Best towns to live in for climbing and mountaineering?


Original Post
Mike Kubes · · Duluth MN · Joined May 2014 · Points: 103

MP community, I know this comes up every so often on here but I’m looking for your opinions.

What are some best areas to live for climbing and mountaineering and why?

My girlfriend and I are looking at moving from Duluth, MN to somewhere closer to the mountains. We have been looking at the Pacific Northwest. Bellingham, W.A. is on my radar but I’m looking for your thoughts and opinions. We’re looking for a smaller town less than 100k and still offers big city amities: college, arts scene, breweries etc. But also offers access to other outdoor recreation such as whitewater kayaking, backcountry skiing and Ice climbing without the big city B.S. like traffic and overcrowding. Cost of living is a big consideration for us. I work as a paramedic and she works in environmental science, finding decent jobs in the area would also be a plus!

Thanks!

Ian Machen · · Reno, NV · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 35

I'll throw in a vote for Reno.

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

Cleveland, OH

erik wellborn · · manitou springs · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 355

A lot of people mention a place called "Boulder". Or, as the locals prefer," Boul-daire!" Personally, I thought Duluth seemed like pretty cool place on my visits

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

Your list of needs/wants is pretty unrealistic. Something's gonna have to be given up. The moment you start talking about job markets, boom- people, cars, hustle, bustle. As for ice climbing, this exists in out of the way places, small towns and alpine locations -- ie. no jobs.

My best suggestion is Burlington, VT

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Russ Keane wrote:Your list of needs/wants is pretty unrealistic. Something's gonna have to be given up. The moment you start talking about job markets, boom- people, cars, hustle, bustle. As for ice climbing, this exists in out of the way places, small towns and alpine locations -- ie. no jobs. My best suggestion is Burlington, VT
Shhh, don't tell anyone, but Provo/Orem, UT has a lot of ice climbing really close to town and the population density is not too bad. However, white water and breweries are all but non-existent here.

Ogden, UT has ice, breweries, white water park, backcountry skiing and decent jobs.
Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

Yeah, and to be fair his list didn't include "diversity" -- lol just teasing

Joe Manlove · · Sonora, CA · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 108

Duluth was pretty sweet (I was a student at St. Scholastica).

Bozeman MT is extremely cool, but the cost of living is a bit nuts. Sonora CA where I am now is the most underrated climbing town I've ever been to. There's world class bouldering on the campus of the local community college, several stellar local sport crags (Jailhouse and Table Mountain). The local trad crag is a bit more well known (Yosemite). There's also endless rock up highway 108.

I hear some of the whitewater runs are incredible. There's a bit of skiing, even in the drought. The mountain biking is is also pretty good. Costs are super low for California (comparable to Duluth). The art scene is pretty vibrant and the downtown is sweet.

Matthias Holladay · · Durango, Colorado · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 5,330

Fairhaven:
Climbing just down the road- mountainproject.com/v/julia...
Glaciated wonders of the Cascades
Close to bigger cities, with lots of jobs
But imminent destruction, sooner or later, from Cascadia subduction zone...

C devries · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 40

North Conway NH has it all. I'm thankful every day I wake up, that this is where I live

ryanb · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 0

I'm from western WA originally. My wife and I looked at moving to the Bellingham area for a job but we ended up in Hamilton, MT near Missoula.

Bellingham is 1-3 hours from a lot of amazing things (Mt Baker, Washington Pass, Squamish, Index, Equinox, Newhalem, Darrington, Olympic Mountains) but isn't *really* close to as much (larabee is great but limited, Mount Eerie and equinox aren't that close). The North Cascades Highway is closed much of the year and you will deal with awful traffic getting anywhere on a summer weekend ( highway 2, going through seattle, crossing a border or waiting for a ferry).

I do miss being striking distance from the cascade volcanoes. It's hard to beat seeing a one day weather window and spending a day up at Paradise (on Mount Rainier) or skiing Mount Saint Helens. Index is also the best crag in the Universe.

If I were you I'd look at the Inland northwest too. I'd consider Wenatchee/Leavenworth, Spokane, Boise Missoula/Hamilton, Bozeman, Kalispell/Whitefish.

Choose somewhere that has the activities you want to do within a few minutes ... weather it's a trail system that lets you stay super fit running or biking or boulders and sport crags that let you train year round or a ski area that lets you do fitness dawn patrols on skis a few days a week.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

Bishop, CA
everything except the college.
Bend,OR?

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

Chico, ca.

drat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Tucson AZ. Mt Lemmon has great climbing with over 1000 routes. Cochise stronghold an hour south. White water on the Salt river 2 hours north. Fine alpine and ice near Flagg. I think the area is pretty tough to beat for what you're looking for. Within a few hours drive you can do literally anything you are looking for. Plus I can always use a belay so I want more climbers in the area.

Mike Kubes · · Duluth MN · Joined May 2014 · Points: 103

Thanks guys for all the comments. I know I'm kinda looking for it all.

Sandbagger Vance · · Cincinnati, Ohio · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Gunnison Colorado. Small town, local rafting on the gunny, boldering on hartman rocks, not to far from skiing in crested butte, local college. No breweries, or actual climbing gyms.

Doug18 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 0
BigB wrote:Bishop, CA everything except the college. Bend,OR?
I would agree with Big B
Bishop Ca
As far as climbing enough to keep you busy a lifetime plus. If you are serious I would give Bishop a serious once over.
Kevinmurray · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

Actually there is a brewery in Gunnison. Opened a year ago.

RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 65

Why has no one said Chamonix yet?

Mike Kubes · · Duluth MN · Joined May 2014 · Points: 103

Anyone spend some time in Idaho? Thoughts? Seams to have some decent climbing but I've never been there...

Mike Fox 1 · · Greenwood, ME · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Definitely seconding North Conway, NH.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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