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Best climbing towns?
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By Matt McKibben
From Durango, Co
Jan 30, 2010
north six shooter tower
I've been living in Boulder, CO for about 4 years now, but have been thinking it's time for a change of pace. Maybe time to get out of the bubble! However, I've definitely gotten a bit spoiled because of all the fantastic climbing within easy, accessible reach and well don't really know where I would move to.

So, my question to the mtn. project community is; where is the best place to live that:
-has easily accessible climbing, ie outside town, preferably within biking distance
-has a mild climate, allowing you to climb most of the year
-is cheap to live, cheaper than Boulder shouldn't be too hard
-can find work, preferably in the natural resources field, but another change of pace might be good too
-where you can actually find people to climb with and maybe has some kind of outdoor oriented community

You're probably asking yourself, why not just stay in Boulder? However, there's gotta be other places out there worth checking out, so any suggestions? So, far I've been looking at heading to the Southwest (S. Cali, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona or somewhere else in CO) or possibly the southeast (Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia).

FLAG
By Jeremy H
Jan 30, 2010
I lived in Prescott AZ for a while and it was great for climbing. I also lived in Durango CO for years and it was a great place to live, 2 hours from the desert). Carbondale has a climbing community and is 1 hour from Rifle.

FLAG
By Superclimber
Jan 30, 2010
Good question! My girlfriend and I have also been shopping around for a new place to live. So far Tucson seems like a great option, but I am very interested in hearing some more opinions.

It sounds like Tucson has several kick ass climbing areas to choose from. As well as year round climbing, due to the ability to simply head up Mount Lemmon and find cool summer time climbing at higher altitudes. The area is also near a world class skydiving center and snow sports can be found a short distance away. It sounds like there is climbing there for all styles and grades. By that I mean one can find anything from well protected sport with short approaches to run out backcountry Trad adventures.

The down side is that property is a little over priced and jobs seem to pay a little less, possibly with the exception of tech and medical jobs. It also sounds like there is a crime and immigration problem. But this seems to be primarily on the South side of the city. There may be some issues with transportation especially during the monsoon season. Also, some of the climbing areas are closed part of the year for Falcon nesting. However, I'm getting the impression that there is tons of Trad and sport climbing open year round.

I haven't actually been there yet, this is just based on what I've read. I'm very interested in hearing more about this area and others.

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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Jan 30, 2010
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, h...
Tucson is one of the most underrated climbing towns in the U.S. I would feel confident saying that we have more perfect climbing days than any other U.S. city. When it gets hot in summer, go high on Mt. Lemmon to the cool temps. Great sport climbing in winter (the dry), great sport in summer (the orifice), great adventure climbing in winter (Cochise/Mendoza), great adventure climbing in summer (the Reef). Not to mention the 100s of other good locations around Tucson.

Cost of living is super cheap.

And the climbing community is really excellent.

FLAG
By Tristan Higbee
From Cambodia
Jan 30, 2010
Me on a mixed route Crisco and I did in Rock Canyo...
Moab?

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By Ian G.
From PDX, OR
Jan 30, 2010
Mens Crisis Center .12a
Well, if you don't hate bouldering Berkeley/Oakland fits those bills. I could be wrong, but I think Berk. is slightly cheaper than Boulder. And I mean slightly. LOTS of climbers for how little rock there actually is.

FLAG
By justin harkins
From Missoula, MT
Jan 31, 2010
Water break on Long's Peak - May '08
I'll throw in a plug for Chattanooga, TN.

Check out the Southeast forum for several people's opinions on Chatty (and also Knoxville).

You won't find anything like RMNP near there, but as far as:

So, my question to the mtn. project community is; where is the best place to live that:
-has easily accessible climbing, ie outside town, preferably within biking distance (check)
-has a mild climate, allowing you to climb most of the year (check)
-is cheap to live, cheaper than Boulder shouldn't be too hard (double check)
-can find work, preferably in the natural resources field, but another change of pace might be good too (I'm sure you can find something)
-where you can actually find people to climb with and maybe has some kind of outdoor oriented community (miles of rock to climb, great trail running scene, big whitewater community)

Might be worth a look.

FLAG
By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Jan 31, 2010
Flagstaff fits all those criteria. Bouldering right in town and more just a bike ride away. Winter can hit hard in Flag but warmer temps are just down the hill in Sedona. There is a huge variety of climbing types within an hour's drive and you also have a choice of at least 3 climate zones. To top it all off, it's got a great vibe. The only thing that sucks is the train.

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By Nick Stayner
From Billings, MT
Jan 31, 2010
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.
Maybe try searching for this too. I think it's been discussed on here before.

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By dkirk
From Tucson, AZ
Jan 31, 2010
I agree with everything that has been said about Tucson. Mount Lemmon alone has about 7000 feet of elevation giving year round climbing. With not to much precipitation here, this means one could almost climb everyday of the year. And then you still aren't touching Milagrosa, Mendoza, Cochise, The Dry... etc. In wet winters, Mount Lemmon (and other surrounding areas) occasionally gets ice! In a wet winter you can literally ice climb and comfortably rock climb ten minutes a way. Cost of living is also cheap and several months ago CNN rated Tucson and the simplest place to live in america (I think they meant that as a good thing). All and all, Tucson is EXTREMELY underrated, as a climbing town.

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By Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Jan 31, 2010
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt K...
Um, hello? Baraboo, WI. FOR SURE!

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By Eddie Brown
From Tempe, Arizona
Jan 31, 2010
Malcolm Daly wrote:
Flagstaff fits all those criteria. Bouldering right in town and more just a bike ride away. Winter can hit hard in Flag but warmer temps are just down the hill in Sedona. There is a huge variety of climbing types within an hour's drive and you also have a choice of at least 3 climate zones. To top it all off, it's got a great vibe. The only thing that sucks is the train.


Flagstaff has pretty bad winters. Locals climb up there in the winter, but I don't have the same cold weather tolerance they have. There are also very few jobs and what few there are, are often snatched up by college students. On the bright side though there is amazing climbing around there and there is everything from bouldering to trad. Vibe is very "hippy" too if that's your thing...

I would suggest Prescott, AZ or Tucson, AZ from my experience. They both seem to have what your looking for.

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By David Appelhans
From Lafayette
Jan 31, 2010
Imaginate
What about Salt Lake City? Anyone live there and want to offer an opinion? I'm thinking of moving either there or to Boulder for school.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Feb 1, 2010
You stay away from mah pig!
David Appelhans wrote:
What about Salt Lake City? Anyone live there and want to offer an opinion? I'm thinking of moving either there or to Boulder for school.



Salt Lake City really sucks. It is over 90%+ Mormon and there are no bars. Don't go there.

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By Alex Diederich
From Drake CO
Feb 1, 2010
Camp 4

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By Red
From Arizona
Feb 1, 2010
Cobra Kai
(_______), Arizona.

FLAG
 
By Joe Kreidel
From Tucson, AZ
Feb 1, 2010
I'll add a +1 for Tucson. It's not a cool little mountain town like Flag or Durango, but it is a small enough city that it has plenty of amenities and diversions (local art, live music, cool festivals, brewpubs, local coffee shops, etc) and fantastic YEAR ROUND climbing. I live pretty close to the U of A, and can ride my bike to run most errands, plus to downtown, the gym, and the fun parts of town. Summer is hot - no way around it - but heading up the mountain is an amazing escape with some of Tucson's best climbing between 7500-9000 feet. And even in the city, once the sun starts going down it cools off pretty quick, making for nice late afternoons. The climbing community here is about as open and welcoming as it gets.

Good luck with your decision, though.

FLAG
By Matt McKibben
From Durango, Co
Feb 1, 2010
north six shooter tower
Thanks for all the input! Looks like we've got a few contenders out there, perhaps Tucson, Durango, Flagstaff/Prescott, or even Chattanooga.

I like the sound of climbing in or right outside town that Flagstaff could offer, but about those winters, how cold/snowy does it really get there and are the winters that long? Even having stretches of cold weather between warmish days would be fine, if it's getting into the 40's and sunny sometime. Sedona is right down the hill too and the weather report for today said it was going to be 60 and sunny! Anybody know about how much you could rent a place for in that area of AZ? Guess the same questions remain for the other towns too. Kinda like the sound of a smaller mountain town too.

Tucson would be pretty sweet too, however I'd be a bit put off by the scorching summer temps in the city, but it does sound like a cheaper place to live.

FLAG
By Riddler
From Centerville, UT
Feb 1, 2010
Ogden, Utah. Hits all the points on your list, and also has infinite climbing possibilities within a few-hour radius.

FLAG
By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 1, 2010
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury  Aw...
Flag is for sure climbable year round. I moved here in August for grad school and have been outside at least twice a week every week. Plus on top of all the awesome climbing in town and within 30 minutes of town you are 4 hours from Red Rocks, 5 Hours from Indian Creek, less than 6 to Zion and Jtree, its hard to beat. But rent and cost of living are high, maybe a little less than Boulder though. You could except to rent a reasonable 1 bedroom for around 600$ a 2 bedroom for 800-900$ and so on.

Also you have paradise forks, absolutely amazing crack climbing 40 minutes from town. And if you know where to look in Sedona almost Indian Creek style quality cracks.

FLAG
By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
Feb 1, 2010
First climb after knee surgery
As to re-weigh in on Flagstaff. The winters are very dependent on the yearl. This year its been a REAL winter since we got a 6ft dump of snow last week and we are expected to get 7" this week and the rumors on next week....

Having said that you can always find somewhere to climb. In the winter, great trad cimbing can be found in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon (the Waterfall is amazing with the best climbing in the 5.11-5.13 trad range but 5.10's are definately there). For sports climbing in the Winter about 55 minutes to the east is Jacks Canyon and the Asylum. I've also climbed at Paradise Forks in the winter, assuming the road is clear enough for your vehicle, having climbed on the Davidsons Wall on Christmas Eve mornings in the past. The Pit is compfy on a warm sunny winters morning.

And this year we have probably among the best snow for skiing. In the Spring-Summer-Fall, you can still climb at the Waterfall (summers in Sedona are a bit warm), but in town the temps aree usually about 75F with maybe 2 weeks in the 90's. Then you have climbing at Paradise Forks, the Peaks, Mt. Elden, the Pit.....

For travelling, Red Rocks is 4 hours west, Indian Creek is 4.5-5hours (I do a lot of Indian Creek day trips), San Juans (for ice climbing) is 4-5 hours, and Zion is about 5-6hours.

As stated above, rent isn;t as cheap as you'd hope but places can be found. Natural resource jobs should be pretty easy to find here.

The climbing community here is pretty laid back, and pretty open.

FLAG
By Red
From Arizona
Feb 1, 2010
Cobra Kai
I think most winters are not that bad in Flag, especially if you are coming from CO. Tucson will be a lot cheaper and have more jobs than Flag. I live between the two and I'm centrally located in Arizona. I love it! Tons of jobs in the Phoenix area and only a couple hour drive or less to almost all the great year round climbing in the state. Higher elelvations in the summers and lower in the winters. Awesome seasonal climbing in both the winter and summer!
Yes, the desert is hot in the summer and the mountains are cold in the winter. I adapt quick and don't mind too much. The awesome desert winters totally make up for the summers.

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By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 1, 2010
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury  Aw...
I agree coming from Colorado the winters will not be bad. I came here from Laramie, WY. And while we've gotten a ton of snow this year, the temps are still really mild, and it snows less often.

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By Sam Feuerborn
From Durango, CO
Feb 1, 2010
Castle Wood Canyon, May '09
Durango is pretty sick. Plenty of skiing in the winter as well as ice climbing. there's a bunch of pretty solid climbing within riding dist. of town. and the creek is 2 1/2 hours away, El Rito is 3-4, Penitente is about 3 hrs. The list goes on. And the folks/town is pretty sweet, not a bad place at all to live.

FLAG
 
By Jhernand
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 1, 2010
Mexican Crack in LCC SLC UT
Salt Lake is not as bad as cam head makes it out to be. Yes the Mormon religion is visible in salt lake, but that is nothing to take SLC off your list. Contrary to popular belief (camhead) bars do exist in this town. Strong statement saying there are none in town. I means its not NYC, but the local bar scene is not too bad. In fact there are a lot of good bars in town, and good atmospheres. Don’t like the weak beer UT has… well SLC has bars that serve regular strength beers. Look… slc does have its downsides, but all in all it is great. You have some of the best climbing around, and only minutes form the city. Not to mention Indian creek, and Moab a short dive down the road. Red Rocks, and city of rocks in a short drive… plus if you ski or snowboard SLC has numerous resorts within 20 minutes of downtown. Oh… and as far as the religion goes… think about it this way… they go to church all day on Sunday so getting on the slopes, crags on “gods” day is super easy.

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By Evan Belknap
From Placitas, NM
Feb 1, 2010
Cochise Stronghold—me on the left
PRESKITT, AZ— You can climb somewhere new everyday. Though, sadly, Granite Mountain and the butte closed yesterday for pigeon nesting.. and it's month or two before paradise forks warms up. There's still the dells, sedona, groom creek, the promised lands, and so on and so forth. Preskitt is weird, but it'll grow on you quick. And its always nice to have more climbers around.

FLAG


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