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Vancouver to southern Cali road trip
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By ericthemurse
From Victoria, BC
Feb 17, 2014
Davy Jones' Locker (5.7)
Hi everyone! I am planning a two week road trip from Vancouver BC to southern California this summer with my girlfriend (non-climber due to injuries) and a buddy of mine (climber, gf's brother). I would like to start to put together a bit of a plan, and would like your guys' help. I am looking for climbing destinations, as well as things to do or places to see that my gf might enjoy to do on our rest days.
I lead up to 5.10a trad, and 5.11a sport. My buddy leads 5.10b/c and has seconded my trad leads. I have a double rack up to 4.5". Mostly going to travel via the I5 I think, so destinations not to far off of the route would be nice.
I am so pumped for this trip! Hope you guys can help me out :)
Thanks!

FLAG
By Eric "Pig" Varley
Feb 17, 2014
If you're going to travel I5 through California's central valley, you should be prepared to veer off course a decent amount to hit some great granite climbing. I5 is a fairly boring drive, however, you'll be much closer to some great climbing destinations in the Sierra foothills. Yosemite is the obvious detour. Places like Shuteye Ridge, Courtright Reservoir, and Needles are a little further off course, but totally worth it. It's all beautiful country.

If you head down 101 south of San Francisco, you could stop by Pinnacles. Unfortunately, that's about the only real climbing option until 101 and 1 merge in San Luis Obispo.

If you take highway 1 south of San Francisco, you don't have a ton of climbing options, but you do have the chance to drive one of the most rugged and breathtaking coastlines in the country. Big Sur is a pretty sweet detour. The rock is almost total crap out there, so don't bother to climb it.

Where highway 1 and 101 merge in San Luis Obispo, there's a couple of local area crags. Most notably is Bishop Peak, a fairly stout and old school climbing area. South of there, there's amazing sand stone climbing in Santa Barbara (again, with some terrifying old school potential). There's a plethora of climbing areas in the greater LA area (Malibu Creek, Echo Cliffs, Stoney Point, etc.). There's even some great stuff down in San Diego.

In any case, you're not going to run low on great places to climb and great scenery, except while in the Central Valley.

FLAG
By J Sundstrom
From Seattle, WA
Feb 17, 2014
Story of my life.
I'd definitely take the 395 in California through the Eastern Sierra. Plenty of bouldering and alpine climbing through there to keep you busy for the entire summer! Or do as Eric suggested and drive along the coast. There are the crags he suggested and plenty to enjoy on your off days.

And I agree; the I5 is pretty boring through the central valley.

Joshua Tree will probably be too hot in the summer to climb... Then you have Tahquitz and Suicide Rock in the San Jacinto Mountains. Also stuff in the San Bernadino Mountains near LA. San Diego also has some nice stuff on El Cajon Mountain and in the backcountry.

FLAG
By Bryan G
From San Jose
Feb 17, 2014
Puffy jackets and Happy Boulders
You definitely want to take the 395 route through central California. You basically have two great options for crossing over. Either at Sacramento take the 50 over, stopping to climb at Lover's Leap and other Tahoe areas, or alternatively go further south and take the 120 through Yosemite, stopping to climb in Tuolumne Meadows. Either option offers some of the best 5.7-5.10a trad climbs in the state. Then once you're on the 395 heading south there's a myriad of climbing destinations and sights to see. Do your gf's injuries prevent her from hiking/backpacking? There's a lot of trail and backcountry to explore in the Sierra.

Then there's the coastal route, which doesn't offer much climbing, and affordable camping is hard to come by; but the sights are pretty and if you like oceans it's got one of those. Two weeks isn't a lot of time for a 4500 km trip, so you're going to be spending at least a third of your time on "driving days". So maybe do mountains on the way down and coast on the way back (or vice versa) so you at least have different stuff to look at while in the car.

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By Maurice Chaunders
Feb 17, 2014
Colombian Crack
I'd skip big sur if you want to climb; hit it up if you have some rest days. It's awesome, just not for climbing.

+1 for tuolumne. Yosemite will be pretty hot in the summer, and crowded. The climbing and scenery is spectacular. You might be able to drag your girlfriend up the east face of cathedral spire. It's a casual 5.7 or so, and she might be able to take it, even if injured. Might be an easier route up, too. If you drive through california without visiting yosemite, as a climber, I'd think you were nuts.

FLAG
By ericthemurse
From Victoria, BC
Feb 18, 2014
Davy Jones' Locker (5.7)
Thanks for the input you guys! Lots of great feedback. Looks like the 395 is the way to go. My girlfriend suffered necrotizing myositis to both of her thighs, and needed half of her quad muscles removed. She has a fair amount of quad weakness now (obviously). Short, relatively level hikes are doable (unfortunately climbing is out of the question for her, but thanks for the suggestion Mike). I am done school in the middle of april, and have 3 weeks off until my practicum. Would it be more worth it to go then (esp for yosemite)?

Thanks again for the feedback :)

FLAG
By Eric "Pig" Varley
Feb 18, 2014
Middle of April is perfect for Yosemite. It's a little early in the season so the crowds won't be terrible. Some of the routes can still be wet, but it's easy enough to ask around and figure out which ones are dry. Given the rainfall this year, wet routes will be even less of a problem. The only problem with April is that Tioga Pass will almost definitely still be closed, which means you won't be able to get to 395 and the Eastern Sierra through Yosemite National Park. You can still make your way up to the Lake Tahoe area and be able to cross over to 395 as I-80, Highway 50, and Highway 207 remain open all year.

FLAG
By ericthemurse
From Victoria, BC
Feb 19, 2014
Davy Jones' Locker (5.7)
Thanks for the info Eric. Good to know April is an option too. Has Yosemite had low rainfall this year so far?

FLAG
 
By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2014
West Overhang
ericthemurse wrote:
Has Yosemite had low rainfall this year so far?


CA is in the middle of a drought, so yes.
Yosemite Valley rainfall
Yosemite Valley rainfall

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By EricF
From San Francisco
Feb 19, 2014
I'd try to stop in Bend, OR. Cool town, lots of breweries if your into that at Smith Rock is a pretty stellar places to climb if you go in April. Also I would 2nd going over the 50 and stopping at lovers leap on the way. You can always pop into tuolumne, on your way south.

Sorry to hear about your GF's injury, thats terrible. The coastal route is amazing, my favorite is actually north of San Francisco, little more laid back than Big Sur up through Redwoods (actually some great bouldering on the beach there, think its listed under hidden boulders or something on here) and Oregon, you can pop back over at Lincoln city to Portland. Just stunning and worth doing on the either the way down or back, will take longer to drive but well worth it. Good luck, hope its a great trip

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By ericthemurse
From Victoria, BC
Feb 19, 2014
Davy Jones' Locker (5.7)
Thanks Fossana, hope it stays dry all spring :)

Thanks for the suggestions Winston, Bend does sound cool, and I have heard good things about Smith and Lover's Leap. Tuolomne is definitely on my list.

Thanks for the kind words, this past year has been a rough one for both of us. They think it was an rare unstudied autoimmune disease created by a drug she was on (Humira injections weekly for Crohn's disease). Scary stuff. Worst part is that she used to climb as hard as me, and can't at all now.

I did the coastal route with my family years ago, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I'm thinking we will do it on the way back.

Thanks again everyone!

FLAG
By geoff georges
From Seattle, Wa.
Feb 19, 2014
We make the Cali pilgrimage usually every year. 2 weeks is great for hitting a couple of areas. I really like the east side route, but I-5 is the speedy way to Yosemite. We camp near Shasta on our way. Tuolumne is great around July 1st, or mid Sept. Both of these would be great for walking too. The Valley is good in April, or like others said Taquitz, J-Tree. Also really cool place is the Needles, maybe cold in April, but too hot in the summer.
If you do go in April and go 395, and get up early, you could plan to camp at Smith, great in April. Then South Lake Tahoe.Then the Bishop area. Cardinal pinnacle is an awesome 10a trad route. Lots of easy access along 395 headed toward Lone Pine, but maybe early for the classic alpine stuff.

FLAG


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