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Moving to corvallis

Original Post
leo qiu · · Davis, CA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 38


My wife is considering moving to Corvallis from Sacramento area for PhD. I'd like to know what could we do for outdoor activity in the area?

In Sacramento area, we drive to Bishop and Yosemite in the winter for climbing, and skiing in Tahoe. Summer time, we go to Tahoe and Yosemite for climbing, and hiking in the high sierras. We about spent 90% of our weekend outside.

When I look at Corvallis, I really do not see much besides Smith Rock which is not even very close, and it sounds like it is always very busy. I do not know much mountaineering, but I dont mind learning it. Is mountaineering something we could get into near Corvallis? Or is there something else I am missing?

What are all the outdoor activities near Corvallis?

Thanks a lot!

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,145

For a short stint, Corvallis is not a bad place - I did my undergrad there BITD. While one does have to drive there is good stuff around besides Smith like Trout Creek or to the north places like Ozone. As for mtneering there is lots in the Cascades all within couple hours of driving. We did a bunch of trips to WA as well.

Other activities are good mtn biking and boatings. Also the Oregon coast is good fun.

diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

I've never lived in Corvallis, but I live in the Portland area. Corvallis is nice, small town feel so if that appeals to you it could be nice. On the other hand there is nothing in the area that is even close to competing with any of the venues familiar to you, except perhaps Smith Rock. There is some good summer hiking in the central cascades, the best of which may be similar to the High Sierra?. For skiing you'll be looking at Bachelor or the Mt Hood resorts. All 3 hours away. Alpine climbing (summer) in the central cascades is pretty much limited to scrambles and 5.low choss. If you get into mountaineering it could expand your options in the late spring and early summer months.

leo qiu · · Davis, CA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 38

Hi Thanks for the feedback!

rockhard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 55

I lived in corvallis for grad school. There is a lot of adventure climbing on that side of the cascades. A few spots that I really enjoyed: Menagerie, Wolf rock, and Moolack. The kayaking around corvallis is really good..I remember butte creek and thomas creek being very fun.

Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,979

There is a newer cliff (the Garden Cliff) that has recently been developed about 30-40 min from Corvallis, in Sweet Home, and features pretty good climbing, albeit mostly exclusively consisting of shorter powerful climbing (40'-60', 5.10-5.12). The Garden Boulders are right next to it as well, and are fun and powerful Boulders. That spot will probably be the best climbing within 2 hours, as anything else less than 2 hrs drive is mostly easy or not great quality. (Both of those areas, as well as anything else close by is on MP in the OR section -…).
Smith is only 2.5 hours away though which is nice. Wolf Rock is pretty rad, and about 2 hours away.
Lots of hiking and mountain biking around Corvallis/Eugene as well. I was in the area for 2 years, and didn't mind it. You'll have to expect to drive about 1.5-2 hours tho to get to a lot of places tho.

mtc · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 15

Oregon in the summer is pretty nice, especially if you enjoy hanging out on rivers and reservoirs. You'll want to drive a couple hours from Corvallis to find a nice river to hang out on. There's also fun things to do right in your own backyard, like plant a garden and grill food and drink local microbrewed beer, which Oregonians are very proud of. If you like to camp, there's lots of state park campgrounds around the state that take reservations 12 months in advance. If you get lucky you'll reserve a site sometime next fall!

If you like to look at trees, Weyerhaeuser has you covered: for only $350/year, you can get a permit to walk or climb rocks on some of the millions of acres of monoculture conifer plantations they own. Indeed, you'll need to buy that permit next year (sorry, they're sold out this year) if you want to climb on the nicer formations in Western Oregon. Luckily, there aren't any nice places to climb within a couple hours of Corvallis so you don't need to sweat it.

But if you like people, LOTS of people at a crag, Smith Rocks State Park is your place. Besides being the only decent place to climb within three hours of Corvallis, it's a very festive atmosphere during the three months of not-freezing and not-sweltering temps each year. You're never more than a few feet away from another group of climbers, so wear your mullet wig and crack a PBR while queueing up for your next climb!

Richard Dana · · Eugene, OR · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 280

@mtc Wow, someone is bitter! No good places to climb within a few hours of Corvallis? LOL

Western Oregon has a plethora of local climbing within the 1 to 2 hours range of varying quality. Standouts are Flagstone, Wolf Rock, the Menagerie, the Garden and Moolack, all within an hour or two of Corvallis, and none of which have crowds. Moolack is Oregon's best kept secret and has the best crack climbing in the state (yes, I've been to Trout..). Shhh.

From what I hear the whitewater and mtn biking are world class. I've got little experience there, however.

Where Oregon shines is ski mountaineering. The ski season here lasts about 9 months, and the spring/summer skiing on our enormous, generally moderate volcanoes can't be beat. Nothing like skiing a 7000' run straight back to your car on a bluebird June day!

JaWiB · · Eugene, OR · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 0

Tell her to go to UO instead ;) Mostly joking, since I just finished my PhD here in Eugene. Corvallis is a bit closer to Hood, Adams, and St. Helens for mountaineering/skiing destinations, but IMO Hood is way too crowded, as are all the small crags near Portland. Corvallis should still give you similar access to the places that Eugene climbers go to. I've spent plenty of weekends at Smith or in the Three Sisters area hiking, climbing, and skiing.

leo qiu · · Davis, CA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 38

Thanks so much guys, this helps a lot. I have been very close minded about the move because climbing in California just sounds so much better. But this opens my mind a lot, and I hope I will quickly adapt to new things if we do decide to move.

Michael Swanson · · Oregon · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0

I guess I'll chime in too...
There are plenty of places to climb within the 3 hour drive from Corvallis, although being in western Oregon winter shuts most of those places down. No way it can compete with the climbing and skiing access of the Sierras, but will you get shut down? No way. Hoodoo is only 2 hours up the road for your closest ski hill, and Hood, Bachelor and Willamette Pass are all 3 hours or less away, not to mention all the BC and XC you have within a 2 hour's drive. As far as climbing goes, Smith is really the only reliable winter crag, but in the summer you have a plethora of other options in western Oregon, and summer is an awesome time to be up in the woods rather than the desert anyways.
There's tons of great hiking in the Cascades and coast range, great local mt biking and kayaking/rafting, and you are only an hour from the beach.
If you like spending most of your time outdoors, you won't get bored in Corvegas. Just buy a rain jacket.

Ryan Dirks · · Washington, DC · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 5
But if you like people, LOTS of people at a crag, Smith Rocks State Park is your place. Besides being the only decent place to climb within three hours of Corvallis, it's a very festive atmosphere during the three months of not-freezing and not-sweltering temps each year.

I feel the need to defend Smith a little. Sure, there are always crowds at morning glory / the dihedrals, but there are plenty of more secluded options if you don't mind walking a little further. Out of more than a dozen trips to Smith over the last year I think there have only been a few days where it was busy enough that it wasn't easy to find routes - and that was in the dihedrals. If you can go on weekdays you shouldn't have much trouble finding great routes. The bivy is another story - during peak season it is hard to get a spot on weekends unless you get there mid-day Friday (apparently there is an overflow area behind Skull Hollow campground, but I haven't had to use this yet). As for weather, I think I've climbed at Smith just about every month of the year. In the summer, climb early, and find the shade.

I'll second Moolack for great crack climbing - which would be a great option when Smith is too hot and crowded. And Willamette Pass has great skiing at a pretty good price, as long as it isn't raining.
leo qiu · · Davis, CA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 38

haha! Thanks again!!

I know I can trust the MountainProject community to answer any questions!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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