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Life in Gunnison
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Jan 2, 2013
Hi all,
Sorry for another "what's it like to live in ___?" post, but I'm wondering if anyone out there who lives/has lived in Gunnison CO could tell me what their experience was like. Is there much influence from the college that is there? What is the community (climbing or otherwise) like? Is cost-of-living through the roof? Climbing wise, are there any areas close to town? I mostly dabble in moderate trad- any areas that would be up my alley? Is the climbing season limited to the summer months?

I'm currently living in Groveland CA but am considering applying to a job in Gunnison. Groveland is great because it's right next to Yosemite, but the town is mostly Bay Area retirees and tourists and my boyfriend and I are looking for a bigger town with a bit more youth and life to it.

Thanks for any input!
From Gunnison, CO
Joined Apr 18, 2012
0 points
Jan 2, 2013
Don't know about cost of living, but it can be COLD.
Definitely more youth due to college, but it's got it's old
timers too--farmers & ranchers. You're close to Ouray for
ice climbing in winter and Silverton if you're an expert skier.
Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Joined Jul 15, 2005
201 points
Jan 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Freedom
hey - i lived there for a decade plus. it's got excellent climbing, but certainly gets very cold in the winter months. the people there are awesome, and the climbing community is tight and welcoming. population is at max 10,000. Crested Butte and Gunny are kinda like twin cities, as CB in 30 miles north and many people live in one place and work in the other or vice versa. hope that helps.

Luke Mehall
From Durango, Colorado
Joined May 12, 2009
2,007 points
Jan 2, 2013
(Disclaimer: not living in Gunnison; working on my MS project which is based in the Black)

Gunnison is awesome. I have spent the past 6 summers there 2-7 days a week, and the population is not too colleg-y, but then again it's summer. It definitely has kitschy places on the strip, but then there Firebrand Deli, etc., to redeem itself from that.

It has a different "feel" than places like Boulder. I joke about starting a store in Gunnison, calling it "The Anti-Boulder," and selling trucker hats, etc.

Climbing in the Gunnison valley is very good (see book, Gunnison Rock, by Leo Malloy):
-Lost Canyon bouldering 7 miles from "downtown" Gunnison
-Taylor Canyon trad+hard sport 30 mins from Gunnison
-Hartman Rocks trad+sport+bouldering 30 mins from Gunnison (very small guide here:
-Black Canyon <1hr from Gunnison

As for cost of living, I spent summers camping west of town in the Curecanti Recreation Area, but this site can compare cost of living:

I have only ever climbed here May-August, but have heard that climbing is better in the fall/spring. It can get fairly hot in the summer. Keep in mind Gunnison is at 7,700' vs 3k' in Groveland.

As far as "bigger town" and "a bit more youth," it just depends on who you associate with. As Steve mentioned, it has plenty of farmers and ranchers. It's also very close to Crested Butte, which has more of a ski-town feel.

It's also very cold. It's one of the coldest places in the US.. I'm from Minneapolis, so this just seems like a good thing to me, but take it as you will..It can also feel kind of isolated, as the nearest major airport is a ways away.

In any case, I love Gunnison. I would move there in a heart beat.

Good luck,

Donnie Hicks
From Long Beach, NY
Joined Dec 17, 2010
55 points
Jan 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Andrew Gram
Gunnison is ridiculously good for fly fishing, mountain biking, and skiing if you are interested in those things. Andrew Gram
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jan 1, 2001
3,828 points
Jan 2, 2013
Cold. I recommend copious amounts of alcohol if you plan on being there during a winter. The black is the only place worth climbing around there unless you drive to the desert. mtoensing
From Boulder
Joined Feb 25, 2006
826 points
Jan 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: In the Black
What's with all the hating on cold weather? So last night was about -25 but once the sun was out I was walking around in a light fleece. Just because the air is cold doesn't mean it's all that uncomfortable during the day. Now staggering out of Timbers at midnight is another story. John Peterson
Joined Apr 1, 2002
4,716 points
Jan 2, 2013
Hey Johanna,

We just moved to Gunnison from Portland and love it. Great community, incredible access to stupendously beautiful mountains and lots of rock climbing options within driving distance. Granted, it's not Boulder or Moab or Bend, but that's what makes it special.

We've only lived here a month, but the cold is much, much better than the relentless rain we moved away from. Don't let those -20 numbers scare you, the sun warms things up during the day and it feels fantastic.

Good luck!
Brian Barker
Joined Jan 2, 2013
0 points
Jan 3, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Thats Me
Gunnison is awesome. The cold that everyone complains about is just to make them sound tough. Just buy a jacket. I totally disagree with Matt that the only thing worth climbing is the black. The black is awesome but within 30 minutes of town you have Taylor Canyon, Spring Creek Canyon, Cement Creek Canyon, Hartman Rocks, and curecanti canyon. Wonderful ice climbing in the vicinity as well. Pretty dang cheap too! clay meier
Joined Dec 24, 2008
386 points
Jan 3, 2013
Piling onto how great Gunny is. Lived there for 5ish years in school and afterward. Actually, Luke who posted earlier is a good buddy from then. Great community, pretty laid back, pretty cheap to live there too. The recreational opportunities are AWESOME. Granted the climbing isn't world class but it is plentiful and varied. And few people. It isn't the most hopping social scene but there are some good places. I miss it! Jon Miller on the WS
Joined Feb 20, 2008
16 points
Jan 3, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Mashers Tower
-17 there at the moment

pretty typical this time of year

just sayin

if you love freezing in the middle of nowhere and driving pretty far to do anything fun then go for it
Cornelius Jefferson
Joined Apr 5, 2006
163 points
Jan 3, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Fun Times
Just to add to what Luke, John & Brian said, Sunny Gunny is a great place to be. Not sure what those in this thread are talking about that there isn't good places to climb, Johanna mentioned she dabbled in moderate trad, Gunnison is a great place to cut ones trad teeth. I lived there for 5 years and those were some of the best years of my life. Good luck Johanna, its a tough decision to pick up and move somewhere new & far away but Gunny is a good choice. Timmy Foulkes
Joined Jan 17, 2011
26 points
Jan 3, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: In the Black
And one more thing - Escalante Canyon! We're 2 hours away from crack climbing just as good as that in Indian Creek. Except there's nobody around and the approaches are short. John Peterson
Joined Apr 1, 2002
4,716 points
Jan 3, 2013
I'll concur with everything positive the others have said about Gunnison. As well as the prior climbing areas that were mentioned, the Skyland area up in Crested Butte has some pretty good bouldering. I also have to put a plug in for the mountain biking - it is amazing in this area. The last 3 years I've raced in the Gunnison Growler at Hartman Rocks State Park, and the during the first two times the 24 hours of Gunnison Glory was going on - a 24 hour bouldering competition in Hartman Rocks. It looked cool, and I almost dropped out of the race one year to do it. Last year it didn't happen, but I've heard that it's put on by kids at the college in the outdoor programs, so maybe there weren't any takers.

Anyway, Gunny's an awesome place, and I'd live there in a heartbeat. Cold, yeah, but just buy a nice jacket and get a flask to fill. You'll fit in fine.

Good luck!
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Feb 22, 2010
2 points
Jan 3, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: In the Black
I'll try to address your specific questions:

Is there much influence from the college that is there?
Yes - quite a lot. Gunnison is much more liberal than many of the mountain towns in western CO. The college has a very close relationship with the town - many of the people in Gunnison are graduates of it. The college provides a lot of intellectual life for the town.

What is the community (climbing or otherwise) like?
There are a lot of climbers around Gunny. I climb mostly with the college folks but there's a climbing subculture is just about every group there. It's not just climbing - there's more of a general outdoors culture and most people have a variety of outdoor vices. At a larger scale, the town and valley have a very strong sense of community.

Is cost-of-living through the roof?
Not really. Taxes are pretty low. Things are a bit more expensive because of our isolation but it's not a ski town where everything is insanely expensive.

Climbing wise, are there any areas close to town?
Hartman rocks is 10 minutes away. Same with Lost Creek, a bouldering area. Taylor canyon is 30 minutes. Also some sport out at the Point.

I mostly dabble in moderate trad- any areas that would be up my alley?
Lots of it around.

Is the climbing season limited to the summer months?
Not at all. Local areas are April - November. The desert is good all winter - 2 hours to GJ and 4 to Moab.

Hope that helps.
John Peterson
Joined Apr 1, 2002
4,716 points
Jan 3, 2013
Thanks for all the helpful responses. I've decided to apply for the job- couldn't hurt, and Gunnison sounds like a fun place to be. I prefer cold over hot and will be ready to invest in warm layers if indeed I got the job. Thanks again! Johanna
From Gunnison, CO
Joined Apr 18, 2012
0 points
Nov 15, 2015
Hey so I'm looking into grad school at Western so I thought I'd revive this thread. I am curious as to the feasibility of driving to CB for half day sessions on the mountain or if there's any BC skiing close to town itself. Also, I've heard about the cold but was wondering if it's generally blue bird days outside of the winter storms or more overcast during the winter months?

Also, any other general info about the pros and cons is welcome, cheers!
Joined Feb 1, 2012
86 points
Nov 16, 2015

The winters in cb are awesome. Its not that cold. I commuted from cb to gunni for school and it wasnt bad, dawn patrols and mid day skiing from gunnison is totally doable. There are more bluebird days than not and the BC skiing is awesome. Western has a cool vibe, gunnison doesnt have much of a college town scene either.
Alex Banas
From CO
Joined May 22, 2010
18 points
Nov 16, 2015
Awesome, thanks for the info Alex. I'll probably be pretty occupied with coursework so it's good to know half day trips are pretty doable in the area. The more I think about Gunny the more stoked I get, Tapawingo
Joined Feb 1, 2012
86 points

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