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MN cheap climbing roadtrip...
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By Lspade
From Chaska, MN
Feb 11, 2013
Standing on top of Spire 2!

I live in West Saint Paul, MN and am planning on spending no more than $100 (gas included) for a weeklong trip to Estes Park, CO. The goal is to climb the longest Estes routes which are mostly Grade III and then finish the week with the most awesome classics in the area. The best part is that Estes is only 13 hours away from the cities so most of the trip will be spent climbing.

This trip won't take place until late May or early June (hopefully not on Memorial weekend!)  but I am hoping to make a bunch of Trad climbing trips up to Taylors Falls and the North Shore before then. We can take my Subaru, I am comfortable leading a group of three if needed, and I know of two other trad fellows who are quite interested in this trip.

If you have interest in either the Estes trip or just trad climbing in MN then let me know. ---Logan


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By Cale Hoopes
From Sammamish, WA
Feb 11, 2013
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Seriously? A budget of $100? That's like 50 cliff bars without gas? How do you expect to manage the food? Or do you just have food in the pantry that's coming with? I'd love to hear how $100 gets you through a week with gas, etc.


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By Lspade
From Chaska, MN
Feb 11, 2013
Standing on top of Spire 2!

You are both correct in that it would be impossible to spend less than $100 for the whole trip. I apologize for not writing "per person" because that is what I meant. Do realize that this is my "goal". The breakdown:

Gas = 940 miles x 2 ways / 29 mpg x $3.5 per gallon / 4 climbers = $57
Camping = free (if I can not locate free backpacking sites my goal won't happen)
Food = my sub $40 week long diet consists of tuna, pb, eggs, brown rice, and discount vegi's but in reality I don't consider food (which I would be eating even if I wasn't on a climbing trip) a part of the expense.

Let me know if you want me to break down the food prices.


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By flynn
Feb 11, 2013

Speaking from a background of having lived and climbed in Colorado until 2010, and having climbed at Lumpy more times than I can count, I'll tell you that I know of no free camping within a reasonable distance of Estes. If you know somebody out there, you could pitch a tent in their back yard, or crash on their couch. But the three or more of you could split the cost of a campsite in RMNP and probably not blow your budget by too much.

Happy hunting and have fun - it's a great area!


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By austin luper
From Fayetteville
Feb 11, 2013
shes a beaut

there is free camping in Estes. look into national forest areas. i usually camp on pole hill road but i would never drive a Subaru up there. we were in a rubicon with 35's and it was still a little rough. you could always park at the start of where it gets bad. we could get to lumpy in about 10 minutes


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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Feb 11, 2013

you're going to have to drive a lot more than just there and back...

also $3.50 gas is gonna be damn hard to come by in the summer


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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Feb 11, 2013

also May/June could be early for most stuff up there... but if you do need to go that time of year don't miss Days of Heaven, good early season RMNP fun


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By Lspade
From Chaska, MN
Feb 11, 2013
Standing on top of Spire 2!

Thank you guys for the information and camping ideas. SDenny, I was planning the trip around early May due to the fact that I hate crowds. Did you say that might be too early because there will be snow and wet conditions left over from winter?


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By Bryan Karban
Feb 11, 2013
Can opener

I lived in Estes for a year. There is free camping in the National Forests. Check out the Forest outside of Allenspark. It is a bit further of a drive, but you should be able to get a vehicle back there.

Climbs in the valley and at Lumpy will be great, but anything at a higher elevation up in the Park will probably still be a little cold or snowy. If the weather is really bad, make the short drive to Eldorado Canyon for some great trad.

Stop in at the Estes Park Mountain Shop and talk to the staff about conditions and camping. Also, if you have money left in your food budget, get a beer and burger at the Rock Inn Mountain Tavern and a margarita at Ed's Cantina.


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