Destinations for widely differing climbing abilties - US or International


Original Post
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5

My girlfriend is a very psyched new climber, and we enjoy making climbing trips together. A complication is that we climb at very different levels 5.7-5.9 for her and 5.12-5.13 for me. We have found that some climbing areas cater much better to this situation than others. Many great crags that I'm psyched on have nothing for her to do, while others with good routes for her have nothing for me. And the standard "middle of the road" crag with lots of 5.10 and 5.11 is really of no use to either of us.

But there are certainly other crags where good 5.8s and good 5.12s are found in close proximity - not necessarily at on the same wall, but close enough together that both can be easily visited in a day. In the summer, Squamish is a great place for this. However, we'd like to plan a winter/spring trip, and are looking for other areas that would work out well for us.

Any suggestions? A few considerations:

- US or International is fine.
- Mainly interested in winter or early spring crags. We don't travel much in the summer since the local PNW climbing is good then.
- Would have 1-3 weeks for a trip. Crags with enough volume at both grade ranges to last a few weeks would be ideal.
- Trad or sport are both fine. Single pitch (though some easy multipitches are fine too).
- It is OK if an area doesn't have hard and easy routes on the same wall; we're fine with doing split days or alternating climbing days. Short approaches are nice to allow visiting two different walls (her wall / my wall) in the same day.
- Shelf, Red Rocks, and J-Tree are out. I've spent enough time in all of those places for one lifetime.
- Bonus points for limestone, and extra double bonus points for steep tufa climbing.

So any suggestions? Thinking about everything from Thailand to T-Wall. Would like to see where others in similar situations have had good climbing trips.

UPDATE: We're going to Potrero! Thanks for all the great suggestions and beta. And keep 'em coming- we're definitely still interested suggestions for other places to check out for future trips. Already thinking about planning a trip to Homestead sometime in the future...

Kauait · · Sandy Utah · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 0

City of rocks

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Kauait wrote:City of rocks
Again, mainly interested in warmer zones for the November-March timeframe. City of Rocks is great, but we have lots of great climbing closer to home that is good during the same season.
Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 0

potrero chico?

density of single pitch routes > 12+ in potrero chico proper isn't huge, but for sure enough for a trip.

further afield: i also went to mallorca as a noob and climbed a ton of fun routes.

you make it hard by vetoing all the obvious ones :p

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Mike Mellenthin wrote:potrero chico? density of single pitch routes > 12+ in potrero chico proper isn't huge, but for sure enough for a trip.
I could have fun on the single pitches for a week or two in Potrero. But what about on the really easy end of the spectrum? Is there two weeks worth of good 5.7-5.9 climbing? For the easy stuff, multi-pitch is fine.
Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,498

Owens River Gorge

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Mike Mellenthin wrote: further afield: i also went to mallorca as a noob and climbed a ton of fun routes.
Interesting. Care to elaborate?

Further afield is fine.
Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 0

yeah, for sure.

i gave my little guide away, but unless i'm remembering really wrong there is a ton of very moderate climbing there. the grades are just weird. nothing is generally rated lower than 5.9, but a lot of the 5.9 is like 5.6 (edit: this was true on the multipitch routes. i imagine it's less true for cragging, but i i didn't climb any 5.9 single pitches).

i met a few climbers who climbed ~5.10a at their limit who had good trips there.

edit:

ORG is a good suggestion.

mallorca has a ton of moderate climbing in a ridiculously pretty setting. i think i was really stoked to send the equivalent of 10d there when i went, so climbing a bit harder than your girlfriend i guess. you've got to rent a car and the island isn't _that_ big, so if you don't mind some driving you could easily alternate between easy and hard crags. the rockfax guide would give you a better idea as to whats there in the easier grades.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Greg Barnes wrote:Owens River Gorge
Hadn't given it much thought, but that might work. I spent a ton of time there years ago, but could certainly go back. Bonus points for the other nearby climbing/bouldering, and for being within semi-sane driving range for a two week trip. How's the density of climbing in the 5.7-5.9 range? The route search shows a lot of routes, but are there walls with a dense selection of easy routes, or are they widely spread out across the canyon?
rpc · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 555

Looking for mostly single pitch or long routes?

Railay in Thailand might suit you both...it's kind of a zoo and not really off the beaten track anymore but fun climbing.

Tsaranoro in Madagascar has a few routes (2-3 say) in the 5.9 (maybe 10-) range with MANY hard ones. All multipitch and can be quite long.

Tasmania would have stuff for both (you can climb the Totem Pole & do the Candlestick right next door with her; Freycinet Penninsula would also have a good distribution). Not sure about short approaches though.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Mike Mellenthin wrote: i gave my little guide away, but unless i'm remembering really wrong there is a ton of very moderate climbing there. the grades are just weird. nothing is generally rated lower than 5.9, but a lot of the 5.9 is like 5.6. i met a few climbers who climbed ~5.10a at their limit who had good trips while there.
Good beta. Thanks. I looked through my Potrero guidebook and didn't initially see a lot of really easy stuff, but I'll keep that inflated-grades consideration in mind. And it gets points for being pretty cheap and simple to travel to. I'll give it a closer look.

Mike Mellenthin wrote: mallorca has a ton of moderate climbing in a ridiculously pretty setting. i think i was really stoked to send the equivalent of 10d there when i went, so climbing a bit harder than your girlfriend i guess... rockfax guide would give you a better idea as to whats there in the easier grades.
Yeah, the issue with a lot of "moderate crags" recommendations is that they typically point you to areas full of 5.10s, which are basically useless to us. But I'll have a look at the Rockfax. Extra-mega-bonus points to anywhere with limestone and tufas.
Crotch Robbins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 105

Kalymnos!

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
rpc wrote: Railay in Thailand might suit you both...it's kind of a zoo and not really off the beaten track anymore but fun climbing.
This is looking like top of the list for us. There's obviously lots for me to do there. How is the selection in the really easy range? I'm a bit concerned that anything easy there will be totally overrun.

Also considering Thakhek (Laos) for similar rock and a more mellow experience.
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

Normally i would say the Gunks,,a million routes of all grades.

For your time frame..it's gotta be OZ... so good

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Crotch Robbins wrote:Kalymnos!
Would absolutely love to go, top of the list for sure. Good suggestion! Main issue is that right now we can fly to Asia for half the cost of a flight to Athens. Need to keep an eye on those flight prices... Seems like the easy climbing is pretty plentiful there? Perfect couples trip too.
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
john strand wrote: For your time frame..it's gotta be OZ... so good
Where in OZ? Arapiles? Grampians? And I imagine that Austral summer is way too hot... how is it in March?
rpc · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 555
JCM wrote: This is looking like top of the list for us. There's obviously lots for me to do there. How is the selection in the really easy range? I'm a bit concerned that anything easy there will be totally overrun. Also considering Thakhek (Laos) for similar rock and a more mellow experience.
Think single pitch stuff tends to be busier than multi-pitch lines in general there. Don't recall the specifics enough.

Another one that popped into my head is Montserrat in Spain. Did only one climb there but there's a cool new guidebook (in English) and it seems like it might have lots to do. What I do recall from our one route was that it would be something like 6a mandatory and 7a fully free...in other words, you could free it, she could pull on draws (like we did :))

Meteora in Greece was spectacular but maybe it's one of those that has a sweet spot at 5.10?
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575
JCM wrote: Where in OZ? Arapiles? Grampians? And I imagine that Austral summer is way too hot... how is it in March?
I have been in march and october..Blues,, MtBuffalo..lots of stuff out west..Tassy..and of course NZ next door

Arapiles may be hot but it's still awesome
Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,498
JCM wrote: Hadn't given it much thought, but that might work. I spent a ton of time there years ago, but could certainly go back. Bonus points for the other nearby climbing/bouldering, and for being within semi-sane driving range for a two week trip. How's the density of climbing in the 5.7-5.9 range? The route search shows a lot of routes, but are there walls with a dense selection of easy routes, or are they widely spread out across the canyon?
Good density, and often right next to the hard routes (or close nearby). Do a bit of planning and you won't even need to pack up the rope bag between the 5.8's and 5.12's.

My very first sport climbing trip was to ORG way back when I couldn't even get off the ground on my friend's warmups (he was onsighting 5.12c, I was just beginning and maxxing out around 10b). Great trip, no problem finding plenty of easy next to hard.

And that was long enough ago that there are about three times as many routes in ORG now.

I've been to Railay a couple times, and you really need the beginner climber to at least be climbing mid 5.10 on top-rope to have much fun/selection (and that's a fairly minimal selection).

Another idea for that time of year is Shelf Road, it's a long ways from the PNW though, and it can easily be sub zero temps with the wrong weather system.
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 5
Greg Barnes wrote: I've been to Railay a couple times, and you really need the beginner climber to at least be climbing mid 5.10 on top-rope to have much fun/selection (and that's a fairly minimal selection).
OK, good beta. That was something I was worried about. Thanks for confirmation. Railay/Tonsai is off the list then.

Also thanks again for ORG info. Will need to move that up on the list.
Crotch Robbins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 105
JCM wrote: Would absolutely love to go, top of the list for sure. Good suggestion! Main issue is that right now we can fly to Asia for half the cost of a flight to Athens. Need to keep an eye on those flight prices... Seems like the easy climbing is pretty plentiful there? Perfect couples trip too.
Yes great couples trip, and there's plenty of easier climbs... enough for a week or more for sure. Not sure if there's enough for a month, it's been a while since I've been. The approaches are very short; you can hit one crag in the morning, break for lunch, then go to another crag in the afternoon.

Buy the guidebook and chances are you'll get psyched to go.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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