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What's your favorite North American winter rock climbing destination?

Original Post
Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Looking into trips for next winter, mid December- mid February. What's your favorite winter rock climbing destination in North America? I'm hoping to maximize fun!

I trad climb 5.10, sport climb 5.11, boulder V4-5. I was thinking rock climbing trip, but I'm open to ice as well. Currently leaning towards El Portrero Chico or Hueco.


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

I actually started building a website for these types of questions since I was once in your position before! I to filter through world class climbing destinations based on how hard you climb, what type of climbing you're into, what time of year you want to go, part of the world you're interested in, etc...

If you put in your airport you can even get an idea of how much it'll cost to fly to these places! (disclaimer: I only pull the next 60 days of flight costs since it's hard to get flight cost data for more than 60 days from skyscanner).

Anyways, once you find a couple places you're interested in, you can come to a site like and do some specific research(IE. what routes to do).

Let me know what you think, and if you feel like any locations are missing feel free to add them to the site via the "Submit a new location" link up top or feel free to edit any of the locations wikipedia style!

As for my own personal recommendation... I would suggest the very popular winter triangle of bishop, red rock, and Joshua Tree. They're all within a couple hours of each other. If you're into Bouldering, Bishop offers some of the best in the world(check out owens river gorge 20 minutes away for some awesome long sport climbing). Red Rock will offer you some pretty sweet long trad routes, as well as short sport climbing and bouldering. J tree will have lots of single pitch trad as well as some bouldering. That should keep you occupied for 3 months and you'll meet plenty of people doing the same trip so it'll be cool to develop relationships with people that'll last more than a couple days.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

The southwest is generally where you'll want to be that time of year- as to where, it really depends on what you want to do.

Bouldering- Hueco/Bishop/Jtree

Sport Climbing- Bishop/Red Rock

Trad Climbing- Red Rock/Jtree

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Is J-tree good in January? I've been there in the fall. I could see it being pleasant or brutal if the wind picks up.

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 551

For ice climbing - Canmore (Alberta, Canada). Oh so good if you enjoy suffering in the cold and climbing multi-pitch ice in a beautiful mountain setting.

Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 58

Hey Brandon:

EPC would be my suggestion. Next February will be my third trip there. Great climbing and culture. Will be staying at Ariel's Chalet from Feb 3 to Feb 23, 2018 with a couple of other guys.
We have a couple of beds still open. Email me if you're interested. Bob

wing thing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 80
Brandon.Phillips wrote:Is J-tree good in January? I've been there in the fall. I could see it being pleasant or brutal if the wind picks up.
I've been climbing before in J. Tree before in January where it's been warm due to Santa Ana conditions and also when there's been snow on the ground. So if you plan on J. Tree in January, be prepared to make alternative plans if the weather changes.
steverett · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 105
Brandon.Phillips wrote:Is J-tree good in January? I've been there in the fall. I could see it being pleasant or brutal if the wind picks up.
This past winter was very wet, but generally pleasant enough. There are calm sunny days where it's warm enough to climb in the shade. Plenty of sun exposure for the cooler days too. Light rain dries quickly, and a windbreaker and fleece are usually enough for cloudy days.

Nights will be very cold though, could get uncomfortable in a tent unless you have a very warm sleeping bag.
ottice webb · · Stanton KY · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 5


the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

EPC for sport, Hueco to boulder, Cochise for more traddy stuff.

Grant Kendrick 1 · · Northampton, Massachusetts · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

EPC has a lot going for it.

--Pretty reliably good weather, and even when there is the occasional cool or rainy spell, it's rarely enough to shut down climbing.
--Very well established amenities, with pleasant camping with hot showers and cooking facilities, and a range of rooms, casitas and houses to rent. Food, beer and tequila are pretty inexpensive.
--Easy transportation from the airport to the climbing/camping, with everything easily accessible by walking once you're there, so really no need to have a car.
--Good variety of climbing, from single pitch cragging to modest multi-pitch outings to all day multi pitch excursions. Emphasis on sport climbing, although there is some trad and bouldering.

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 471

It's no secret Cayman Brac is my favorite. For your grade range, Feb and March will be better since you'll get earlier shade at Wave Wall and your trad experience will come in handy at The Point.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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