Home - Destinations - iPhone/Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Mccall, ID?
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
By Sam Prentice
From CA
Jan 29, 2014

Hey there MP,

I'm considering gunning for a career position based in mccall. Hard to read the cultural and physical geography. For those of you who know Idaho - and have been around the West a bit - what would you say about the mccall area as a place to grow roots? Quality, or backwater creepy?

And how far are the nearest developed areas (beyond bouldering and weak sauce crags)? As a point of reference I've climbed a lot in the eastern and western sierra, Winds, Tetons, Superstitions, Jtree, and Front Range.

Thanks much.


FLAG
By James Piotrowski
Jan 29, 2014

IT's a small town that is basically a vacation place for Boise. The recreational aspects are only good enough that it is a local destination, not a serious mountain destination for people across the region. That said, it's not backwater creepy, but it's not much of a place for people serious about careers and family life, either. The vibe is as much motor powered sports as human powered, maybe more so.

Don't get me wrong, I love the place, but mainly because everything is so low-key. The skiing at Brundage is good, not great. The local flyfishing is so-so, but it's there. The mountains, of course, are awesome as mountains generally are. There's a big lake, but I'm not into motorboating, maybe you are. It's a place where everything the mountains offer is there, it's just all mediocre compared to what's available not far away. It's not Yellowstone country, it's not Lake Tahoe, it's not the Wasatch; instead it has elements and analogs of all of those.

For climbing, do your research on Riggins Limestone, I don't know it at all. A few developed areas in the Sawtooths, probably 2-3 hours away. Then it's City of Rocks, a good bit of a drive. There's lots and lots of undeveloped trad climbing in the mountains. Lots of winter backcountry to play with, and an abudnance of hot springs, alpine lakes, and near endless dirt roads through the mountains.


FLAG
By Ian Buckley
Jan 29, 2014

For what it's worth, since you're likely more interested in craging, its an epic center for whitewater, spring,summer and fall.


FLAG
By shotgunnelson
Jan 29, 2014

The Boise folks have been putting up a ton of boulder problems, tons of backcountry granite, hells canyon sport, riggins cave in the summer. Literally year round climbing, fishing, whitewater. Like James said its not the wasatch or Tahoe and it also isn't close to large population bases like those places. If I was offered a career position there I would take it in a heartbeat.


FLAG
By Cory
From Boise, ID
Jan 29, 2014
Relaxing in the Tuttle Creek Campground after a fun day in the Hills

As towns go McCall is sweet! It's a somewhat pricey resort town, located in some beautiful mountains right on Payette Lake. It's definitely not "backwater creepy". If anything it may be farther toward the other end of the spectrum then some might like. It's not in the same league as Ketchum (i.e. you probably won't see Arnold Swartzineger (sp?) or Tom Cruise walking down the street), but still very posh. I once heard someone remark that "the millionaires go to McCall, and the billionaires go to Ketchum." There are good restaurants and at least two breweries that I'm aware of.

As far as climbing goes there is Slick Rock, 5 or 10 minutes outside town. There aren't a ton of routes (4 that I'm aware of, but once again, I've heard rumors of more on adjacent formations), but they range from 6 to 8 pitches, and from stiff 5.6 to soft 5.10d, all on good but slabby granite. I think there is some really hard sport climbing outside of Riggins, maybe 45 minutes away. There's also something called the Pins and Needles nearby, I haven't been, but it looks fun (69.89.31.248/~gravitz1/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/>>>. You also aren't far from Hells Canyon for winter limestone sport climbing. If you like ice, it's there, but you'll have to hunt for it. As far as mountaineering and alpine climbing the opportunities are endless.

Aside from climbing, the skiing (& ski mountaineering), mountain biking, and kayaking are all excellent and right out the backdoor.

I live about 2 hours from McCall in Boise (More climbing here), so I'm not sure what the climbing scene is like in town there. Maybe someone more local than me can weigh in.

Cheers and good luck,
Cory


FLAG
By chills
From Boulder, Colorado
Jan 29, 2014

I grew up in Boise.
I spent a lot of time in McCall as it is only two hours north.
Good local craggin and bouldering the elephants perch/entire sawtooth range is not to far. The City of rocks would not be a bad drive.
Brundage/ the local ski resort not even five minutes out of town has some amazing side country access,
Not to mention countless other touring opportunities in the area.
Tamarack is 15 minutes south outside the town of Donnelly, ok resort but has some of the best and most affordable cat skiing ever.
Payette lake is one of the deepest and most pristine lakes in the lower 48.
Idaho is a great place to be and grow up!
But don't tell anyone ha because for some reason not that many people know about it.
Not sure why?

Cheers


FLAG
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Jan 29, 2014
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

World class whitewater, good skiing, but you'll be driving (sometimes a long way) to crag. I cant speak to the bouldering though. Driving may be fine, but if you are working 40 hours a week and/or raising a family... you won't be climbing much if you have to drive.

Personally I find the recreational opportunities within a 60 min drive radius far, far more important than the 3-6 hour radius. And within 60 minutes you have a bunch of whitewater and a pretty good ski area (with ample snow and good side country as was mentioned).

There is definitely alot of granite in the area (seems most is low angle though), and I'm sure development is happening... but don't expect high density Wasatch/Tahoe/Boulder after-work cragging opportunities.

That being said, it is a beautiful area.

Edit: just came across this to a local area. Can't speak to the quality 69.89.31.248/~gravitz1/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/>>>


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Jan 30, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

I'd live in McCall in a second for reasons others have mentioned. Re: Slickrock, it's some of the longest (some say THE longest?) continuous climbing in Idaho. (Not as interesting as Elephant Perch). That said, you can be at Slickrock from downtown McCall in no time. Look at it on-line, however, I've yet to see good climbing info on it other than what we in McCall know. 8-9 pitches and more than 4-5 routes; now about 10; super easy to very difficult. We've put up 3 in the last 2 years (5.11bR & 5.12aX). It's kind of weird to find your way around this weird "pancake" face because you might think you are on one line only to find you are crossing another route (cuz the bolts may change type, age, brand, etc). The summit is outstanding.....not a true summit but a flatish mound with smooth granite boulders about. The kind of place you would want to camp (we do). The walk off isn't bad....just long. I think some people underestimate Slickrock because you can see the entire face from the road and think "hey, OK, I can see the ENTIRE thing".

Zillions of places to boulder....much of it undeveloped. Further up-canyon are jewels waiting, inc. possibly longer routes.

Go there.



"Five Swords"; 5.11bR"
"Five Swords"; 5.11bR"





Part of the main face; more to the left.
Part of the main face; more to the left.


FLAG
By Sam Prentice
From CA
Jan 30, 2014

Thanks, this is all very useful. Here's what I'm gathering...

Recreationally it's a snow and whitewater mecca. For climbing, Idaho has some world class offerings but most are south 2-5 hours drive. Hell's Canyon is 1+ hours from mccall (?) and sounds like an lesser analog to owens river gorge (a place that is sets the bar, for me). There's undeveloped or locally known granite trad within 30 minutes of town that sounds like miniature needles (kern river, CA). If those are both reasonable accurate, that works mighty fine for me.

Culturally it avoided the onslaught of the housing boom, has it also avoided the energy development malaise? I'm not expecting arthouse theaters and brewerys ala colorado and SLC but heavy equipment and inflation is a bad omen for small mountain towns. It's the same size as bishop, which I know well... but bishop is still CA, however you stamp it.

Dis/agree?


FLAG
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Jan 30, 2014
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

I haven't climbed at the Pins and Needles area, so this is just a wild guess... but I can't possibly imagine they even remotely compare to the California Needles. But, really, does anything compare to those beauties :) The McCall granite always seemed pretty slabby and not "crack featured" like the California variety. But that is just an observation from driving/hiking around the area...

As long as you are prepared to drive 2-5 hours to climb at "destinations" you'll be fine. I suspect you'll tire of the local cragging quickly... bouldering notwithstanding..

But most importantly, buy a whitewater boat and you'll be in heaven. Just don't die or nearly die on the NF Payette which seems like a popular past time.


FLAG
By Chris Re
From Boise, ID
Jan 30, 2014

I love McCall it reminds me of a mini-tahoe. As for the climbing, there is a very limited published climbing scene. However, there are a lot of great locations; gift shop, sport topper, etc. that are not shared. Many fear the grid bolters claiming FA on stuff

grid bolting

As a place to put down roots, it is a small place. I think it is heaven, but it would be a hard place to grow as person or a professional in.

That is my two cents.


FLAG
By Sam Prentice
From CA
Jan 30, 2014

And what of hell's canyon? If I read between the lines - with optimistic bias - it seems damn worthy. And only an hours drive...?


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Jan 30, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

Damn worthy.


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Jan 30, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

I'm not giving anything away by saying that standing on top of Slickrock (which, as I said, is not a true "spiky" summit) which has sweeping views up and down the canyon, there is an enormous amount of so-called "undeveloped" (never liked that word) granite climbing. And a few bears here and there.


FLAG
By shotgunnelson
Jan 31, 2014

Since nobody is hyping the riggins cave it's pretty damn worthy and less than an hour. You can't beat a summer day climbing in the cool of the morning, swimming and a couple beers in the heat of the afternoon and then a few more pitches in the cool of the evening. Sure it helps to climb five twelve or more there but with conditions like that even the least motivated fatty will be cranking hard in no time. Living in McCall would be the best small town location for year round good temp sport climbing in the Pacific Northwest.


FLAG
By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 31, 2014
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury <br /> <br />Awesome problem!

I lived there a while back and it was awesome. For the alpine stuff you are looking for there are lots of opportunities for FA's, pm me for more details if you move there and are interested. Short climbing season though, but then you can go to Riggins, lots of bouldering on the river, and some granite stuff too. for hard alpine already established google jughandle mountain. I really really enjoyed living there! What kind of career position are you looking at?


FLAG
By shotgunnelson
Jan 31, 2014

Mr. Dolence when are you coming to spokane to visit your old buddy mr. Crowe


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Jan 31, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

I actually think McCall & area is a secret. But don't tell anybody.


FLAG
By Sam Prentice
From CA
Jan 31, 2014

shotgunnelson wrote:
Living in McCall would be the best small town location for year round good temp sport climbing in the Pacific Northwest.


yup that's my read - both from the enthusiastic replies on this thread and the wary/reticent ones. My ideal is sport for fun/strength, obscure alpine trad for mentally brutal fulfillment.

As for keeping it secret, looks like the local economy does its own job of self-regulating exclusion - to the bittersweet envy of many of us who long for career work in bishop, moab, or mccall. I for one am sold. Tnx much, yall.


FLAG
By Ian Cavanaugh
Jan 31, 2014

I'm really surprise no one has mentioned Jughandle. That mountain has some good and extremely hard climbing. all went in ground up


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Jan 31, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

I already sent this bag'o-secrets to Sam, however, it gives you an idea of the area.

www.picturesofcascade.com/large/Slick_rock_6385L.jpg

Slickrock on far left but as one goes up-canyon, it steepens up. If this became a bouldering mecca some day, I wouldn't be surprised, however, there is plenty of roped climbing to be done in this relatively pristine area. No one mentioned bears but this is bear country -- we've spent a lot of time up here.

I wrote up about 3 pages of beta but figured it was too long so didn't post it. My McCall friend and I have put up (2009-ish) two routes: 5.11bR ("Five Swords") and 5.12aX but you won't find them in the books.....we're too lazy. But I agree with those that say they found a "surprise or two" on the route(s) and that it can be very R. If you were run out on lead and missed a clip, you could take a real "king swing" (OR, you could just drive to downtown McCall and buy a DeWalt sander and do it yourself - to yourself).

The only identical texture I've encountered like Slickrock was in Thailand and Cambodia; wild, fun stuff.


FLAG
By Sam Prentice
From CA
Feb 1, 2014

Warbonnet - Dude. That jpg... sure it's a lot of low-angle stuff, but knowing you're on top of a dome higher than fairview... with the road into town a quarter mile away. Man, that's some good morning porn with coffee!


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Feb 1, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

Sam, exactly and as your eye moves to the right, well, you get the idea. I've long wanted to take a look at the far-right arch, high on the steep formation; I'll bet it's really freakin' hard (and to my knowledge has not been done but who knows). The photo was taken with a small-ish wide angle, but not super wide.

I remember the first time we drove the dirt road from McCall to the area, we kept stopping to boulder, one after the other. Took so much time that we didn't even climb Slickrock the first time there. From others in the string, sounds like the bouldering is getting quite developed, however, I'm not that much into bouldering so can't speak with authority on what's going on.


FLAG
By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 3, 2014
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury <br /> <br />Awesome problem!

Here ya go Sam,
www.network54.com/Forum/105717/thread/1281326046/Storm+Dome->>>


FLAG
By JacobD
From Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 3, 2014
Me on Half Dome Boulder, Middle Finger of Fury <br /> <br />Awesome problem!

Warbonnet wrote:
Sam, exactly and as your eye moves to the right, well, you get the idea. I've long wanted to take a look at the far-right arch, high on the steep formation; I'll bet it's really freakin' hard (and to my knowledge has not been done but who knows). The photo was taken with a small-ish wide angle, but not super wide. I remember the first time we drove the dirt road from McCall to the area, we kept stopping to boulder, one after the other. Took so much time that we didn't even climb Slickrock the first time there. From others in the string, sounds like the bouldering is getting quite developed, however, I'm not that much into bouldering so can't speak with authority on what's going on.


I've climbed a few of those smaller domes to the right and to the left. Found some old old pitons on some of them... Wonder who was climbing out here back in the 70's? Lots of good lines to be had though in the 5.5-5.8 range on those. There's also a big wall right on the other side of the summit that has cracks going up it that is pretty much dead vertical probably 400-500 feet tall. Looks good!

Also to Sam there is a lot of cragging around town if you know where to find it. There's some stuff on Warren Wagon road and lots on the dirt road that goes around payette on the other side. The thinking spot off of north beach has about 10 routes that I know of. I think 4 or 5 sport routes, and I put up/ or repeated long lost trad routes out there that are fun and in the 5.5 to 5.10 range. Man, missing McCall!


FLAG
By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Feb 3, 2014
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

JacobD,

Good stuff, thanks much. Am scratching my head to think who may pounded the old pins. Before I tell you who I think it is (!) tell me a bit more about the pins (angles, Lost Arrows, Bugaboos, European, any angle-type pins with iron rings)? We'll make it a guessing game and if I'm right (would be the first time in my life that I would be) it will be of interest. See any rusted button heads? Any hangers? Get back to me and I'll take a guess at who put those in; if I'm wrong, I know people who will likely know. Great you found them.....I always like finding old stuff like that even though it means someone was there before me.

Re: the pics of the big wall, I've seen it from afar...can't remember much about it. Even w/o vertical cracks, the underclings make it more interesting (at least to me).

How did you find the smaller formations to the right of Slickrock, esp. the one or two with the arches? Did you do/try those and if so, had they been done (could you tell)? I've wanted to go back & do them but my time in McCall has been limited to client work & Slickrock (and some of the smaller stuff around McCall. I've wanted to get into Hell's Canyon but I'm sure it's pretty much climbed a lot.

Have you see the large domes to the south east? I think I mentioned them in the string....we think they are too far to get to in a day, do even one long climb, and be back in McCall for a beer. What do you think?


FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.