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How would living in Syracuse be for a climber?
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By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 28, 2012
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury <br /> <br />Awesome problem!
Just wondering if anyone who climbs a lot has any experience living in Syracuse, NY. I enjoy all types of climbing from alpine to bouldering. I'm willing to drive on the weekends to get to good stuff. Is there a climbing gym in town? Good climbing community? Also is it a nice place to live? What do folks think? Thanks.

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By AdamB
From Chattanooga, TN
Jun 28, 2012
Black Boulder Problem, sent after a generous skin donation
I grew up in Syracuse. You're fairly close in proximaty to the Adirondacks and the gunks (4 hoursish to each). The closest thing to town is Little Falls, which includes a hand full of crags, mostly TR with available sport and trad lines, mostly 5.11 and up for sport and lots of moderate trad. Good quality, nice local scene, busy on weekends. Nine Corner Lake offers excellent bouldering at all grades in a nice setting that's thankfully somewhat insulated from the white trash that also like to hang out there. Snowy Mountain is also a great yet small boulderfield, high quality sandstone in the woods. It's awesome. There's a good sampling of the routes/problems listed on this website for each. There's no gym yet although there are threats to open one (there's a facebook page for it) although seemingly the project has stalled. The only thing in town is a little podunk climbing wall at a jewish community center. It's pretty lame. Colgate has a solid bouldering wall, as does Ithaca, nothing amazing, but fun. It's not the worst place to live, it's not the best place to live. Depending on what youre into there's a solid bar scene with lots of good beer, a couple pretty alright ski hills, good mountain biking if yo know where to look, and the people are generally cool. PM me if you want any more beta or have any other questions I could help with as far as areas to live, or more over, areas where NOT to live.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jun 28, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
I went to high school in Syracuse. My mom is from Crested Butte where I used to go every summmer and some x-mas.

You could not pay me to live there. Possibly one of the worst places to live in the US. Like anywhere there are some positives... but not many.

Pros: Nice forrests, incredible fall colors, lots of lakes and rivers, my dad had a friend who had a sugar farm, fond memories of Maple syrup, cool karst features like waterfalls and some caves.

Cons: Weather is horrendous. Humid summers, I believe the average there is 210 days/year of precip. The snow in the winter is heavy, my mom from Creted Butte was amazed at the snow storms. I'm calling it snow but it is more like white slush. There are no rock climbing crags anywhere nearby. Maybe some old limestone quarries with potential. Culinary, forget it! Economy Sucks!

What else do you want to know?

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By foodgeek
Jun 28, 2012
Rick Blair wrote:
Culinary, forget it! Economy Sucks! What else do you want to know?


Alright, so the food is terrible, there's a complete lack of jobs, the awful weather, and a complete lack of decent climbing in the area, but you forgot to mention that flights from Syracuse to places worth visiting are expensive and often delayed or canceled. On the bright side, after you live in Syracuse for a while you'll be psyched about the culture in Fresno.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jun 28, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
I was a little harsh in my first post. I looked up the stats. Officially 171 days of precip and 11 percent clear days.

For food I do miss Heides (sp?) hotdogs ( they made there own, natural casings ) and Middle East and Greek Food. Denver has crappy Mid East and Greek food despite what people here may think.

There probably are worse places. I've been to Fresno, it has better weather and isn't there a little crag called Yosemite within striking distance?

Foodgeek has definitely done time in the "'cuse"

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By AdamB
From Chattanooga, TN
Jun 28, 2012
Black Boulder Problem, sent after a generous skin donation
Oh yea, I forgot to mention the weather. You should probably get a parka. On the up shot Salmon River Gorge has tons of rad ice climbing.

and there's good Thai food.

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By foodgeek
Jun 28, 2012
AdamB wrote:
Oh yea, I forgot to mention the weather. You should probably get a parka. On the up shot Salmon River Gorge has tons of rad ice climbing. and there's good Thai food.


You live in Sacramento and think the Thai food in Syracuse is good?

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By Nathan Stokes
Jun 28, 2012
The food scene in Syracuse is pretty good if you know where to look. There is plenty of good South East Asian, (St Joes Hospital is dual language English / Vietnamese). The Italian is top notch, there is good Vietnamese, NYC China Town Chinese, Thai, Laotian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian, Eastern European, Korean, Tex-Mex, Baja Mex burritos, Irish, Scottish and a smattering of really good local cooks. The regional market runs year round, the localvore / CSA availability is out standing. How about 4 different artisian cheese shops in Syracuse metro area alone? The beer scene isn't too shabby, Armory Square is alright as far as bar scene. All summer there are street fairs of one type or another downtown. There are a couple of really nice wine / liquor stores. The cost of living is seriously cheap for NY State, 1200 sf house on 1/2 an acre in the burbs for 120K. Traffic is non-existent, 10 minutes to get across town and people are complaining.

There is no local rock that I have found however. The closest wall is Owsego, or Colgate College. The closest real rock is Little Falls which is 1:45 minimum. Its pretty old school as far as grade goes and not very tall. Good for relieving boredom. The ice at Salmon River falls is sick most years, so that does make up for it. But, the Gunks are an easy day trip, the Adirondacks are 2.5 to some stellar rock, the High peaks are 3.5 hrs away and that rock is classic.

Alpine skiing is all East coast crud skiing, there are enough hills close enough to Syracuse to go run laps on after work with a weekly type pass, nothing steep or particularly challenging, but better than nothing. The Tug Hill Plateau which is about an hour north of Syracuse has superb Nordic skiing, both groomed skate and back country single track. Or you can join the locals and go snowmobiling.

There is mountain biking in town and near by, also cyclocross, a trail running circuit club, road biking galore, and some natural lakes that are good for sailing, fishing, etc.

Winters aren't bad if you have activities to keep you up, out and active all week and esp on the weekend. Summers are generally reasonable with the exception of a week or two of deep south nastiness (grew up in Atlanta, so I know bad heat).

Been living here 10 years now and its big enough to have diversity of a city, but not the headaches of a city. Expect to travel 2-3 hours on the weekend to get someplace with good rock, or "mountains" to play, etc.

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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 28, 2012
Absolute crap place to live, run and never look back. If you are from the west the outdoor scene will drive you to drink, its cloudy to the point of zero sun half the year, and the laws and taxes raise the bar on oppressive. Seriously, I lived in Rochester for a year, I'd shoot myself before doing so again.

Boring, boring, boring, depressing, depressing, oppressive.

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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 28, 2012
Oh yes, cost of living, try 3000 or so per year per 100,000$ in taxes on your house. I easily paid 4 times as much in taxes on property in NY as I do in CO. It isn't cheap when you factor in govt theft from your wallet.

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By RadTrad
From Prescott, Arizona
Jun 28, 2012
Storm over on Toms Thumb
Like Merlin said, Run and Don't Come Back! Im currently about to move from syracuse to AZ, the climbing is good but no where near syracuse,

Everyone posted just about everything good to say, except that there is a climbing gym in oswego now. Called The Wall, its just a bouldering gym as of now and is pretty good. But under your name it says your from Flagstaff, why would you go from there to syracuse!

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jun 28, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
I lived in Oneida, NY for 7 yrs and there wasn't much out that way but old railroad bridges that I hear from guys that like in Geneva area and Rochester. Most all of them come down to Moss Island to climb or the ADK's or Gunks...

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jun 28, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
And yeah - you better like snow if you wanna live in Syracuse - because that is ALL it does there because of the 'lake effect' from the west.

Not exactly the job capital of the world, crummy winters. Now I am back home in my hometown about 15 miles northwest of Albany, NY and I am closer to Moss Island, the Gunks and the ADK's as well!

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By BurtMachlan
Jun 28, 2012
Nathan Stokes wrote:
But, the Gunks are an easy day trip


Since when is a 7 hour round trip drive an "easy day trip". Day tripping means going somewhere, climbing, and coming back in the same day. I wouldnt call 8 hours in the car an easy day trip. Think you are trying a little to hard to sell syracuse.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jun 28, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
Merlin wrote:
Absolute crap place to live, run and never look back. If you are from the west the outdoor scene will drive you to drink, its cloudy to the point of zero sun half the year, and the laws and taxes raise the bar on oppressive.

You're just a complainer. Cough up those taxes to pay a full time state worker to hand out the tickets when you enter the Thruway, you know, the thing everywhere else in the world that is done by a machine. They are counting on your mortgage payment to pay for that guys way of life. Did you think they were going to allow you to build personal wealth or something?

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By Nathan Stokes
Jun 28, 2012
BurtMachlan wrote:
Since when is a 7 hour round trip drive an "easy day trip". Day tripping means going somewhere, climbing, and coming back in the same day. I wouldnt call 8 hours in the car an easy day trip. Think you are trying a little to hard to sell syracuse.


Easy day trip is defined by the willingness to drive vs the effort to haul the camping gear for an overnight. If you live in the LA Basin, 3.5 hours on the road may not even get you out of the county on a bad day.

And I'll take the 120 inches of snow a year vs months of severe fire danger thank you very much. We were way short on snow this year and it was miserable.

There are plenty of activities to amuse oneself involving snow. Its all relative. I've worked out west enough to determine I prefer the North East.

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By 1Eric Rhicard
Jun 28, 2012
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
Don't do it. Lived in Watertown (1 hour northeast) for 2 years. Climbed one month a year at the Gunks. That was in 80-81 and I will never get those seasons back. If you like to hunt and fish the finger lakes are great. Go west!

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By foodgeek
Jun 28, 2012
Honestly, I think even Miami would be a better option for a climber - at least they have a gym and a functional airport.

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By BurtMachlan
Jun 28, 2012
Nathan Stokes wrote:
Easy day trip is defined by the willingness to drive vs the effort to haul the camping gear for an overnight. If you live in the LA Basin, 3.5 hours on the road may not even get you out of the county on a bad day. And I'll take the 120 inches of snow a year vs months of severe fire danger thank you very much. We were way short on snow this year and it was miserable. There are plenty of activities to amuse oneself involving snow. Its all relative. I've worked out west enough to determine I prefer the North East.



Ummmm no. No matter how you try to rationalize it to yourself 7-8 hours round trip is not "an easy day trip". Keep on telling yourself you are loving syracuse though...

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By Mark Trotta
From Latham, NY
Jun 28, 2012
On top of Noonmark, 'Dacks
When discussing the living conditions and outdoor potential of the north east, many folks have strong opinions. I grew up in rochester NY, moved to Albany NY after school and i'm not going back, i love it here. So Rochester=bad Albany=Good. weather isn't optimal, but as Nathan mentioned above neither are some of the hazards out west. Aside from the once-a-decade hurricae (irene) and the recent mild winter we had (which was nation-wide) our weather might not be good, but it's rarely extreme. No earthquakes, etc...

But yes we don't have the conditions i hear about out west (i've never climbed outside of the NE). Our bugs bite, our weather produces rain days, some routes are covered in dirt and lichen because they've only seen one ascent and a nut tool is mandatory for cleaning on lead, and the winters are too cold for many to rock climb in the adirondacks 4 or 5 months a year. And where there is world class climbing, it's like an over-crowded gym. Even our hiking is grouling, and requires a will larger than most other hikes. But i love it all.

I'll repeat that: I love it all. The conditions just add to the adventure. This is my home and I love it.

Advice to new comers: become a local and it's not so bad. Learn how to avoid the crowds and read weather reports. Learn how to deal with bugs and climb wet rock. Learn how to deal with the unexpected run-out on gear. Learn that 5.9+ sent in the 60s or 70s could mean as steep as 5.11+. Learn to lead ice in the winter. And most important, lean just how steep most of these routes are. I've had plenty of folks from the west come out and claim "sandbag" over all this. Eh, so look for 5.8s instead of 5.10s and work your way up.

One of the authors of the latest Adirondack guide book (which is AWESOME BTW) lives somewhere right around Syracuse. You can use this map which includes most, if not all places to climb within the park...
maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en...

Looks like from Syracuse you'd be exploring the old forge area. I don't know if I could retreat from Albany to live in syracuse. I'd advocate for Albany or Saratoga instead for climbers. So with that, if you're used to AZ, this might not be the place for you. But if you wanna test your grit against the "no-wimps-allowed" NE, we'd love to have you.

This gallery will give you a taste of the climbing in the 'dacks...
adirondackrock.com/gallery1.ht...

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jun 28, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
Mark, Albany is not Syracuse. I don't know where all of this North East defensiveness comes from. He didn't ask about New Hampshire or Maine or even Albany. He asked about Syracuse which pretty much universally sucks whether you are a climber or not. I love the Adirondaks, great place, but I would never trade that for what I have access to out here.

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By AdamB
From Chattanooga, TN
Jun 29, 2012
Black Boulder Problem, sent after a generous skin donation
foodgeek wrote:
You live in Sacramento and think the Thai food in Syracuse is good?


I never said there wasn't good thai here...

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By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 29, 2012
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury <br /> <br />Awesome problem!
Thanks for all the feedback from folks! I'm looking at a PhD program there and am just trying to figure out how livable it would be. I'm super intrigued by the Northeast. Looking for a very good school to do a PhD in Education or Political Science. Thanks again for all the info!!

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Jun 29, 2012
Rumney
Rick Blair wrote:
Mark, Albany is not Syracuse. I don't know where all of this North East defensiveness comes from. He didn't ask about New Hampshire or Maine or even Albany. He asked about Syracuse which pretty much universally sucks whether you are a climber or not. I love the Adirondaks, great place, but I would never trade that for what I have access to out here.


^^^

I finished high school in Utica, and haven't gone back since graduation. The entire central NY area is depressed. It's the classic everyone who works at Walmart shops at Walmart kind of economy, meaning there's no new industry and much of the job base has fled to greener pastures. You couldn't pay me to live west of Amsterdam in Upstate.

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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 29, 2012
Rick Blair wrote:
You're just a complainer. Cough up those taxes to pay a full time state worker to hand out the tickets when you enter the Thruway, you know, the thing everywhere else in the world that is done by a machine. They are counting on your mortgage payment to pay for that guys way of life. Did you think they were going to allow you to build personal wealth or something?


I had totally forgotten about the joys of paying to drive on every interstate in the NE, fun fun.

I'll echo the Albany NE Syracuse. Albany would be tolerable temporarily, it has good proximity to MA and VT and the Daks. I don't know if it has the same weather as Syracuse though.

For me the worst part of it wasn't the cold or snow, that's what gear is for, it was the 5 month stretch where the sun didn't come out once. Depending on how you do that can be a real killer if you like sunlight. I tried scuba diving in the great lakes, mountain biking, hiking in the Daks, climbing in the Daks, skiing, kayaking, etc. Once you are used to the scale of what's available in the west it all feels like a pale shadow of your old existence.

I moved from Phildelphia to Boulder 9 years ago then Boulder to Rochester 2 years ago then to Grand Junction 1 year ago. Upstate NY would have been an upgrade from Philadelphia but take it from someone with personal experience. Don't do it.

I work with a grad student out there that has seriously contemplated suicide, sunlight deficiency related depression is a very real and serious thing for transplants.

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By Nathan Stokes
Jun 29, 2012
For PhD candidate where you may have more free time and less disposable income than a full time desk jockey the climbing life is going to suck because you are going to spend that free time burning expensive gas to get anywhere with outside rock.

If you grew up out west and you are open to experiencing other parts of the US, then Syracuse is a good example of North East depressed rust belt without the problems of say Detroit. It has plenty of cultural undercurrent if you know where to look and don't expect it to just fall in your lap. Plus there is plenty to see and do in NY beyond rock climbing.

(As an aside, at least in my industry, the saying goes you can spell sucks without SU).

As far as miserable places to live relative to climbing Syracuse is no where in the top 10.
Try Houston, all of Florida, Georgia south of Atlanta, Rochester, Buffalo.

FLAG


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