Climbing Road Trip Starting Mid-Sep?


Original Post
Beau Griffith · · Fresno, CA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 20

My wife and I had some plans fall through for the middle of September and are trying to decide whether we should cancel our vacation days or not. 

We'd prefer to embark on some sort of epic climbing trip. Unfortunately most of our usual haunts are only weather-acceptable in the late fall through early spring; we love Alabama Hills/Bishop, New Jack City, Red Rock, and Smith Rock. I don't have a lot of experience with more northerly climbing areas to figure out how viable a trip would be during this time.

Requirements:
-Round robin trip executable in 9 days, tops, shorter acceptable.
-We lead up to 5.9 sport and 5.7 trad. No big wall experience (prefer 1-3 pitches). Easier/smaller is perfectly acceptable. Any and all climbing is fun!

Nice-to-Haves:
-Would like to either tow a (small) trailer if possible OR have an ability to spend a few nights out of the trip in hotels to rest/reset.
-Prefer not to exceed driving every-other-day. Preferably no more than 40 hours' total drive time across the whole week. I realize this is a bit of a convoluted way to describe...in short, we are not opposed to a couple 12-hour drive days...but don't want to do that every other day. On the opposite side of the same token, we don't mind driving 3-4 hours almost every day.

Thoughts on areas:
-Pinnacles
-Lake Tahoe
-Bishop (early morning / evening)
-LA Area smaller crags
-Yosemite (?? - We have never been there before...and obviously that is smack dab in the middle of the busy season. AND I've read it's exceptionally busy this year (at least as far as traffic goes). I am concerned we'd spend more of our time trying to get around, find somewhere to camp, etc. than we would climbing.)

Bigger-picture thoughts:
-Utah? (I have family near SLC)
-Oregon? (Also have family near Portland and Bend)

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Salt Lake would bore you. Even though you could climb in a different canyon every day and experience radically different rock every day. LCC, BCC, AFC, Rock Canyon, Uintas, Joes Valley, Moab. Its just not worth it really. Too many mormon's. Too much pollution. Tell your friends. 

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

Tuolumne and the east side would be my vote. 

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420
John Wilder wrote:

Tuolumne and the east side would be my vote. 

The thing that is nearly impossible to beat with this choice is the variable weather you can dial in so no days wasted.

Too hot on the East Side? Go to the Meadows. 

Stormy in the Meadows? Bail down to bouldering/cragging as much as 5000 feet lower in an hour.

Hot in the Meadows? It happens. Go to Mt. Conness or 3rd Pillar or Cathedral Peak etc.

Even Salt Lak, AFAIK, doesn't have that convenience at roadside. I know the options are all there, just don't know what the access to Alpine stuff is like as far as convenience.

Perfect conditions are always available somewhere nearby. Perfect fun-hogging.

Beau Griffith · · Fresno, CA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 20

Both the toulumne and the SLC ideas sound quite promising. I will confess the wife and I both kind of suck at route finding. Are there guidebooks out there that will not be overwhelming that I can use to figure out game plans based on weather?

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420
beau Griffith wrote:

Both the toulumne and the SLC ideas sound quite promising. I will confess the wife and I both kind of suck at route finding. Are there guidebooks out there that will not be overwhelming that I can use to figure out game plans based on weather?

I can't speak at all for SLC but Mammoth Area Rock Climbs by Lewis/Moynier for the (North East Side), Bishop Area Rock Climbs for the (South East Side) by Croft/Lewis and then for Tuolumne Free Climbs by Barnes/McNamara/Roper should keep you busy. :)

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Why don't you pick somewhere to climb and hire a guide? Routefinding and leading problems solved.

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

Squamish,BC and Lake Louise/Canmore, Alberta are awesome in September. Shuteye ridge and Courtright reservoir  in CA also are nice that time of year.  Eldo, CO, Further afield, Kalymnos Greece. Maybe call up some climbing friends you have been too busy to see. Check how they are doing and what they are up to? That's what I do when I'm looking for adventure ideas.

Beau Griffith · · Fresno, CA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 20

Thanks all. We will check out those options! Unfortunately leaving the states is a little far. Is Tuolomne dog friendly?

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

Toulmne is National Park, so no dogs. It's also heavy on run-out climbing.I would suggest Clark Canyon and Pine Creek Canyon

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 260

Why would you think that mid-September would not be perfect for the places you like to go?  I've been to Red Rocks and Bishop more than once in September. You just climb in the shade. 

But if you've never climbed in the areas covered by the Mammoth Lakes guidebook, then I agree with the others who suggested it as an ideal place. You will find numerous routes in your grade range that are pretty easy to find. 

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599

Sharon and I fly across from the East coast to the Mammoth - June - Rock Creek - Lee Vining area to enjoy the fun easy/moderate climbing on several different kinds of rock (including _featured_ granite). And we keep coming back for another trip.

Start with the latest edition Mammoth area print guidebook (as others said). Supplement with the Comments and more recent routes from MountainProject.

Check the _numbers_ of routes under Eastside Sierra on MP, even after subtracting out Bishop + ORG, and after subtracting out Boulder problems. Compare result with other areas (e.g. Tuolumne).

Then get out to the Eastside and test for yourself whose granite is more _fun_. And find out if other kinds of rock are more fun in moderate grades: Mammoth area volcanic, and Eastside quartzite.

Ken

ClimbHunter · · Nevada City, CA · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 15

I think the City of Rocks, ID is worth considering. High quality sport and trad, easy to chase sun or shade, and nice camping. You could swing through SLC or hit up up some other CA crags. 

I used to live in SLC, and personally wouldn't make the drive for the area crags. I WOULD make the drive for the Moab region, but 5.7 trad cap would be a significant limitation. 

I think the Mammoth/Yosemite/Bishop option sounds like great variety and somewhat weather proof. Yosemite can be crowded but midweek is very manageable, just don't expect to camp in the park.

Beau Griffith · · Fresno, CA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 20

Thanks all for the sound advice last month. We wound up heading to the Mammoth area and had an incredible time (Bishop was still slightly hot and we wanted to get in some other stuff like backpacking and relaxing). We hit Rock Creek, Horseshoe Slab, Benton Crossing, Casa Diablo Mountain, and Area 13 and really enjoyed the diversity of climbs, the weather, and the scenery. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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