck wherever you go!


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By Greg Halliday
From Spanish Fork, UT
Jun 4, 2013

SLC. As you know, anywhere near the ocean is wicked expensive. SLC is nowhere near the ocean. But is is near to awesome climbing, awesome hiking, awesome biking (road and mountain), awesome camping, improving nightlife, Mormons aren't that weird. Adobe just built a nice new complex just south in Lehi and there are a number of other software companies here locally. The pay for teachers really sucks though (my dad taught HS English so I got to experience this first hand.) Although being bilingual (I'm assuming Spanish here) is a big plus. The cost of living is reasonable (of course varies on the neighborhood), and the housing market is good.


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