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Portland v. Seattle?
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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 30, 2013
Horseman
Say you're a single 30-ish professional and want to find a new city to move to, and last year discovered an obsession for climbing (mostly sport routes).

First consideration includes proximity to a good climbing area. Currently I enjoy living near the Red River Gorge (2 hrs), drivable to New River Gorge, T-wall, Linville Gorge, (6 hrs each).

Second consideration are good gyms ..I live near what I consider one of the best indoor gyms (for training and rainy days) with extended hours and great routes.

Third and last consideration... I'd like to live near people who also love climbing and other outdoor activities. I moved to Cincinnati 1 1/2 years ago (where I discovered climbing) but find it to be a very conservative city, most people have known each other since daycare and not really conducive to my life.

Which would be better, Portland or Seattle?

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By redlude97
Apr 30, 2013
Having lived in both, neither is optimal for sport climbers.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 30, 2013
Horseman
What about trad? I'm just not a huge fan of bouldering except for training indoors, and don't think I have enough time away from work for alphine.

What other cities should I consider? Colorado is my first choice but I'm thinking about alternatives in case that doesn't pan out.

Im limited to large cities for the job prospects.

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By Mike
From Phoenix
Apr 30, 2013
Doing the jump-across off The Mace.  I never get tired of this climb.  Photo by Wednesday Hugus.
Either way you are going to be stuck indoors while it rains outside. At least Portland isn't too far from Smith Rock, where it's often sunny & warm. Just my 2 cents, HTH.

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By Pete Spri
Apr 30, 2013
Seattle has much more sport climbing just off of I-90 by North Bend ~40m drive. Portland doesn't have close to that.

As far as longer drives, Seattle is closer to Squamish, but Portland is closer to Smith. Seattle has plenty of sunny side climbing at Vantage, Leavenworth, and Banks Lake.

Overall, I'd say Washington is stacked with way more rock than Oregon. The cascades are just more severe in Washington which leads to better rock faces. And the Columbia River offers some decent basalt for the desert.

Now if you are comparing traffic, single life, alpine climbing, skiing, etc, the answers will vary even more, but for sheer rock I'd go Washington.

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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Apr 30, 2013
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012
seattle you're like 40 minutes from little si, which is awesome all summer long. Index is an hour north, best granite climbing literally anywhere. For winters you'll have to take up kayaking, the NW is wet.

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By coldatom
From Cambridge, MA
Apr 30, 2013
Jurassic Park
Boston/Cambridge

Pros
- 2hrs to Rumney for sport climbing. 2-3 hrs to many trad areas in NH.
- Good gym (Metrorock). New gym opening soon in Somerville.
- People: Extremely diverse, well-educated, liberal. Many childless 30-somethings. Not universally outdoorsy, but enough are.
- Jobs.

Cons
- Little to no nearby climbing in "after work" range.
- Long cold winters. (But not dreary like PacNW)
- High cost of living.
- On the East Coast. Some people hate that.

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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Apr 30, 2013
Me scaring years off my mom's life
Think about Salt Lake. Plenty of bolts to clip - easy trad to break into. Good weather (except for the inversions in January) and less of an insular, conservative feel than you'd expect.

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By redlude97
Apr 30, 2013
I guess I'll break it down for each city.

Portland:
~3 hours to smith, probably the best sportclimbing in the PNW
All the local(20-30mins) crags are kind of shitty, ozone isn't too bad
Trad: Smith, Beacon, Vantage

Seattle:
Exit 32/38(30-40 mins) lots of mediocre moderates, good 5.11+ sportclimbing, Nason (2 hours), Vantage(2.5 hours)
Trad: Index(1 hour), Leavenworth(2.5 hours), Vantage (2.5 hours)

As mentioned above, it isn't the lack of climbing that is available it is the weather that is the issue. You spend ~7-9 months of the year with rain, so the majority of climbing is indoors. Having a winter sport helps alot.

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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Apr 30, 2013
Man, are you crazy? Rain and sport climbing don't mix! Either of those spots will be soggy as shit, but if I had to choose, it would be Portland. Seattle sucks... traffic is crazy, prices are crazy, it's crowded as hell, and it constantly rains HARD! Portland is slightly better in all categories, and closer to california.

Best states for climbing in decending order
1. Utah
2. Arizona
3. Colorado
4. California

Notice the recurring theme of little to no rain (Desert).

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Apr 30, 2013
Portland is a better city and nicer place to live. Seattle is closer to more good climbing options. Both kind of suck as climbing towns...just too wet (unless you're into the alpinism thing, then Seattle would be a fantastic choice)

Both are vastly more liberal than the 'Natty. (Decent enough town, but what's with the chili obsession and particularly the chili with spaghetti noodles in it?).

I've lived all over the US, and Portland was hands down my favorite city of them all. Great food, culture, beer. Very intelligent, well read, and liberal population. Good art, music, etc. It's a great place to spend your single 20s and 30s (great place to raise kids too). Compact town with great public transportation...I spent half my time living there without a car. Very walkable and the shops are actually in the neighborhoods, instead of the big box giagantor strip centers of the burbs.

That said, the rain can be a bit much. Not even the rain so much as the constant gray.

If I were you, I'd look at a few other places besides the PNW and CO. Utah, for example, and Arizona. Vegas (personally, I dislike the town, but there is year-round sport climbing and tons of it with reliable weather) . Good luck.

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By frankstoneline
Apr 30, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
What about trad? I'm just not a huge fan of bouldering except for training indoors, and don't think I have enough time away from work for alphine. What other cities should I consider? Colorado is my first choice but I'm thinking about alternatives in case that doesn't pan out. Im limited to large cities for the job prospects.


If I was looking at washington and roped cragging easily accessible from work was a priority I'd be looking at Spokane. Big-ish city, tons of cragging within a 45 minute drive, low cost of living. It certainly is...rough around the edges...which turns some folks off and the dating scene might not be ideal, but you can sport climb on all kinds of different stone all year (basically) and get out after work to take burns on a project after work.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 30, 2013
Horseman
OK cutting the pacific NW out, adding AZ and SLC/Utah to my search! Thanks for the input. Last winter everyone at the Red went to Portrero at the end of the season, and some to Indian Creek UT.

Boston/Cambridge is good for Rumney (thanks for the tip) and the childless educated liberal aspect which I fall into, but with MIT and a dozen law schools churning out graduates I don't know if I can be competitive. I can also see myself working super long East Coast hours, which is what I'm trying to avoid...

Maybe I should try to get people to move here to Cincinnati (for some reason Ohio doesn't appeal). As I mentioned the RRG is 2 hrs away the NRG not terribly far either. It's crazy when I see people from all over the States and other countries congregate in the middle of Kentucky and West Va.

Will S, how do you know about the chilli obsession? Didn't know about it till I moved here. And I defn know about the "big box giagantor strip centers of the burbs" - exactly why I would never move back to Texas. Cincinnati >>> Texas.

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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Apr 30, 2013
Me scaring years off my mom's life
If you're an attorney - the legal market here in SLC is pretty rough. We've got two law schools for a mid-sized market AND most of the LDS kids who go away to law school try to get jobs with the firms here. Where'd you go to law school? Having a diploma from a T14 will still get you in most places here.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 30, 2013
Horseman
oh yes that is true.... i know a lot of other attorneys who went to school in SLC and I believe there is a network for those associated w/ the latter day saints.

No i didn't go to a T14 law school but I'm a patent attorney which helps with finding jobs.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Apr 30, 2013
The southwest is probably the best area of the country for weather/rock accessibility. If you're married to the idea of a major metro area, then I'd recommend Las Vegas, Salt Lake, and Denver. Each has massive amounts of rock within after-work striking distance (i live 7 minutes from Red Rock, i'm 15 minutes at any given time from roping up at our nearest crag).

Of those three, only Las Vegas is climbable 12 months a year- Denver and Salt Lake both can be climbable in the winter, but its more hit and miss, and lots of those folks can be basking in the sun on our sandstone for most of the winter.

Other places I'd consider for rock availability year round and employment- Tucson, Moab, Grand Junction, maybe.

I long pondered re-locating out of Vegas- people give it a bad rep, but those people have never lived here. Or if they did, they probably didnt climb much. Its definitely got an interesting flavor to it as a community, but frankly, imho, it cannot be beat for both local rock (literally thousands of sandstone and limestone sport climbs, thousands of sandstone trad climbs, and thousands of boulder problems, all within about 25 miles of the city limits) and rock you can get to in a day (pretty much anywhere in the southwest: Joshua Tree (3hrs), Yosemite (6.5hrs), Moab (6hrs), The Front Range (11hrs), Rifle (7hrs?), etc, etc). Basically, the only major area in the west you cannot get to in a day from Vegas is Smith Rock. It's also dirty cheap to fly to pretty much anywhere (I fly to the Red once a year for usually $300-400 round trip, $200 round trip to Seattle, Portland, anywhere out west, really).

Its always up to you, but definitely dont pass by Vegas just because its Vegas. Its basically nice here for 10 months a year, and the two months its hot, we spend at 8000' lounging in the shade, cranking on limestone. Hard to beat!

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By Austin Baird
From SLC, Utah
Apr 30, 2013
Me scaring years off my mom's life
Yep - I've got a buddy who practices patent law out here. PM me if you're serious and want contact info.

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By Eric8
From Framingham
Apr 30, 2013
I think either would be quite a bit better than your current location. I'm from Seattle but live in Boston now. When I moved to Boston I thought the weather in New England would be better based on what people on the internet say...which was dumb. I would say the weather is far better for rock climbing in Seattle than New England. Yes, it rains a lot in the city (in winter) itself but 2hrs east is desert. You can climb rock every week from March-November, if not longer Plus there are always a few nice weekends every winter with temps in the 40-50s...Outside of Colorado, Utah, Az and Cali not many places can beat that. If you want a real city that rules out Utah. I wouldn't move to Colorado, I know to many people who have and moved back to the Seattle area. Az and Cali would also be worth looking into.

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By cnadel
Apr 30, 2013
While not climbing related, being a patent attorney in Seattle has got to be a pretty good gig... Considering the vast market of tech/biotech/design companies here, the demand for patent attorneys is probably pretty high. All the previously stated comments are pretty spot on. The Exits stay wet/really cold from late October till about now (I'm finally hoping to get back to one of them this weekend for this first time this year). You definitely can find refuge from the rain/darkness on the East side of Mt. Rainier... Vantage and Tieton River offer winter/spring sunshine and enough climbing to keep you entertained. There's also some great gyms here fwiw.

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By Cory
From Boise, ID
Apr 30, 2013
Relaxing in the Tuttle Creek Campground after a fun day in the Hills
What about Boise? I moved here almost two years ago to increase my climb-time/drive-time ratio, and I've been loving it!

To address the points in your post:

Proximity to good climbing:
Due to the weird shape of the mountain time zone (Boise should really be PST if it weren't for the "tooth" sticking out of the MST) we get massive amounts of after-work daylight hours. June and July it's light until almost 10pm. The ability to climb after work (which I define as light until at least 7:30pm) extends from sometime in March to sometime in October. Almost 8 months of the year! When you do climb after work, the Black Cliffs offer a bunch of fun sport and trad routes on basalt that can be accessed via a 1/2 hour bike ride from downtown on the greenbelt bike path. Table rock offers convenient bouldering on sandstone within city limits. As far as after work climbing goes, the only places that I know of that might rival Boise are Boulder and SLC.

Other nearby climbing areas include City of Rocks (2.5 hrs, ultra-classic sport and trad), countless lesser-known yet really fun sport climbing areas within 2-3 hours, and mountains close enough that you'll have to think of a better excuse than "can't get enough time off work" to avoid some alpine fun (whether that means ice, rock, or snow is up to you)!

Other than a few rainy/snowy days (less annual precip than Los Angeles, and waaaay less than Seattle/Portland), and maybe a few days in January where it's just too cold, climbing season is 12 months long. I've climbed multiple days every month of the year since I've lived here. To put it in perspective, I moved here from Southern California, and I feel I've improved my weather situation.

Gyms: Two good ones to choose from.

Proximity to other outdoorsy people: Whether it's climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, or just floating the river, a lot of people in Boise like to get outside and get after it!

As far as being single here, I can't really speak to it since I imported the MRS with me; however, there is a really fun downtown scene with lots of great bars and a ton of tasty local brews.

As far as jobs in the law profession, I don't really know. It is the capital of Idaho, so there should be some. Then again, this is definitely a smaller city than Portland or Seattle . . .

Good luck wherever you go. My wife and I made the improve-our-quality-of-life move two years ago and don't regret it one bit.

Cheers,
Cory

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By TheBirdman
From Eldorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 30, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
I'm a patent attorney which helps with finding jobs.


If you're a patent attorney a bunch of firms of hiring in CO. Sheridan Ross, Cooley, and Bryan Cave. In addition, if you troll cobar.org (the employment section) or craigslist for Boulder or Denver, I see a bunch of patent attorney opportunities. Since the patent bar is a national bar, I'm not sure if you'd have to take the CO bar to practice her but, if you did, it's the UBE now which gets you into most of the western states.

From,

Another attorney who should try and get into the patent bar.

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By Steven Groetken
From Durango, CO
Apr 30, 2013
On top of Hitchcock Pinnacle.
climbing.com/route/climbervill...

This is a pretty good article where, ahem, my hometown got número uno. It took into account quite a few factors which seem to be what you're looking for. First, of course, climbing. Tucson has the Catalina highway on the edge of town which goes up to the top of Mt Lemmon at an elevation of about 9100'. This means that when our nice mild winters set in you climb amongst the saguaros, and when it's hot as balls in the summer, you just drive up the mountain, lose 20-30 degrees and climb in the pines. On Lemmon there's roughly 2000 routes, most being sport. There's also the beautiful and stunning Cochise stronghold, which happens to host Beanfest twice a year.

We have two gyms here, rocks and ropes, which is a staple, with pretty much everything you'd need, and the Bloc which is a bouldering specific gym. Except for monsoon season and a few hours a day in the winter, it doesn't rain here, so there's little reason to be in the gym unless you only have an hour or two to climb.

The article also looked at unemployment and cost of living. Even though you see the name Boulder absolutely everywhere on MP, it costs quite a bit to live there, and you have to compete as an attorney in a town that attracts lots of attorneys. Granted, the climbing is better, but unless you're climbing to support yourself, career tends to come first.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 30, 2013
Horseman
Thanks for all the awesome city suggestions! It's good to know there are so many places in the US to live conducive for climbing. Boston is out, Tuscon, Boise, Vegas sound interesting. Yeah, isn't it weird how among climbers Vegas seems distasteful (as would Miami) but most other people love going there for vacation.

Having lived in NJ, Houston, Washington DC & Akron OH I thought I hit the jackpot with Cincinnati in terms of proximity to a crag (but it's here I started climbing), but it looks like there are tons of other possibilities, and no one seems to be voting for Cincy.

Most patent jobs are not in good climbing areas - DC, NYC, Chicago... some in California, and yes, Seattle.

Birdman, thanks for the Colorado tips, and the UBE info - incredible to move between those great climbing states without having to take more bars. Did not know they came out with such a thing. I'll have to sit for another bar, no reciprocity yet. While the patent bar is federal and patent attys get more leeway, firms like their attorneys to be barred in the state they are in. Yes! Take the patent bar if you have an engineering degree. Or market yourself for patent litigation which is more exciting than pounding out applications.

lol yes, the career comes first :/ I remind myself "I'm a professional atty not a professional climber." I'd starve if climbing were my profession, but had I known I would enjoy it so much, I might have have chosen a profession which includes massive amounts of free time.

Thank you for all the recommendations! I'm inspired to hatch a plan for my "improve-my-quality-of-life move"

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
May 1, 2013
Caprinae monkey wrote:
Will S, how do you know about the chilli obsession?


Somehow, I always end up having my training classes for work in the Cincy area. Other than driving through there en route to somewhere else, the only time I've spent there is for work. Yeah, the chili thing is kind of a WTF?

I'll second the Tucson recs. Great town for all the reasons mentioned. There is also a great road-biking scene in Tucson, if you're into that.

FLAG
 


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