Climbing Trip: Alabama Hills and Owens River Gorge


Original Post
Daniel Melnyk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Trying to plan a week long trip mid March with some friends. We still haven't decided but we're down to either Red Rocks or Alabama Hills and Owens River Gorge.

We're mostly gonna be doing sport routes so that's why we're thinking no to RR but we're never climbed Alabama Hills or ORG.

Anyone climbed at those areas and have an opinion?

We'll be climbing up to 11c/d-ish range.

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

RR. You will have the gate to deal with, longer approaches for some classics, camping is a bit of a pain. Might/prob be better weather, just don't go during the RR rendezvous! 24-27?
ORG. There is high water release, as mentioned in another thread here. Might be cold. The hills in March can be great, or cold and windy. Good camping in both.
You are going to have more to choose in sport in ORG/AH. I think, if faulty memory serves.
Or then, you could do both? Travel on rest day?

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 546

Alabama Hills - They are fun, the scenery is nice, almost exclusively bolted climbs. The downsides are less than great rock quality (like crumbly card board), and the climbing is mostly easy - there is not in the 5.10+ and above range.

ORG - As the previous poster mentioned, there is a huge water release at ORG, until that happens no one really knows what it is going to be like in there. I have also not seen anyone really discuss for how long that water release is going to last.
ORG is crowded, but the climbing is super fun, and there is lots in the 5.10+ - 5.11 - 5. harder range.

RR-- It does have a fair amount of sport climbing, but man-o-man is it ever crowded. Be there really early in the morning if you want to get on anything with more than 1 star
RR has amazingly fun long moderate trad routes.
Did I say its crowded?

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,415

Check the camping first. Too cold/hot, $, availability, etc. Back in the day all you needed to know was the weather.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Daniel Melnyk wrote:Trying to plan a week long trip mid March with some friends. We still haven't decided but we're down to either Red Rocks or Alabama Hills and Owens River Gorge. We're mostly gonna be doing sport routes so that's why we're thinking no to RR but we're never climbed Alabama Hills or ORG. Anyone climbed at those areas and have an opinion? We'll be climbing up to 11c/d-ish range.
Kind of already been said, but Alabama Hills is choss that isn't worth climbing. The scenery is beautiful, but it is absolutely not a climbing destination.

Owen's River Gorge is fun sport climbing, but who knows how it will be with all the water. Also, the ORG is almost all vertical technical routes, and I find the rock to chew through skin fairly quickly.

In my opinion, the sport climbing in Red Rocks is much, much better than the ORG. There is so much more diversity in styles and types of climbing at Red rocks, plus, the rock is more skin friendly so you can climb more routes.

If it were me, I'd make Red Rock my destination, then mix in some of the other limestone sport areas around Vegas for additional variety (all of which are better than the ORG as well).
phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 230

There is a ton of excellent climbing in that range in both RR and ORG. But with the ORG water releases, even if you could still access the stuff on the west side, who knows if they might put a mandatory closure in place?

Plus, the temps will probably be better in RR.

"You will have the gate to deal with, longer approaches for some classics"

Most of the sport climbing is at the first three pullouts and the approaches are minimal. 15' at the most.

And then there is also a bunch of stuff at Calico Basin/Kraft Mtn which does not require entry on the loop road.

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 230

Just want to add:

"RR-- It does have a fair amount of sport climbing, but man-o-man is it ever crowded. Be there really early in the morning if you want to get on anything with more than 1 star "

True of moderate crack routes but has not been my expereince on sport routes. As far as sport climbing goes, I think that's mostly true of the easy sport places, like Panty Wall etc. And in windy cold weather, the protected places like Black Corridor are a complete zoo. But in good weather conditions, there is SO MUCH really nice stuff in the mid to high 11 range, I just can't see that it would be a problem.

The problem is getting a parking place as the first three pullouts if you get in too late.

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

A-hills --- and if ORG is not closed due to water flows ... its only one hour drive away...the ORG has tons of climbs in the range your looking for.

The camping is MUCH better than RR .... which blows chunks, unless you know the super super secret spots, and there is the dam gate, one way loop madness and the LVPD...

have fun...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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