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Best locations for Grad school and Climbing
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By Eldo Love
From Dolores, CO
Dec 18, 2012
The front yard

Mark E Dixon wrote:
You've obviously never been to North Table Mountain!


dude...i almost pooped myself. hilarious.


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By Ryan and Jesse Morse-Brady
Dec 18, 2012
Leila

You got a lot of responses here but being that my girlfriend and I are on the similar path of go to school, live in rural Asia for a bit then back to Grad school in a medical field. I feel the need to mention one more university town not yet mentioned which would be Bozeman, fair rock climbing, excellent ice, and better than average snow all within 30 min of town. I would return in a instant if MSU offered the correct program for us. I had to "settle" for Tuscon this coming spring but after much research and talking with friends who have lived there I feel it will be a excellent choice for us for reason mentioned in prior posts. For me ice climbing was all I had to give up seems better than years of unhappiness as a sub-weekend warrior grad student.


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By agd
Dec 18, 2012
alaska

Here is a less-obvious one: San Diego, California. You have Mission Gorge which has a couple hundred trad and sport climbs with a 10 min approach. El Cajon Mt which is a multipitch backcountry spot that is about 20 min from the city. Bouldering nearby also. You also will be less than 3 hours from J-Tree, Tahquitz ad Suicide Rock - all world class.

As for grad schools, SD has top tier universities. I went to law school there and got plenty of climbing in. I'm happy to give more beta, if desired.


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By GhaMby
From Heaven
Dec 18, 2012

I have a friend that is in the Grad program for English at UNLV, and I know a professor at the school, both say that Vegas is not vegas when you live there, not sure about the degree programs in the area you are looking at but the climbing in the area is some of the best in the country, especially if you can get over drilled pockets.

Did you get to climb while in Africa? When I was in the Peace Corps, in Belize, we climbed a bit on some amazing looking Limestone the few months it wasn't raining or too damn hot.

It would be pretty rad if we could have a college here, if we could also get enough land for student housing, houses are already overpriced at least compared to all the other places I've lived.


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By Boissal
From Small Lake, UT
Dec 18, 2012

I'd stay away from grad school and focus on getting skills you can monetize...


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By Lee M.
From Fort Collins, CO
Dec 18, 2012
Some post happy hour ice climbing under a full moon.  :)

On this thread, people have said that graduate school is a lot of work, and thus access to good climbing should be irrelevant. However, it is precisely because graduate school is so difficult that students should make sure they are highly satisfied in their outside pursuits during the small amount of free time available to them. For this reason (which has been reaffirmed by my personal experience), I highly encourage prospective students to pick a school at which they get the best of both worlds regarding their hobbies and careers (in whatever proportion will keep them motivated and happy).

My own experience with this has been as follows: after graduating from an excellent science/engineering school, I got a pretty lucrative engineering job in DC for two years. It was really valuable for me and I wouldn't change a thing about my decision to take that job, but I was completely miserable in DC (even with plenty of climbing gyms around). While I was there, I decided to go back to graduate school (something I had always intended on doing), and I promised myself that I wasn't going to sacrifice my wellbeing for my career anymore. I was accepted at two top-ten schools for my field and a closely related field, but I decided, after visiting the schools and talking with the researchers there, that CSU was the best fit for me. This was particularly the case because in my program, the amount of research dollars the school brings in is greater even than for some of the other more prestigious (and ostensibly "better") programs I was considering joining. Having readily available funding in a reasonably good electrical engineering program in an awesome town just a mere hour or so away from the mountains was something the top-tier programs I was looking at just could outweigh. I knew from being in DC that I am less productive when I am unhappy or I feel like something important is missing in my life (in that case, being outdoors and climbing). Even though I have only found a little bit of time during the semesters to get out and climb, those experiences really help with getting me feeling refreshed and motivated, which makes all the difference when it comes time to throw myself into work again.

Bottom line: find someplace you can be happy in, both with regard to the program and the small amount of time you'll have for other pursuits. Having a good place to climb will help prevent you from becoming burnt out in your program.


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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Dec 18, 2012
downclimb off the First Flatiron <br />photo by TooTallTim

Kirk Hutchinson wrote:
...My opinion; pick the best major prof. Somebody with consistent funding, high quality pubs, and that is not a d'bag....


+1, though less of a concern if you go the education route

Your major prof will have a huge influence on your career options post graduation. For success in academia, sadly it's often about who you know, not the quality of your research, that gets you jobs and funding. This I know from experience.

Adding:
Talk to current and former students that worked with the major advisor(s) of interest. Ask if anyone left and if so, why?


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By JGHarrison
From Reno, NV
Dec 18, 2012

Depending on the field of interest Univ of Nevada, Reno may be worth considering (not sure if it was mentioned). Good outside access, town not bad. Really though as a climber/grad student you should pick several different schools based on their reputation and more importantly a good advisor...Contact the advisors before applying of course. After figuring out a few good schools that meet your research/career goals, then apply to two or three and make your decision after you get accepted. You may not get accepted everywhere through no fault of your own, funding is an issue.


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By Michael Slater
From Denver
Dec 24, 2012

Mark E Dixon wrote:
You've obviously never been to North Table Mountain!
Or Eldo....


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By Brad Caldwell
From Deep in the Jocassee Gorges
Dec 24, 2012

NC Rock Climber wrote:
I started to answer this with an in-depth response, but then decided that this has got to be troll. If you are serious, then you really need to reconsider going to grad school in the first place.

Totally agree...grad school isn't a contemplation, its something you should be serious about well before you get into your major courses in undergrad. If you have to contemplate it, then you're not cut out for it...especially if your biggest concern is climbing. Best of luck in whatever you choose though!


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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Dec 24, 2012

Wyoming has a pretty good education program, a surprisingly strong international program (funded in part by Dick Cheney), and Vedauwoo is 20 minutes away. The winters are rough, but if you have the opportunities to bitch about lousy climbing weather during the winter, you'll not succeed in your program anyway.

As was already said, as long as you're not in a climber's hell, just about any location is good, provided you plan your trips for the summers and academic breaks.

I just finished up a physics masters in Laramie, and moved to Eugene, OR which is also great when the season is right (its awful when school is in session, though).


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By ccanez
From Raleigh, NC
Feb 11, 2013

This thread is amazing. I am also looking at going to grad school next year. I've just recently taken a 1yr temporary contract job which oddly pays way more than my permanent position did. I switched in order to save money to save for grad school and hopefully to take some time off for climbing before school. Someone mentioned on here that UC Davis was a good school. It's actually one of my top choices. Besides Yosemite which I'm pretty sure will be a solid 3 hour drive maybe more are there any other suggestions for climbing spots near there?


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Feb 11, 2013

ccanez wrote:
UC Davis was a good school... Besides Yosemite which I'm pretty sure will be a solid 3 hour drive maybe more are there any other suggestions for climbing spots near there?


For the most part, the good climbing around there will involve a long drive, but will let you access great climbing with reliable weather. Yosemite is the big draw, of course, but a long drive. Closer options do exist, but are still a bit of a drive. These include Tahoe area crags (1.5-2 hours) and Sonora area sport climbing (Jailhouse, Grotto, Gold Wall) (2 hours). A really long drive will give you access to places like the Needles, Bishop, etc. The more local crags around Sacramento and the Bay Area are generally not very good; you'd be better off just driving to Tahoe or staying at home and climbing at the gym. The gyms are excellent.

Overall, Davis is not exactly a climber's paradise, since there is no good local climbing, but it isn't bad either, since it is within striking distance of great options. It would be a good place to go if it was the right choice for your field; it is a very respectable school. I wouldn't choose Davis just for the climbing, but you shouldn't choose any grad school just for the climbing.


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By frankstoneline
Feb 11, 2013

Brad Caldwell wrote:
Totally agree...grad school isn't a contemplation, its something you should be serious about well before you get into your major courses in undergrad. If you have to contemplate it, then you're not cut out for it...especially if your biggest concern is climbing. Best of luck in whatever you choose though!


I'm not sure I agree.
The quarters in undergrad I did the best were quarters where I was taking 18 credits of upper div courses and cragging 4+ days/week. For me the key was learning to compartmentalize, and knowing that I was going cragging on days I didnt have labwork until 6pm meant I worked much more efficiently. Additionally, getting out and moving made it a lot easier to really buckle down in the evenings.

I do, however, agree that entering a grad program shouldnt be done on a whim, and a program should be chosen first for the quality of opportunity it provides not the recreation available.


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By ccanez
From Raleigh, NC
Feb 11, 2013

I appreciate the advice and info about Davis. I'm definitely considering the fact that my time will be limited with grad school and since climbing is something that I do love I want to go as often as possible. I have other schools that I'm considering with much closer options (Fort Collins, SLC, etc.) because there really needs to be a balance between the two.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Feb 11, 2013

ccanez wrote:
I appreciate the advice and info about Davis. I'm definitely considering the fact that my time will be limited with grad school and since climbing is something that I do love I want to go as often as possible. I have other schools that I'm considering with much closer options (Fort Collins, SLC, etc.) because there really needs to be a balance between the two.


This is a smart consideration. I'm in grad school in golden, and am able to climb quite a lot, despite the grad school schedule, because there is lots of climbing 10-30 minutes away. It makes it easy to go out for a partial day, etc. If I had to drive 3 hours...or even an hour...to get out, I would be able to do so much less.

That said, don't choose a program based only on proximity to rock. If Davis is a much better program, it might be worth it.


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