Questions about moving to Boise


Original Post
TommyWiggins · Dec 4, 2016 · Nanuet, NY · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 50
Hey all,

I am a NYC Earth Science high school teacher. I've been teaching and climbing for the last fifteen years. After the birth of our second child, my wife and I realized that the cost of living here is too high. We've considered Boise. Here are some questions that I have. Any feedback would be appreciated:

1. Where do we live? We are looking for a three to four bedroom, probably renting initially. Ideally, we would like to be able to walk to places. Is that a possibility? Also, we'd like to be near a good school district. Our oldest will be four in March. Also, if possible, I'd like to be near local climbing.

2. Where do I work? Anyone have any info about teaching out there? My application for certification is pending, but I am a certified in NYC to teach Earth Science as well as Biology, and I have fifteen years of experience. I'd love to work at a place that was keen on getting the youth outdoors. If you know of a particular place that I should apply, I'd appreciate the heads-up.

3. Moving logistics? We have two cars and a bunch of stuff. Not sure if we hire movers, or sell most of what we have and start over? If anyone has moved a family across the country and has suggestions...

3. Local Climbing? I've been checking out the Black Cliffs and it seems pretty decent. How likely is it that I could get out climbing after work? Do many of you do that? Are there other areas that I should know about? What about hiking and other outdoor stuff?

How about climbing through the winter? I've climbed in the Gunks in January before; it' doable, but cold...plus it was over an hour drive. From what I've read, the Black Cliffs should be a possibility. I plan to visit the week of February 20th and would love to try and get out if anyone is interested in playing tour guide. I lead 5.10.

4. Climbing gym? Is there a good one? I'd like to get to know the climbing community in Boise. I think the gym would be a good place to start.

5. City of Rock and the Sawtooths: I've been to City of Rock once, but, due to an injury, I didn't actually climb there. I plan to fix that. How doable is this from Boise as a weekend trip?

I've hiked in the Sawtooths, but would like to climb there as well.

6. Farther climbing destinations: Using Google maps, I found that Boise is within driving distance of some other stellar areas. I'm curious how often local climbers go further. I plan on taking road trips to Smith Rock and Trout, the Tetons, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Squamish, the Bugaboos, the Wasatch...lots of places. If you've done these trips, I'd love to hear about it. If you are interested in doing these in the future, I'd also like to know.

I know that's a ton of questions. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Also, we are taking a trip out to Boise February 18th-25th. We'd love to meet people and talk some more about the city, perhaps climb some. Let me know if you are interested/available.

Thanks,

Sean

CThornton · Dec 4, 2016 · Boise · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 48
1. Stay out of the Meridian area and other suburbs. The North End region of Boise is awesome; good access to the Black Cliffs, hiking and biking in the foothills right outside your door, great bike access to downtown, etc. The bench region and East end are also nice. In general, the closer you live to downtown Boise, the higher the quality of living. I grew up here and have no major complaints about the Boise School District, for what it's worth.

2. Can't help with that one.

3.The Black Cliffs are a pretty decent crag. Lots and lots of climbs from 5.8-5.11, but many of them are boring similar. There are some great gems there though. If you climb trad, there are countless worthwhile lines here. Getting out after work is totally doable, in summer it's too hot to climb during midday anyway. Table Rock is another local climbing area with primarily bouldering and a few stout TR lines. It's sometimes possible to climb in the winter on a clear, sunny day. It's usually better to just plan on skiing at Bogus during the winter.

4. Asana is opening a new bouldering gym in the next few weeks. From the few pics I've seen, it looks pretty sweet.

5. City of Rocks is the best weekend climbing trip from Boise. Plan on spending lots of time there, it's a wonderful place. The Sawtooths are also a great weekend trip. The Elephant's Perch, The Finger of Fate, and Baron Spire contain some noteworthy (and truly excellent) climbs.

6. Check out The Fins for 5.11 and up sport climbing on vertical limestone; really great rock quality and only 4 hrs away. Dierkes Lake in Twin Falls is also a good day trip for bouldering and steep, overhung sport climbing on basalt. Swan Falls is another local bouldering area about 1 hr from Boise I've also heard great things about massacre rock, but have always just gone to the City of Rocks instead. Smith Rock is a great trip from Boise, I'd guess 5-6 hrs. Squamish is pretty far honesty (but worth it!). The wasatch is reasonably close, 6 hrs maybe? Indian creek is about 10 hrs. Road trip potential from Boise is limitless, but you have to be willing to drive a little extra.

Old lady H · Dec 4, 2016 · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 40
@cthornton, I think you'd enjoy Massacre. Like Bingham has said in the comments, loads of sport in close proximity. Chris and I went over to check it out, although we didn't climb. Sorta same rock as black cliffs, but much more jumbled and less straight lines. TR on Idaho Outdoors forum, with some photos.

OP, first, Idaho is a great place to live, but a hard place to make a living. Just know that up front.

Number two. Boise is the most remote city in the lower 48. It's a long drive to anywhere else of any size, and you have to get through mountain pass weather in the winter to get there. A really long day drive will get you to significant places in five or six states, but 2 or three hours just nets more sagebrush, mountains, or farmland.

Everything Thornton said. You could live anywhere in town, and black cliffs isn't much of a trip. You'll just want to check the neighborhood's out, see what you like.

Moving, no clue.

Walking, well, neighborhoods, yes, school, if it's neighborhood. Groceries, again, if you work it that way. We have a lot of parks, but again, play your cards right to walk there. Okay bike town, if you're on your toes. Like much of the west, though, Boise is car centered, and hasn't yet caught up with other cities. We have a bus system. Sorta. Whoopee. That said, I'm a bike/bus commuter, don't have a car. You can be within ten miles of pretty much any of the stuff people want most of the time, and can minimize your driving, but no car at all is a real burden.

Teaching, I don't know how that works for teachers, but there should be a teacher forum somewhere out there discussing how to's for different areas. Boise also has a Catholic school system, and quite a few private schools. Some, pretty elite, so?...

Don't know if there was an offer to show you around, above, but yes, totally. Loads of good people here. Do you know some folks here, or just pull us out at random? Just curious!

Gyms, as above, plus Urban Ascent, which is another commercial gym, a small climbing gym at Boise State U., and, with a four year old, both YMCA's have climbing walls. The downtown one is super kid friendly, probably the other one too.

As for everything else fun to do outdoors? Well, we try not to discuss that in public. Let's just say it is not at all unusual to see a fisherman in waders, with a nice shirt and tie, trying to snag a steelie on his lunch hour. Downtown.

Best, Helen

Feel free to pm!

FrankPS · Dec 4, 2016 · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
TommyWiggins wrote:Hey all, I am a NYC Earth Science high school teacher. I've been teaching and climbing for the last fifteen years. After the birth of our second child, my wife and I realized that the cost of living here is too high. We've considered Boise. Here are some questions that I have. Any feedback would be appreciated: 1. Where do we live? We are looking for a three to four bedroom, probably renting initially. Ideally, we would like to be able to walk to places. Is that a possibility? Also, we'd like to be near a good school district. Our oldest will be four in March. Also, if possible, I'd like to be near local climbing. 2. Where do I work? Anyone have any info about teaching out there? My application for certification is pending, but I am a certified in NYC to teach Earth Science as well as Biology, and I have fifteen years of experience. I'd love to work at a place that was keen on getting the youth outdoors. If you know of a particular place that I should apply, I'd appreciate the heads-up. 3. Moving logistics? We have two cars and a bunch of stuff. Not sure if we hire movers, or sell most of what we have and start over? If anyone has moved a family across the country and has suggestions... 3. Local Climbing? I've been checking out the Black Cliffs and it seems pretty decent. How likely is it that I could get out climbing after work? Do many of you do that? Are there other areas that I should know about? What about hiking and other outdoor stuff? How about climbing through the winter? I've climbed in the Gunks in January before; it' doable, but cold...plus it was over an hour drive. From what I've read, the Black Cliffs should be a possibility. I plan to visit the week of February 20th and would love to try and get out if anyone is interested in playing tour guide. I lead 5.10. 4. Climbing gym? Is there a good one? I'd like to get to know the climbing community in Boise. I think the gym would be a good place to start. 5. City of Rock and the Sawtooths: I've been to City of Rock once, but, due to an injury, I didn't actually climb there. I plan to fix that. How doable is this from Boise as a weekend trip? I've hiked in the Sawtooths, but would like to climb there as well. 6. Farther climbing destinations: Using Google maps, I found that Boise is within driving distance of some other stellar areas. I'm curious how often local climbers go further. I plan on taking road trips to Smith Rock and Trout, the Tetons, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Squamish, the Bugaboos, the Wasatch...lots of places. If you've done these trips, I'd love to hear about it. If you are interested in doing these in the future, I'd also like to know. I know that's a ton of questions. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Also, we are taking a trip out to Boise February 18th-25th. We'd love to meet people and talk some more about the city, perhaps climb some. Let me know if you are interested/available. Thanks, Sean
You have two, number 3's above. I can't give you a passing grade. Sorry.

TommyWiggins · Dec 4, 2016 · Nanuet, NY · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 50
CThornton and Helen,

Thank you for the thoughtful responses! Much of what you said solidifies some of the thoughts I was already having.

It seems like we definitely will want to be in the city, and not the surrounding suburbs...and it seems like I might want to invest in a bike.

Regarding climbing, I'm pretty psyched on the local basalt, the City, and the Sawtooths. Those other areas sound good, too. I'm also no stranger to the long haul, and would be willing to drive to other areas farther off.

I think I'll probably check out the gym scene as well...couldn't hurt.

Helen, in response to your question, my wife's best friend lives out in Boise with her family. She's been there about a year and loves it. And, yes, I would be grateful if you could show us around a bit. I'll contact you when I have more details together.

Cheers,

Sean

Prametheus · Dec 4, 2016 · Jackson, WY · Joined May 2013 · Points: 35
Where is the best place to ski near Boise? Anything other than Sun Valley and the Sawtooths?

Mike Wrench · Dec 4, 2016 · Nampa ID · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 0
Bogus basin, Tamarack and Brundage are some ski options. My wife is a teacher here so get ready to take a pay cut. I moved here four years ago and got everything inside the biggest Penske truck. I had a lot of stuff also. It was the best option I found other than paying movers and a moving truck. Black cliffs are nice and has some fun stuff. Also close enough to get some climbs in after work. The city is the place.

TommyWiggins · Dec 5, 2016 · Nanuet, NY · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 50
Yes, Mike, I am expecting a pay cut. That will be offset by decreases in day care, commuting, and just about every other expense.

We have movers coming to give an estimate in the near future, but I fear it will be expensive. We'll see.

Doug Colwell · Dec 5, 2016 · Boise, ID · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 5
I'm from grand view on Hudson and have been in Boise 28 years. It's a great little city with lots of stuff to do. It has the benefits of a larger city yet one can be hiking / climbing in the wilderness within a few hours from town. I've climbed 2 routes on the perch in a day, hiked out and still had time to mow lawn.

Mike Wrench · Dec 5, 2016 · Nampa ID · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 0
Tommy when you come in February contact me and I'll show you around if you like. Mike 208-550-5979

Petsfed · Dec 5, 2016 · Laramie, WY · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 872
Boise is easily the best city I've lived in, with overall a really pleasant atmosphere. I would definitely move back for the right opportunity.

That said, the summers are brutal for a climber, so I'd definitely plan to take up something involving whitewater. Fortunately, Idaho whitewater is world class, and the community is large, active, and supportive.

I was not that stoked on Black cliffs, but I really despise basalt, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. As an after work crag, you could do a lot worse, although you may have to fight your way out of the city to get there. Still, Boise sits maybe 60 miles east of the time zone boundary, so the sun sets quite late year round. In other words, you probably have an extra hour of daylight vs. the Gunks. The foothills provide hiking and mountain biking, and there's more climbing up by the ski area if the summer heat chases you out of the valley although it's not as good even as the Black Cliffs. The only concern for winter climbing in Boise is the inversion. It may be 15 degrees and foggy down in the valley where the climbing is, but dry, clear, and 50 degrees up at the ski area. Typically it's not a major problem, and sunny winter days at the black cliffs are quite pleasant.

City of rocks and castle rocks are absolutely worth the drive. There is, unfortunately, less good rock in the sawtooths than you might hope for, and that's true of the entire Idaho batholith. Still, there's a lot of good rock if you're willing to walk and drive pretty far in the boonies.

Both Asana and Urban Ascent are good gyms, but they illustrate a bizarre Idaho fact: the climbing community is really small. They rarely felt crowded, which is surprising considering how large and isolated Boise is.

The housing market is, for now, pretty inexpensive, even near the university.

Petsfed · Dec 5, 2016 · Laramie, WY · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 872
Also, if you go, it's pronounced "Boy-See". No z.

TommyWiggins · Dec 6, 2016 · Nanuet, NY · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 50
Doug, your comment fills me with great joy...except for the lawn part.

Thanks, Mike. I will definitely do that.

Petsfed, as a teacher, I usually have the luxury of traveling during the summer so I am hoping to avoid this brutal weather of which you speak.

That is pretty bizarre about the gyms; I guess that means it will be easier to meet people.

Also, thanks for the heads up on pronunciation; I was definitely doing the z thing!

Morgan Patterson · Dec 6, 2016 · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,332
Petsfed wrote:Also, if you go, it's pronounced "Boy-See". No z.
like misura...

climberboy · Dec 6, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0
My wife and I moved from Indiana to Ogden, UT in February this year. We're totally loving the West and access to climbing. I thankfully got a job before moving and they paid for the moving truck and shipping one of our cars. If they wouldn't have covered it, I would definitely have done the moving ourselves. Hiring someone is pretty darn expensive. If you do it yourself, you'll have to load a truck, tow your car behind that truck, and then have your wife drive her car. Doable, but makes the long drive kind of lonely.

Ogden is about 2 hrs south of City of Rocks and I've been up there a couple times for day trips. It's a fantastic place and worth every bit of the drive. Once climbing season comes back around, let me know if you need someone to meet up with. My wife and I both climb so we could make a trip up there.

Dave Bn · Dec 6, 2016 · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 0
Petsfed wrote:That said, the summers are brutal for a climber, so I'd definitely plan to take up something involving whitewater.
Curious about how brutal the summers really are there. I keep hearing their hot, but looking at climate data I don't see them as much warmer than we get here in the Front Range of CO, i.e. commonly mid-90's occasional 100's.

Moving to Boise in 3 weeks, pretty excited about it, actually. The small climbing community sounds like a god-send after spending the last 7 years in the FRange, eh-hem, shit-show.

Old lady H · Dec 6, 2016 · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 40
Petsfed wrote:Also, if you go, it's pronounced "Boy-See". No z.
Sayz who? That's actually more interesting than you think. The "s" is more city, the "z", is all I used to, and still mostly, hear. I am not native, but I am a small town eastern Oregon girl, and rural is still a big part of a lot of us.

If you have a sharp ear, parts of idaho almost have southern accents, dropping syllables and replacing certain sounds.

So. From me, you'll hear not boy zee, nor boy see, but, like many, BOYze. Barely two syllables!

OP, more info: you need to know that the housing market is very, very tight here, less than 3% vacancy(?). Be prepared to jump instantly.

I was laughing at the "brutal" summers and horrible commuter traffic to the crag. Sorry, whoever said that, I'm sure it was true for you, but compared to real traffic and real heat?

Anyway, look forward to meeting you sometime.

Best, Helen

Old lady H · Dec 6, 2016 · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 40
Look, it's wonderful here.

But please don't tell, okay?

Anyone wants an old lady with horrible climbing abilities to give them very decent belaying, hit me up. You have to do the driving, but I'll belay slave till the cows come home. Good up to around 150-160 for a lead climber outdoors, good for more weight than that, but it would take some trad skills on your part. Gym, 230ish, is the heaviest so far!

Mr. Thornton is an awesome good climber, and good guy, although he is known for devious route setting at the gym we share.

And yes, the community is small, and awesome. But that's the default setting here.

Helen

Old lady H · Dec 6, 2016 · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 40
Dave Bn wrote: Curious about how brutal the summers really are there. I keep hearing their hot, but looking at climate data I don't see them as much warmer than we get here in the Front Range of CO, i.e. commonly mid-90's occasional 100's. Moving to Boise in 3 weeks, pretty excited about it, actually. The small climbing community sounds like a god-send after spending the last 7 years in the FRange, eh-hem, shit-show.
Dave, hottest it gets here is hundred plus, maybe 105 or something, but not for long stretches. The huge saving grace is altitude. Not as high as CO, but it cools down most nights, and somewhere toward mid to late August, the days are shorter, and that becomes much more noticeable. Remember, zip for humidity, too.

Any of you, feel free to pm, if you want more conversation.

Helen

Petsfed · Dec 7, 2016 · Laramie, WY · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 872
Dave Bn wrote: Curious about how brutal the summers really are there. I keep hearing their hot, but looking at climate data I don't see them as much warmer than we get here in the Front Range of CO, i.e. commonly mid-90's occasional 100's. Moving to Boise in 3 weeks, pretty excited about it, actually. The small climbing community sounds like a god-send after spending the last 7 years in the FRange, eh-hem, shit-show.
Because the Black cliffs are, well, black, and mostly south facing, you either wait for cool days (e.g. sub 80s) or chase shade, which might not be practical depending on your desired range and route. Starting in mid may, I was finding that I had to be on the rock by 7am, and off by 9 or 10, if I had any hope of doing anything but melt. Also, since a lot of the lines involve stems off tenuous smears, hot can mean impossible.

Definitely, coming from a 7200-foot, never-hits-100, paradigm, it can seem unsustainable, but it's just a question of personal limits. There are still about 300 other days a year where you can go climbing.

As for traffic, I lived right next to the university for about 2 years, and it would take me 20 minutes outside of rush hour, and 45 minutes during, to get to the crag. If I was coming from the north end or west side, it could be worse. For an after-work crag, 45 minutes is excessive. I had a friend take an hour to get from Garden City. But again, that's my opinion.

None of these are deal brealers, but they are issues to be aware of.

Old lady H · Dec 24, 2016 · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 40
Dave Bn wrote: Curious about how brutal the summers really are there. I keep hearing their hot, but looking at climate data I don't see them as much warmer than we get here in the Front Range of CO, i.e. commonly mid-90's occasional 100's. Moving to Boise in 3 weeks, pretty excited about it, actually. The small climbing community sounds like a god-send after spending the last 7 years in the FRange, eh-hem, shit-show.
Hey, when you get here, there's a meetup group of trail hikers turned gym climbers for the winter, at Urban Ascent (commercial gym), that gets you in with a little group of mixed abilities, although my impression is mostly indoors climbers.

BSU is back in session in January, and their climbing gym is a nice group of people. You don't have to be a student to use it, you can come in on a day pass, which is for the entire rec center, not just climbing.

To those who are interested, we are having a full blown winter this year, which is good, because that is our water for the year.

We've had colder than usual temps (single digit and low double for lows, highs teens, low 20's) for a couple weeks now.

Icy and snowy, about 8-10" in town right now, which is nothing to many of you, but quite unusual for here.

Minimal amount of plowing, none on side streets, sidewalk shoveling is pretty hit and miss too, so when it does get snowy/icy, it's here for a long, long time.

We also had freezing rain, just before this, so the back country guys are already talking about avy awareness. Looks to be a super year for those who like to play in the cold!

No outside rock climbing for this old lady, though. Too much snow, not enough sun. January is typically too cold, also, even if December was warmer.

February is a total wild card, but we often have about a five day stretch of t-shirt weather! So, outdoor climbing is a very definite... maybe. Lol!

OP, when you start looking at neighborhoods here, with rug rats, be aware that this is farm land here. All of southern Idaho, including all of Boise, is laced with irrigation canals. With little kids, you'll want a good fence. If you are looking to buy, irrigation rights are a real plus for a property. Saves a ton of money in the summer.

Best, Helen

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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