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climbing gap year help


Original Post
Clark Devoto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

I'm taking a gap year and want to climb. I'll have a whole summer (from end of the ski season to late august) free, and I want to improve my climbing/just be in a climbing area and not go into debt. What can I do? Do people hire porters? Go-fors for guiding companies? Anyone else try doing this? I'm not the most experienced climber but I can work my ass off, backpack infinite distances with heavy gear, and climb 5.11 sometimes.

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75

Get a van and skip college.

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

Not sure if that is a gap year... that is just like a normal summer break.

Yannick Gingras · · On the road, mostly Southwest · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

The basics are quite simple, you go in a climbing mecca and find partners once you are on-site.  Stay there for 4 to 6 weeks, then move again and repeat.  There are many possible destinations and the kind of climbing that you like to do will help you narrow down your short list.  Be clear about your goals since "just be in a climbing area" won't command the same routine as "improve my climbing".  Do you want to become stronger?  Get better at placing gear?  Become proficient at finger and hand cracks?  You should answer those questions for yourself if you want to end up in the right location.

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City/Burlington · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 145
Yannick Gingras wrote:

The basics are quite simple, you go in a climbing mecca and find partners once you are on-site.  Stay there for 4 to 6 weeks, then move again and repeat.  There are many possible destinations and the kind of climbing that you like to do will help you narrow down your short list.  Be clear about your goals since "just be in a climbing area" won't command the same routine as "improve my climbing".  Do you want to become stronger?  Get better at placing gear?  Become proficient at finger and hand cracks?  You should answer those questions for yourself if you want to end up in the right location.

I think you totally missed the point of the question. I believe the OP was asking how he can work enough to fund a summers worth of climbing, not specifically about the climbing.

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

Well this is an economics thing that we can't really answer for you. Figure out how much you need per week to survive with what you want to do (gas, sleeping, food, etc). After that you need to find a job and start saving money. What type of job you can do we can't totally help you with but as far as porter / climbing guide stuff you aren't going to get enough work from that if any at all to pay for an entire summer.

Best to just find whatever job you can until the school lets out and not spend the money you are making and see how long you can last on it. You can always try to get extra work around where you stop for a while to climb.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

Your could put in an application with the concessionaire for one of the summer seasonal jobs in Yosemite. You will not make any real money but will have days off and I hear there is a good bit of climbing to be found.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,080
z wrote:

so you don't want to 'go into debt' but 'hiring a porter' worth considering?


Tim, he's asking if guides hire "go-fers" or "porters" like "seasonal help" In other words he's asking about a summer job at a climbing area or in the climbing realm.........

He was looking for; "Hey kid, if you come to Oklahoma I'll pay you to carry my gear"......... ;)

M Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 21

Find a job near a climbing area. Yosemite Valley has seasonal jobs and great climbing. It is kinda hot in summer but there is enough shady areas and water to make it manageable, as well as Tuolumne Meadows only a free shuttle away.

I'm sure others could offer up other areas with easy seasonal jobs, Yosemite is my only experience.

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 617

"Anyone else try doing this? "

Clark, climbers have been doing this since ever there were climbers.  My husband did this every summer between college years.  The first summer, (mid-70s) he decided he wanted to climb in RMNP. He had no car, so he hitch-hiked from NY to Colorado with his backpack containing climbing gear, sleeping bag, bivy sack etc and managed to find a job at a company replacing sewer pipe.  He dug ditches and crawled around under people's house in the broken pipe waste, camped at various places and picked up partners to climb somehow (pre cell phones and internet). When he didn't have partners he would solo easy alpine routes. He got "strong as f**k" and climbed a lot.  So yes it can be done.  Just decide where you want to climb, go there, find some part time work, live like a dirt-bag, and climb on your days off and after work until the late summer sunset.

JohnnyG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 10

If you don't really need the money, think about going without a job for those 3-4 months. It opens up WAY more options.  Go to a place with lots of climbers and cheap camping options - kind of depends on what type of climbing you want. Some thoughts:  yosemite, tuolomne, spain, chamonix, etc. If you don't die it will be the adventure of a lifetime (as a mid-40's dad i'm  freaking jealous!). I think you want a place with LOTS of climbers hanging out, a real climbing scene, so you have lots of partner options.

Some guiding companies hire grunt work, or guides in training. When I was 18 and had a free summer, I went down the list of guiding companies advertising in Outside magazine. Just called every one of them asking if they were hiring someone like me.  Got two offers.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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