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Climbing trip, where to go?
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By Anna Gilyeat
Apr 16, 2013

Hi me and my friend from the uk are coming to Canada and America in June/July. We are going for 7 weeks and not sure where to go. We are flying into and out of Vancouver and we are definitely going to climb in Squamish for a few weeks. But we would also like to climb in another area. Unfortunately we will not have a car as we don't have enough money. So has anyone got any ideas of where is possible to get to via public transport or areas that are not essential to have a car. We are mainly looking for trad climbing but trad and sport areas would be cool.

Thanks very much if anyone has any suggestions.
Anna :)


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By Brian Prince
From morro bay, ca
Apr 16, 2013
The Seward Highway is really beautiful.

Here's something to read. A lot of good info on different areas to visit and some stuff on getting around without a car which, yeah, will limit you.

mountainproject.com/v/two-aussies-planning-a-na-road-trip/10>>>


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By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Apr 16, 2013
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks

Anna Gilyeat wrote:
Unfortunately we will not have a car as we don't have enough money.


Looks like you'll be in Squamish for 7 weeks (not that that's a bad thing).


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 16, 2013
El Chorro

Try to hook up w/ some other climbers that have a car. Otherwise you are going to spend the entire 7 weeks in Squamish. The US is not like the UK. It is not set up for travel w/o personal transport. Especially the west.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Apr 16, 2013
...

Get someone to drop you off at Joshua Tree. Then weather permitting, prepare to BAKE!


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By Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Apr 16, 2013
Flaming Pumpkin

Rent a bike, and then take Greyhound or mega bus.


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By Aaron Nash
Apr 16, 2013
ICE!

If you want to stay in Canada, Skaha is a fun place to spend some time climbing in BC.
Like others have said; try to hook up with climbers who have cars. You could find trips to some Washington climbing areas (index, leavenworth, etc), or Smith. All are a reasonable day's drive from Squamish.

7 weeks in Squamish doesn't sound too bad to be though


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By dylanfllr
Apr 16, 2013

I bet you could get to Smith pretty easily. I don't know how set your plans are, but you could either fly into Portland and then hitch/bus over to Bend, and then make your way up to Squamish. It will be getting warm by July though, and Squamish might be rainy until July, so if you could I would visit Smith first.

If you decide to go anywhere in WA or OR, look up boltbus.com, it's way cheaper than greyhound but only goes to big cities.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Apr 16, 2013
Stoked...

You could always rent a car (23 USD or 15 GBP a day) for a week or so at a time to take a trip. . .


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Apr 16, 2013

www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/publictransportation.htm

Greyhound to Merced, YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley or Tuolumne Meadows. You might want to look for a cheap flight from BC to California and then take Greyhound. Greyhound from BC to California would be an adventure, but not a pleasant one.

The good news about the Valley is that you can reach lots of climbing on foot, and getting rides to the more remote climbs should be pretty easy. Also, there's a grocery store in the Valley, or much cheaper places in nearby towns (Merced, Modesto, etc.) if you can get a ride from someone. The bad news is that it can be hot as hell in the Valley in summer, the rangers are quite zealous about the one week limit (although a little resourcefulness and a low profile can help with this), and campsites are in high demand. Tuolumne is cooler in summer, but the climbs are more spread out. Also, campsites in Tuolumne are in very high demand, although you might stay at one of the USFS campgrounds east of Tioga Pass and hitch into the park to climb.

Edit: A one or two week car rental might not be a bad idea for Tuolumne. Getting anywhere by bus or train in the US is a long, slow process. You can burn up a good chunk of your vacation time on buses or waiting for buses. You can also end up spending a night in the middle of nowhere on your way from one climbing area to the next.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 16, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Since you are set on Squamish you could hit the bugaboos to the east. not too far and lots of tourists that time of year to grab a ride.

Yosemite Valley is a must. Once you're there you can use the shuttles to get anywhere in the valley and then make your way up to Tuolumne meadows.

Depending on your skill level, there are plenty of high sierra climbs like the incredible hulk or the palisade traverse.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Apr 16, 2013

randy88fj62 wrote:
Depending on your skill level, there are plenty of high sierra climbs like the incredible hulk or the palisade traverse.


None of which will be particularly easy to get to without a car.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Apr 16, 2013
The Shield

You must go to Banff... and while there, you need to hit the Back of Lake Louise. Its the best crag, pound for pound, on the continent. About 130 routes, about 80 of them are great.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Apr 16, 2013

Getting by on a climbing trip in North America without a car is very difficult. There are two areas where it works OK, however: Yosemite and Squamish. Both have plenty of climbing within walking distance, a grocery store within walking distance, etc. Yosemite also has a little bus system within the Valley, which is pretty useful. Here's what I would reccomend:

Change inbound plane ticket; fly in to San Francisco or Oakland (CA) in June

Take public transit to Yosemite.

Climb in Yosemite in June.

In late June, Yosemite is getting really hot. At about the same time, the weather should be drying out in Squamish. There should be lots of other climbers who will be moving from Yosemite to Squamish at about the same time. Post up of the Camp 4 message board to find a ride. Offer to pay for gas. Greyhound bus is your backup plan.

Go to Squamish. Climb there in July.

Fly out of Vancouver.


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By doligo
Apr 16, 2013
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style

Evan Sanders wrote:
Rent a bike, and then take Greyhound or mega bus.


I'm not sure it's a good idea - have you ever done that yourself? I dislike when people recommend something that may sound good in theory... Traveling with a bike on mass transit could be a PITA - a lot of them don't allow bikes, if they do, it's on limited basis and some require a box to put your bike in the cargo. Also, renting a bike long-term may cost a fortune - one would be better off buying a Huffy from Walmart. Then, traveling on a bike or with a bike plus climbing/camping gear and food may end up being a hassle...


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By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Apr 16, 2013
beck on limestone

Anna,

Sam had a good idea. You could take the train to Banff and climb around there (lots of limestone climbing and supportive climbing community) till weather stabilized at Squamish. I'd start writing to the local climbing clubs around Banff, Canmore, Calgary and maybe Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Maybe they could connect you with some climbers. I'd also search here, Summit Post and climbing.com for people posting comments and climbs in that area. Maybe that would get you connected.

Yamnuska and surrounding areas...Ghost River should be OK in June. A little early for Bugaboos. their season is usually mid July to mid August


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Apr 16, 2013

JCM's suggestion is excellent. If you haven't already bought your plane tickets, I would fly to SF, Oakland or maybe LA and take public transit to Yosemite, then move on to Squamish. From SF or Oakland airports, use BART (light rail transit) to get as close as you can to Merced, then use Greyhound for the rest of the way, then take the YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley.

If you meet the age requirements, a one or two week car rental would make a week or so in Tuolumne Meadows much more enjoyable.


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By mr. mango
Apr 16, 2013
north wash

Boulder CO. Great climbing, miltipitch awesomeness, trad out the wazoo, aaannndd... It's all in the same area. From the town of boulder 96 percent of approaches are on foot. Nuff said. The incredible flatirons.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Apr 16, 2013

mr. mango wrote:
From the town of boulder 96 percent of approaches are on foot.


That is totally false.


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By DrApnea
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 16, 2013

73% of statistics are made up anyway...


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By Anna Gilyeat
Apr 17, 2013

Wow thanks for the replies, really useful information. We have already booked are flight so can't change really. Was thinking maybe it would be possible that we get the greyhound down to San Francisco and from there get the bus to Yosemite/toulmne then get the bus back up and climb in Squamish. I looked into buses and it woul cost approximately 310. Does anyone know if index town walls is do-able without a car? And is it good? And is smith rock sport and trad, is the trad any good?

Thank you so much for all the information.


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By Phill T
Apr 17, 2013

getting to index would be tricky, but once you are there its all walking distance. You would have to take a taxi from seattle and that would be pretty spendy. While it is a stellar crag, I dunno how long you would want to stay there (I was good with 4 days). the climbing is stiff as hell, so unless you are SOLID at 5.10 granite crack, gonna be humbling, and you can't set up TR's on anything.

The trad at smith is great. Some awesome multipitch on the main formations, and then the lower gorge is a single pitch crack paradise. Also somewhat close (tough without your own transportation though) is Trout Creek, which is basically Indian Creek but on basalt, and only a few hundred lines rather than thousands.


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By Eric schmithead
Apr 17, 2013

JCM wrote:
That is totally false.

Really? Cause if you so desire I can send the links of over 100 climbs that are accessible by foot from the town of boulder. More if I had the motivation, so try not to completely bash the comments that you have not taken the time to investigate


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By bearbreeder
Apr 17, 2013

stick in squamish if you dont have a car ... you can walk or bike to many of the climbs ...

once you make friends with people in squamish, then you can share rides ....

where else can you find hundreds of trad lines a 5 min walk away from the sbcuks ... and then theres the entire chief a 10 min walk away ....


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Apr 17, 2013

Anna Gilyeat wrote:
Wow thanks for the replies, really useful information. We have already booked are flight so can't change really. Was thinking maybe it would be possible that we get the greyhound down to San Francisco and from there get the bus to Yosemite/toulmne then get the bus back up and climb in Squamish. I looked into buses and it woul cost approximately 310. Does anyone know if index town walls is do-able without a car? And is it good? And is smith rock sport and trad, is the trad any good? Thank you so much for all the information.


Replies to a few of your questions:

Smith Rock does have both, but it is generally known for the sport climbing. The trad climbing, while decent, does not really compare to the granite trad found in Squamish, Index, etc. If you are only interested in trad climbing, stay in BC and Washington. It may be worth a visit to Smith if you are motivated for techy vertical sport climbing. Also, be aware that Smith gets very hot in the summer, so if you do want to go to Smith, go at the very beginning of your trip (early June).

It seems like the reality that you are running into is that getting to most North American climbing areas without a car is difficult, frustrating, slow, and expensive. Squamish is one of the few areas that is easy to access without a car. Bus service is available from Vancouver, and once in town you can walk from campsite to crag to grocery store to bar, etc. Lots of climbers around too, so you can hitch rides from friendly non-sketchy folks to outlying areas. The quality and quantity of climbing is such that you could easily and happily spend the entire seven weeks there; many people do.

I understand the desire to explore additional areas, but as you are learning, it is just not very practical without a car..and trying to get around without the car won't actually save you much money in the end. Since it sounds like taking a bus too/from Yosemite is farther and more expensive than you want, what I would recommend is to just base yourself around Squamish for the duration of the trip. In Squamish you don't need the car. When you want to explore an additional area, just rent a car for a 1-week period to make a trip to Index, Leavenworth, Smith, Skaha, or wherever. This will be cheaper than renting a vehicle for the whole trip, while still allowing you to visit various areas. If even a 1 week car rental is too expensive, just commit to staying in Squamish for the duration (although June can be rainy...be forewarned).

Lastly, 7 weeks really isn't all that long a time for wandering all over the continent. While there have been recommendations for various places that are quite far from Vancouver (like Colorado), it probably would not be worth traveling that distance. The northwest is the place to be in the summer, and there is more than enough there to keep you occupied for a lot longer than 7 weeks.


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Apr 17, 2013

Anna Gilyeat wrote:
Wow thanks for the replies, really useful information. We have already booked are flight so can't change really. Was thinking maybe it would be possible that we get the greyhound down to San Francisco and from there get the bus to Yosemite/toulmne then get the bus back up and climb in Squamish. I looked into buses and it woul cost approximately 310.


Greyhound to Merced, CA via Sacramento, then the YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley. San Francisco would be a long detour, not a good idea unless you want to see the place. A week in Tuolumne and a week in Yosemite Valley to go with your time in Squamish would be nice, but that's a big chunk of your vacation spent on buses. What would it cost to change your flight, land in Oakland or Sacramento and bus to Yosemite from there? What would it cost to fly from Vancouver to SF, Oakland or Sacramento and back?


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