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Best climber's scenes/hang outs/vibe/communities


Original Post
richard aiken · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 0

I am trying to understand which elements make a destination popular and welcoming for climbers beyond just the quality of the climbing. The best ones I have seen are Miguel's at the Red, camp 4 in the Valley, Jtree, Arapiles in Australia, the climber's campground at Bohuslan in Sweden and Ailefroide in France.

I cannot figure out why those seem welcoming and popular and why they have a feeling of community while other places, even with better facilities/services/access.. don't seem so welcoming and don't seem to be places to hang out after the climbing is done.

Any positive thoughts, ideas, observations will be welcome. No sarcasm or nasty comments are needed. This is for a practical application.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
richard aiken wrote: No sarcasm or nasty comments are needed. This is for a practical application.
What is the "practical application"?
Benjamin Pontecorvo · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 140

Trout creek Oregon... There are a many campsites but all the climbers will gather at the one camp that brought wood.. great cracks. I felt welcomed as a new climber to the area, not sure why, maybe

-people from Oregon are just plain and nice
-small small area with high high percentage with quality routes
-climbers climb there because it is a special and small place: maybe the douchbags all go to Smith?
-Interesting awesome ethics: not a single protection bolt, but EVERY route has lowering chains so you never have to untie- very community oriented vibe
- closed half the year thanks to the birdies

Interesting question

Rick Blair · · Denver · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 268

You didn't mention Perl Street in Boulder, you not hip enough?

ALuckyDuck · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2014 · Points: 60

Agree with everything Benjamin said about Trout Creek. It's a special place with a great community. I've also had great experiences at the New River Gorge. Met some awesome people climbing in and around Fayetteville and had many beers at Pies & Pints.

dsauerbrun · · Boulder · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 55

payne's ford in new zealand(stay at the hang dog campground).

Tonsai in thailand was also one but I don't know how the vibe/scene has been impacted since all the businesses got pushed back up the hill a year or two ago.

both of those had one thing I noticed in common, central meeting area. In Payne's ford the campground was pretty limited in terms of space which forced people to interact with one another... there was also the campfire that was a great place for everyone to congregate.

Tonsai had mama's chicken... every morning people would wake up, get breakfast there and talk about where they wanted to climb and folks would just split up into their groups.

RichBeBe · · New York City, NY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

I just did a two-month solo trip around the U.S. and the two best places by far were:
Smith Rock Bivvy, friendly people, central cooking/eating area so it was very social.
Wrinkled Rock Campground near Mount Rushmore, SD. Also very friendly people and a good vibe. Picnic tables would have made the social aspect better, but always met nice friendly climbers.

Hank Caylor · · Glenwood Springs, CO · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 615

I met my superhot, future BASE jumping, hard trad/sport climbing(follower), multiple-stonenudes calendar/coffee table book model and eventual Wife of going on 9yrs at the Southern Sun Brewpub in Boulder, CO.

That place was, and is still, totally loaded with climbing types of every speed and style. Shitty fries, weakish burgers and burly strong ale.. but still a cool hangout and meeting place for climbers of every style and speed. Don't be obnoxious, but don't be shy, it's a goldmine.

richard aiken · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 0

thanks for the replies. These are a very good start and what I was hoping to learn.
It is interesting to know that there are other places, please post others known to any of you.

But the key I am seeking is WHY are these places special? What makes them that way?

Very good points some of you made, IMO, are:
-nice people. So what draws nice people to any of these more than elsewhere? In my experience, climbers are generally positive, cheerful etc but not always welcoming or outgoing...
-'special place'. I've never been there so I am curious about what makes it special. (the answer will probably be the kind of detail I am seeking).
-great community. What makes it so? Community seems to be a key feature and what I wonder is, how does that feeling develop? I doubt it was ever created with forethought and most likely developed organically and I would like to know what the factors and process were/are.
-central meeting place. That might be key. Any more ideas about this? Are there any places with a cool scene but which have multiple meeting areas or no central one?
-campfire, small area forcing people to congregate-great! Those seem very plausible.
-southern sun pub-what makes it cool? Details, please

thanks again and please keep 'em coming!

(about the practical application, stay tuned. premature to discuss it in public yet since it might not happen)

RichBeBe · · New York City, NY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

What makes a place great?
Central meeting/eating area not a campground where everyone has their own picnic table. Miguel's has it, Smith Rock has it, and Wrinkled Rock has it in a way, as the sites are all walk-in so people cook by their cars in the lot.
Varied climbing ability so it attracts all levels.
Close to the climbing (though not really at Miguel's) the other two you can walk a few hundred feet to climbs.
There are more, but this is some ideas.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

richard.....

Stoney Point, in Chatsworth, CA. Is a special place......

don't know why. The stone is pretty crumby, the place gets loaded up with trash and graffiti and none of the TR's are especially memorable .... and it gets hot as heck in the summer.

I think that it is the people who go their. A bunch of weekenders who boulder after work and stay in shape by running the long traverses, doing hard problems and climbing the TR's.

Many famous climbers have made Stoney their place to learn the ropes, guys like Robbins, Chounard, Dolt, Bachar and others called Stoney home for a few years before moving on to bigger and better things. Some like Bob Kamps and Herb Leager lived close by and were fixtures for years and years.

If someone wants to learn how to climb and how to get in on trips and adventures I can think of no better place to go to become "A Climber"

I have friends who have moved to Bishop, Oakhurst and Josh and all tell me the same thing: "I really miss the scene at Stoney- there is nothing like that here...."

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

I love that little deli at the Gunks. What's the name of it? All the climbers milling around, grabbing egg sandwiches, tuna salad, and coffee, under the shadow of the Nears as the sun peeks above the trees. And the little EMS next door...... ah..... cherish those moments!

RichBeBe · · New York City, NY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0
Russ Keane wrote:I love that little deli at the Gunks. What's the name of it? All the climbers milling around, grabbing egg sandwiches, tuna salad, and coffee, under the shadow of the Nears as the sun peeks above the trees. And the little EMS next door...... ah..... cherish those moments!
The EMS is gone and I think the new deli is also not as much of a climbers hangout. Plus with the multi-abuse and Slime being closed the scene is no longer there IMO
Michael Muir · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 50

Wrinkled Rock Climber's Campground outside of Rushmore is just like the aforementioned places. Every time I'm there I wind up meeting a totally different group of people and you can ALWAYS find a person or party to climb with when there are actually people around (not winter). I think it has a lot to do with the laid back attitude or personality of climbers in general, not so much the place. Most people go there to have fun as well, not to chase grades, which is also nice.

Cortney LeNeave · · Golden, Colorado · Joined May 2015 · Points: 5
Russ Keane wrote:I love that little deli at the Gunks. What's the name of it? All the climbers milling around, grabbing egg sandwiches, tuna salad, and coffee, under the shadow of the Nears as the sun peeks above the trees. And the little EMS next door...... ah..... cherish those moments!
Its called the mountain harbor deli, and it too is one of my favorite places.

I concur with the great memories of the early morning stop there. those mountain man sandwiches are wonderful!
Kevin DB · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 220
richard aiken wrote:I am trying to understand which elements make a destination popular and welcoming for climbers beyond just the quality of the climbing. The best ones I have seen are Miguel's at the Red, camp 4 in the Valley, Jtree, Arapiles in Australia, the climber's campground at Bohuslan in Sweden and Ailefroide in France. I cannot figure out why those seem welcoming and popular and why they have a feeling of community while other places, even with better facilities/services/access.. don't seem so welcoming and don't seem to be places to hang out after the climbing is done. Any positive thoughts, ideas, observations will be welcome. No sarcasm or nasty comments are needed. This is for a practical application.
Arapiles is probably the best place I've been to in terms of scene. Also J-Tree. The bivy is Smith Rock is another really cool place to hang out and convenient too and Squamish has a huge climbing scene in the summer. Pretty much that, Bishop, Yosemite are the west coast dirtbagging scene.
calebmmallory · · Seattle, N.Carolina, &Hong… · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 425

Stanley, Hong Kong!

Redyns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 65

the Shane Victorino YMCA in Hunting Park.

Phil Lauffen · · The Bubble · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 2,215

JoSito in Geyikbayiri.

mtndan · · Littleton, CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 5
richard aiken wrote:thanks for the replies. These are a very good start and what I was hoping to learn. It is interesting to know that there are other places, please post others known to any of you. But the key I am seeking is WHY are these places special? What makes them that way? Very good points some of you made, IMO, are: -nice people. So what draws nice people to any of these more than elsewhere? In my experience, climbers are generally positive, cheerful etc but not always welcoming or outgoing... -'special place'. I've never been there so I am curious about what makes it special. (the answer will probably be the kind of detail I am seeking). -great community. What makes it so? Community seems to be a key feature and what I wonder is, how does that feeling develop? I doubt it was ever created with forethought and most likely developed organically and I would like to know what the factors and process were/are. -central meeting place. That might be key. Any more ideas about this? Are there any places with a cool scene but which have multiple meeting areas or no central one? -campfire, small area forcing people to congregate-great! Those seem very plausible. -southern sun pub-what makes it cool? Details, please thanks again and please keep 'em coming! (about the practical application, stay tuned. premature to discuss it in public yet since it might not happen)
My two cents:

Nice people - I would say places where owners who are welcoming to climbers but relatively hands off are welcoming to climbers. Climbers enjoy freedom and are generally self-regulating. Places that have nice amenities also come with restrictions.

Great community - The best climbing scenes have climbers only, or nearly climbers only. Climbing is still relatively niche and the specialized jargon makes it nearly impossible to talk to non-climbers about our sport. Places that attract only climbers give everyone some sort of way to break the ice since you can always talk about climbing with anyone there. The best of the best communities are near climbing areas that attract regional, national, and international climbers, allowing the views of different regions to come out.

From a practical standpoint, I would add that the best and most communal places I've been such as Miguel's, The Pines, and Hangdog all have no designated campsites, allowing groups to naturally form and allowing people to roam freely about without feeling like they are encroaching on someone's space. Camp 4 has designated campsites, but it can get so crowded that people/individual campers mix just to get a site/bear box.
Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

Noone mentioned Seneca yet?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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