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Potential Move to Seattle Area


Original Post
kcradford · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 5

My wife has the option to transfer with her job to their Seattle office (Specifically in  Bellevue), and we are trying to figure out if its something we want to do. I am trying to get a feel for the climbing opportunities in the are and use that to inform where we look to locate. 

Some specific questions

Are there realistic year-round climbing opportunities in the area? or does it just get too wet in the winter to climb? 

What area should we focus on to locate with an eye toward climbing (and general mountain) access, and within a reasonable (45min ) drive to Bellevue?

As Climbers what do you like about the Seattle area? 

BrokenChairs BrettC · · Sultan, WA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 245

Bellevue is great other than the traffic.  Stone Gardens in BellTown is a really nice gym. Mos

As far as weather yes it rains a lot in the winter and most things on the west side will remain wet.  However you really can't beat the summers with their long days and perfect temps.  There is a lot of climbing with in a short distance but most of it will be wet during the winter if it's on the west side.  Areas: Exit 32/38, Index (will dry out during dry spells in the winter) will meet your 45 minute requirement. But don't neglect Darrington and Mt. Erie .  If you travel East you can find dry conditions in Vantage, Tieton in the winter and before the snow starts flying Leavenworth is world class and drier than it's western counterparts.  During the Summer there are enough alpine climbing adventures to keep one busy for multiple lifetimes.  Check out The Enchantments to get an idea.  All and all Seattle is a great place to live with plenty of outdoor activities to keep you occupied.  Skiing is a great way to not let the rain get to you, when it's raining in the city it's snowing in the mountains!  

As for what I like: The alpine opportunities!

Oh and Smith Rock and Squamish are about 5 hours away. 


Good luck. 

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

kcradford wrote:

My wife has the option to transfer with her job to their Seattle office (Specifically in  Bellevue), and we are trying to figure out if its something we want to do. I am trying to get a feel for the climbing opportunities in the are and use that to inform where we look to locate. 

Some specific questions

Are there realistic year-round climbing opportunities in the area? or does it just get too wet in the winter to climb? 

What area should we focus on to locate with an eye toward climbing (and general mountain) access, and within a reasonable (45min ) drive to Bellevue?

As Climbers what do you like about the Seattle area? 

There are sporadic dry winter periods when you can climb, but they are infrequent and unreliable. Winter is generally too wet to climb.

By all means, do not try to live close to the mountains with a long drive to work. Unless you are able to telecommute most of the time. Traffic around here is brutal, and especially so commuting to Bellevue on a weekday. Live as close to work as possible if you value your sanity.

This is a beautiful area, with lots of good climbing and a vibrant city. It you like granite, we have lots, and it is really good. But be prepared for wet winters. Skiing is a necessary hobby to get through the winter.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 666

You won't be climbing rock in the winter, but you have access to some of the best alpine climbing in the United States.  If you like long trad climbs, there are effectively endless options within a few hours.  Squamish is just over the border! And Index.  

BrokenChairs BrettC · · Sultan, WA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 245

JCM wrote:

T

By all means, do not try to live close to the mountains with a long drive to work. Unless you are able to telecommute most of the time. Traffic around here is brutal, and especially so commuting to Bellevue on a weekday. Live as close to work as possible if you value your sanity.


Sage words

Khoi · · Vancouver, BC · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 45

Nick Sweeney wrote:

You won't be climbing rock in the winter, but you have access to some of the best alpine climbing in the United States.  If you like long trad climbs, there are effectively endless options within a few hours.  Squamish is just over the border! And Index.  

Vantage???

kcradford · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 5

JCM wrote:


By all means, do not try to live close to the mountains with a long drive to work. Unless you are able to telecommute most of the time. Traffic around here is brutal, and especially so commuting to Bellevue on a weekday. Live as close to work as possible if you value your sanity.


Thanks for the advice. I would be working from home, my wife would need to commute at least 4 days per week so I think we might be a bit more flexible on that front. What would be some good areas to look at that offer good access to clmibng, skiing, ect but are not too far from town (or is this a magical place that does not exist)?

 

Nick Sweeney wrote:

You won't be climbing rock in the winter, but you have access to some of the best alpine climbing in the United States.  If you like long trad climbs, there are effectively endless options within a few hours.  Squamish is just over the border! And Index.  

Sounds like I am going to need to learn to alpine climb, but an abundance of long trad climbs sounds perfect. 


Patrick Ormond · · Ouray, CO · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

The closest climbing and skiing on the eastside means heading east on I-90, towards Snoqualmie Pass. Alpental and the surrounding backcountry are where it's at for quick access skiing and alpine routes, even ice at times. For rock, look at Little Si (Exit 32) and Exit 38. There are quite a few other crags and multi pitch routes, and once the long anticipated Snoqualmie Vally guidebook comes out, you'll have a great reference. Index is north and east on Highway 2 but an easy day trip, with Leavenworth further east on 2. Squamish is an easy weekend trip, as is Smith. Smith can be doable year round if you really want it to be.

Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

So.  I live in Bellevue.  I find it quite accessible to Index, Gold Bar, Exit 32, Exit 38, Vantage, Leavenworth and the North Cascades.   I have never had an issue finding somewhere to climb year round in Washington.  Vantage smells like piss in some places but its a great winter climbing destination 2 hours from Seattle.  Smith is also great for a winter trip.  The summer however is what draws climbers to the PNW.  You have so many world class destinations in your backyard.  Squamish, Index, Leavenworth and the North Cascades Alpine are out of this world.  Mountaineering possibilities galore if thats your bag.  I moved to Colorado for a year and missed the climbing in the PNW if that gives you any indication of the quality of rock in this area.  Good luck with your decision. 

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 326

Bellevue is a nice place, I lived there for 10 years before moving a few miles over to Downtown Seattle. Access to the Snoquamlie area is very easy from there. There is a huge amount of alpine climbing and skiing in the 2 hour radius as well. 

Just general advice, be sure to look at cost of living before committing to the transfer to anywhere in this area. 

kcradford · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 5

So, it looks like we are going to go through with the move and will likely be heading out there sometime in the Spring. 

We are starting the process of trying to figure out where we would like to live. We are trying to get a feel for how the different areas around Bellevue and what our options are. Does anyone have any recommendations for great areas that are somewhat accessible to downtown Bellevue (extra points if they are bike/walkable to avoid having to pay to park). 


Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 326

kcradford wrote:

So, it looks like we are going to go through with the move and will likely be heading out there sometime in the Spring. 

We are starting the process of trying to figure out where we would like to live. We are trying to get a feel for how the different areas around Bellevue and what our options are. Does anyone have any recommendations for great areas that are somewhat accessible to downtown Bellevue (extra points if they are bike/walkable to avoid having to pay to park). 


It all really depends on your price point. Everybody kind of defines the greater Downtown Bellevue by the area sandwiched between 520 (N), I-90 (S), Lake Washington (W), and 405 (E). There are several different areas within that with residential. 

Right in the core of downtown there is actually a good amount of residential. You will definitely pay a premium for a apartment or condo, but they will be equally as nice. It will be a highrise with amenities, good views, etc. Lots of condos are for rent, and that is usually where you can find your best bang for the buck rental prices. Bellevue Towers, which is a great building (technically 2 buildings) often has 2br/2ba 1500sqft rent for $3700-4000/mo. In comparable apartment towers you would expect to pay +$500-1500 above that.  (It’s really a steal compared to downtown Seattle where the same thing would rent for +$1-2500 on top of that easily.) Just for comparison, a 450sqft studio runs for $1500-1700. There are also townhomes in the area that vary in price point, but they all kind of fall in the same lines.  I don’t know anybody unhappy living in this area. 

To the east of downtown, there is a lot of residential, mostly houses. These houses are currently getting snapped up really fast and are pretty competitive to buy. It’s a great area for families and very convinient for people who work in Downtown Bellevue, Redmond, and also Seattle due to highway access. Definitely a booming location. If you are in the market to buy a 1.5M-3M home, this is the hottest place. (I believe the average value increase was 20% this last year in this area.) Rentals are very hard to come by here.

To the north and south you’ll mostly see houses and townhomes. Prices on all of those will vary. Rent is less than downtown per square foot, but usually the quality of townhomes are not as high. Many of the lower price point places are being taken down and rebuilt. 

To the west is Media and Clyde hill, I don’t think those are really worth mentioning. Property values are insane, but hey, you get to be neighbors with Billy and Bezos! 


Those are all within the bounds of the greater Downtown area. Outside is a lot more flexible. 

To the east of 405, there are still plenty of homes. From there, the price points massively drop off. Pretty much 1-1.5M is shaved off home prices. Rent accordingly goes down. Finding a home a mile east of 405 for 4000/mo is not unreasonable. You may even be able to score something down to 3500/mo if you are lucky. There are some townhomes and aparetments as well for rent, you’d be looking at maybe 25-3000 for a 2br. If you start going into the Crossroads area, prices are more consistently lower, but accessibility becomes less convinient. Crossroads is the home of Stone Garden, which is the biggest climbing gym in the area - if that plays any role in your decision. 

To the north of 520 there is Kirkland, which is a very nice area. Pricing varies pretty wildly there. I’ve heard of a lot of people renting nice condos for similar to the above prices. This is kind of a favorite area for a lot of people in there late 20s and 30s at the moment. When you say “Kirkland”, most people picture some sort of picturesque day of walking a dog by the water and then eating artisan tacos. It’s got great access to Redmond where housing is terrible, so it’s rapidly gaining popularity. Homes are relatively inexpensive for the area for whatever reason. If you go even farther north towards Bothell, there is a lot of residential for good prices, but the commute can be a real pain. That area is pretty much known to have the worst traffic in the area. 

If you go south of I-90 towards Newcastle and Renton, there are a lot of new developments for good prices that can be found. Commuting is a lot longer and traffic is not friendly. There is some residential in between that I have actually never personally been to, but it could be a good balance of price to convenience. 

Northeast of the area is towards Redmond. There you’ll mostly find homes and townhomes. Housing is limited in Redmond and a lot of people work there, so prices are high for what you get. Not really ideal for somebody who doesn’t need to be there. 

West of the water goes into, well, the water. One could always live in a boat and live their Sleepless in Seattle dreams. (You can also go into Mercer Island, but that has very high pricing and lacks convenience. Farther than that you would be in Seattle.)


All in all, it’s a very nice area. There are no “dangerous” places and most people are well off hardworking individuals. I grew up in Bellevue and still spend time in the area. I now live in Downtown Seattle instead though. 

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,685

kcradford wrote:

So, it looks like we are going to go through with the move and will likely be heading out there sometime in the Spring. 

We are starting the process of trying to figure out where we would like to live. We are trying to get a feel for how the different areas around Bellevue and what our options are. Does anyone have any recommendations for great areas that are somewhat accessible to downtown Bellevue (extra points if they are bike/walkable to avoid having to pay to park). 



On the NE edge of Bellevue lies Redmond. It has Vertical World, a small, but friendly indoor gym and Marymoor, a large outdoor rock facility. The bike commute to downtown Bellevue might be a challenge on cold, rainy days, but I met one fellow who would ride it every weekday. Much of it would probably be along a bike trail. 

  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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