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Best place to live in, for the all-around climber? (rock/ice/mountain)
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Jul 16, 2013
I know all of the big mountains are out west. If you crave altitude and big alpine adventures, you should be west of the Mississippi. It appears, though, that your wife wants to (1) be by the ocean, and (2) live in/near a culturally and demographically diverse city. With that in mind, I urge you to consider seriously the East Coast. There's tons of rock all over the east, but to get ice, you'll need to stay in the northeast. I will make two suggestions:

First, consider Boston. There is no good "after-work" climbing in Boston, but it's easy to do a 2-day weekend to N. Conway, Cannon, or Rumney, all of which are, in my opinion, world class or close to it. I'm not an ice climber, but I know there's plenty there. Also, for longer adventures, the Daks and Gunks are doable for a 3-day weekend. Boston is a very cool town; lots of culture, a lot of very smart (over)educated people, exciting vibe, and relatively good (for the U.S.) public transportation. It's pretty livable, too, because you can live in a "suburb" that is, for all intents and purposes, part of the city (Brookline, Cambridge, etc...)

Second, consider the New York area. New York City is day-trippable to the Gunks; and the Gunks are amazing. (Don't let the haters get to you; there's plenty of places to climb there to avoid crowds, the rock is solid, and the exposure and movement are both great.) But, it's a bit far from ice climbing. To that end, maybe consider the Hudson Valley generally (New Paltz itself, and surrounding towns). It's easy to get to NYC for some civilization should you choose and you'd be close to ice in the Daks, and after-work gunks trips! I don't know your work schedule, but I know plenty of people who do an irregular commute to NYC from as far away as Hunter--every day would kill you, but if you can work from home often, you'll survive.

Anyway, obviously the mountain towns in the west are the holy grail for climbers, but there's lots of good climbing out here on the right coast, and honestly, the cities are more interesting.
From Gallup, NM
Joined Apr 9, 2013
10 points
Jul 16, 2013
Even though I'm wanting to head west....check out the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area. Thousands of rock routes (trad, sport, bouldering)at Rumney, Cathedral, Cannon, Kangamancus. Hundreds of ice routes in the same areas. Beautiful coastline, close to Boston, Portland, NYC, Burlington.....if you actually want to be all up in the climbing go for North Conway, only an hour or so out to the Maine coast from there. Nick Votto
Joined Jul 27, 2008
80 points
Jul 16, 2013
I lived in the SE (which I really liked) and climbed at all the "regional destinations" while living in Charlotte. I also ventured up to the NE a few times and really liked climbing there. Now I live in Phoenix and get to climb all over the west. IMHO, the west is a better place for climbers by virtue of the sheer volume and diversity of the climbing that is available for weekend excursions.

To be clear, I am not bagging on the east. I am just expressing my opinion based on my experience. I am in Phoenix for family reasons. It is not perfect, but it works for me and my wife. If I could move anywhere, I would take a hard look at Flagstaff or Moab. I think Colorado and California are just too crowded and I almost never do anything alpine.

Good luck finding a destination that works for you!
NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Joined Dec 6, 2009
15 points
Jul 16, 2013
I live in Boulder and love it. World class destinations within 5 minutes (Eldo). If you're still interested in being near the ocean you may want to consider Vancouver BC. I've never been but have heard great things. Squamish is about an hour away. Rowan
From Boulder, Colorado
Joined Jun 30, 2009
0 points
Jul 16, 2013
I moved from the bay area to boulder. It's great here. Lots of outdoor activities. Great cycling community for your wife. Another thing to consider, if you went to the bay area and you commuted to yosemite or tahoe every weekend (I used to do that) and your wife doesn't climb, then you're going to be ditching her (yeah, sorry, ha-ha) every weekend. In boulder, my husband goes climbing and is home every night.

it's expensive here, but not compared to the bay area, and if you live just a little outside of boulder, you can have a big ranch house with a yard for the dogs for under $350K, or a condo for half that. prices in boulder itself are quite a bit higher.

eastern sierra is great if you don't need a job. slc is scary on a bike, and the air quality is bad. estes park is great, but it's a tourist town, which is a weird way to live, and it's pretty high, so the winters are a bit stout. same for tahoe. tucson is too hot.

we also thought about vegas (too hot) and flagstaff.
From Boulder, CO
Joined Apr 25, 2007
0 points
Jul 16, 2013
Hands down it's the eastern Sierras.I live just outside Boulder and have lived in Bishop and Missoula plus 15years in Tucson. I do agree that employment would be a problem for most people in the Owens Valley.
Joined Jun 17, 2006
0 points
Jul 18, 2013
the ice climbing in CA is a bit of a joke. there are some bright spots, like some stuff forming in Yos this past winter, but that's an exception. the alpine rock is incredible but anything that requires an ice tool here doesn't stack up that well to other states like MT, AK, CO or even Utah. You can live in the bay for a reasonable cost, just look east, Oakland or further east on 24. the traffic isn't unreasonable for a massive metro area but as others have mentioned, if you're on the weekend warrior schedule, it's not gonna be fun.

every climber would live in Bishop or along 395 if they could, that's not rocket science.
if you move from texas to the bay prepare for immense sticker shock.
From California
Joined Aug 23, 2009
65 points
Jul 18, 2013
Flagstaff, AZ is great for rock climbing and bouldering...and it puts you within hours of other incredible areas, too. You could have a lifetime of climbing here, but our rock is mostly south-facing, so I don't think there's much ice-climbing here (but it does allow for winter rock climbing, while still being a moderate temperature in the summer due to the 7000ft altitude). I love it, but I would also have to second what others have said about Salt Lake City and Golden, CO. Lorenzo Tragen
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Jun 23, 2011
55 points
Jul 18, 2013
Squamish is a short trip from Vancouver. During the longest days, the sun sets around 10 pm so you can even drive up after work. Lots of ice and alpine within short driving distance too. DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Joined Aug 27, 2010
5 points
Jul 18, 2013
Buffalo, NY. Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Joined May 4, 2011
350 points
Aug 8, 2013
Just in case anyone happens to be curious... Denver won! So psyched!!! My wife and I are really looking forward to it. Now the hardest task is figuring out which of the million guidebooks has the best info on each area for rock & ice. :-)

Thanks guys for the suggestions, you brought up very good points about every place and they were very useful for taking all these places into consideration.
From Denver, CO
Joined Sep 27, 2010
5 points

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