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Why do you live in the Northeast?
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By J Miles
From Queensbury, NY
Apr 24, 2012
Flatirons
As a climber and someone who (I assume) likes to be outdoors why do you choose to live in the Northeast? This isnít meant to be a question of what is better (East vs. West), but more of an insight into what everyone enjoys, and doesnít enjoy, about living here since itís something that Iíve been thinking about for the past few years.

I live here because:
This is where Iíve lived since I was in middle school, I have a good paying job, the cost of living is relatively low, traffic isnít that bad, my family is here, my wife knows a lot of people in her field and has a good chance of getting a good paying job, there are a number of great climbing locations under 3 hours away, there are a lot of places to go hiking, swimming in the lakes and rivers is awesome.

Iím tempted to move out West (possibly CO) because:
Thatís where I lived before I moved here, they get more sun, the winter isnít as cold, there are more options for climbing, black flies arenít an issue (not 100% sure how accurate this is, or if there is something similar), most of the places that I want to visit are out west (I could make them extended weekend trips and drive to these places), I could be close to a large city and still have my choice of outdoor activities.

Again, this isnít meant to be an East vs. West post, but rather me thinking out loud, getting some feedback, and hearing everyone elseís reasons for living here. Thanks in advance for your response!

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By J mac
Apr 24, 2012
Zermatt
You are correct that black flies are not an issue here in CO. We have Mosquitos but not bad at all compared to a lot of places.

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By Travis Dustin
From Hollis, NH
Apr 24, 2012
Lost in the Sun pitch 2
#1. Family
#2. Job
Ive traveled around the country and spent extended amounts of time in different regions, but Ive always come back east. I could live out west for a couple of years to explore but my home is the Northeast.

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By cms829
Apr 24, 2012
high e
Same here basically..

#1 - Family is all within the Northeast from NJ to Upstate NY
#2 - I have been at my current job for 11 years, and while I dont have an incredible salary, I have good benefits, a retirement plan, and a pretty good schedule and a generally understanding boss when it comes to taking time off. I also own a small masonry construction business on the side and own lots of equipment and small machinery. It would be difficult to move my business, or expensive anyway.
#3 - I do enjoy the Northeast, especially in the fall and winter. I also enjoy being within driving distance from the coast, or the middle of nowhere.

I have thought about moving out west, and thought I may be happier. But its really hard to say. My lifestyle leans towards places out west, but I would miss having family around. Plus, friends out in Colorado have had an extremely difficult time finding good reliable work. Thats what makes me the most uneasy about moving out there.

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By J Miles
From Queensbury, NY
Apr 24, 2012
Flatirons
Thanks for the good responses!

cms829 wrote:
Plus, friends out in Colorado have had an extremely difficult time finding good reliable work. Thats what makes me the most uneasy about moving out there.


It would suck to take the leap and then be laid off soon after.

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By cms829
Apr 24, 2012
high e
Especially after leaving a solid job I had been at for 11 years, and a business that ive owned for 4 years. HOWEVER, I also dont feel like living in Northern NJ anymore. Im just in a holding pattern right now while I figure some stuff out. Im waiting for a certain someone. If it doesn't pan out, I'll figure it out from there. The only thing holding me in this specific location however is work. I wouldnt mind moving north somewhere. Still be able to visit family for holidays and such. But New Paltz and the surrounding area has been on my mind lately.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Apr 24, 2012
I've lived in the mid-Atlantic, Vermont, and California, and have spent significant chunks of time, both working and traveling, in UT, CO, WY, NV, WA, BC, etc. I'm moving to CO in a few months.

I like both the East and the West (of the US, that is). No, actually; I like PARTS of the East and PARTS of the West. When living on one side of the country, it is easy, and wildly inaccurate, to paint the other half with a very broad brush. I have met westerners who think that all of the east is one big flat, sprawling, rude, polluted New Jersey. I have met easterners who think that all of the west is one big magical Estes Park-like wonderland. Looking at the country as 3 regions (east, west, and flyover) is not adequate resolution. The east has some wonderful areas and some areas that really suck; same is true of the west.

So, I can't give a good answer for why someone (such as myself) would live in the East. There are many parts of the east that are not pleasant places to live (as a climber, that is). Much of the Mid-Atlantic megalopolis is a terrible place to be a climber. Chilly, damp winter; hot, humid summers; long distance to any good climbing; no real mountains or wide-open space; rain; pollution; too many people; high-strung careerists; etc. I grew up in Maryland, and left as soon as I could.

I can give a very good reason for why I enjoyed living in northern New England. I lived in Vermont for a while, left, and am now back for the spring. It is a really nice place to live (landscape, culture, etc), and it also has great outdoors offerings. The landscape is beautiful, the towns are pleasant and livable, and the culture is a unique blend of traditional and progressive, which I find that I really like. I really like the people here; they have a lot of substance to them. There is also great access to a variety of outdoors activities. The mountains are smaller than in the west, but they have a lot to offer. The climbing is excellent. The scale of the landscape is smaller, so things are usually fairly nearby. The landscape is lush and green, and the forest is beautiful. The seasons vary, providing endless variety in weather and activities. You can climb year-round, so long as you like ice climbing. It feels like home.

I will admit that New England is not the best place to be if climbing is your only focus. In the west, there are bigger mountains, better weather, and more variety in rock and landscape. I have lived in the West for 2 years now (except for this spring), and will be continue to live in the West for a while. Still, northern New England (and other parts of the East) is a great place to live for a variety of reasons, and the availability of climbing is only one of them.

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By Don MacKenzie
From Seattle, WA
Apr 24, 2012
Two words: grad school
Two more: wife's career

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By Josh Wood
From Oneonta, NY
Apr 24, 2012
hotlum / bolum route on Shasta
I live in the NE because my wife won't move to AK. Actually, she won't move anywhere.

I just have to remind her of that when I take my yearly vacation to go out west.

We both have good jobs, but I would much rather live somewhere else and have a crappy job.

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By Colin Parker
Administrator
From Idyllwild, CA
Apr 24, 2012
Bouldering in Joshua Tree
I was born in Upstate New York (Rochester) and went to college in Virginia. I've been up and down the east coast and have done lots of hiking, canoeing and camping, but not much climbing over there. I love the feel of the Adirondacks and the Blue Ridge mountains, and I've heard there are wonderful climbing nooks scattered throughout these parts.

When I turned 22 I moved to Madison, Wisconsin for two years. Without Devil's Lake, this would have been a miserable time. Even so, I still had to leave as soon as work allowed.

Next for me was California. I fell in love with Cali on business trips that I had taken from Wisconsin. I still remember that feeling on the first few trips where Cali was like an entirely different world to me. Joshua Tree was an alien landscape (I'd never even seen a desert before). And my first drive up the General's Highway in Sequoia in March was absolutely mindblowing. The Great Western Divide left an imprint for sure. Now, I've been living up and down the West Coast for the past seven years. I'm presently in Portland, OR. I will never live back on the East Coast, especially in the cities, but I do relate to people who find the traditional beauty of the East more to their liking. For me, at my present place in life, the grandiose nature of the West is still alluring, and I am still discovering amazing places unlike anywhere else (Canyonlands and Arches were the two most recent, and I look forward to the Grand Tetons). On top of this, I find the sort of people I've been meeting in Portland and the Bay Area to be more to my liking. I had much more trouble making friends in LA. It's hard to feel like part of a community in the midst of such sprawl.

Anyway, this country is massive and beautiful, and I feel blessed to have the freedom to explore it.

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By pooler
From Albany, NY
Apr 24, 2012
I have lived out west and here in the east and I can honestly say for me I feel like I'm an east coaster that happened to live in California for a few years. Every person I met out west could tell within minutes of meeting me I was not from there and I truly never felt at home there eaither. Don't get me wrong I lived about 30 minutes from Yosemite and it was awsome, but just not home. The Adirondacks feel like home to me it's a whole different experience than out west. My brother on the other hand LOVES Denver and says he dosen't think he'll ever move home. So I guess my point is that each place offers such awsome things it really boils down to where you personally feel at home, because home is more than mountains,weather, and cliff. It's a feeling.

P.S.the northeast is not to shabby for that climbing thing we all do eaither.

Pooler

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 24, 2012
El Chorro
I don't live in the NE, but I grew up in N. Carolina and took more than one long road trip up to the NE. I think it's the only other part of the US that I would like to live. When I say live, I mean LIVE, not hang out and work at a bar for a few months like I have in most every region of the US.

The reason I like the NE is the same as the SE. People are real, and tell you how it is. They are honest and kind enough, but they don't take any bullshit and don't give any out either. What you see is what you get. I don't find that this is quite the same in the West. ANd maybe that is why some people DON'T like the NE, because of the brutal honesty. But for me, that is the real world and it is what I want around me.

Also, my family is here, my heart is in the NC mountians. Cost of living is cheaper, things aren't a billion miles apart from each other, and the cities have much more soul than most of the metro areas out west.

From a climbing stand point, the rock quality is better in the east and crags are MUCH MUCH less crowded. I also find that you run into less bumblies and know-it-all douchebags in teh east than you do in the west. I'm obviously biased.

I like the old school ethics that we have in the east. From the Dacks and the Gunks to NC to the trad in the far souteast, the climbing here is real, and you must have some idea of how to place gear to climb at most areas. The west obviosly has dozens of areas with the same feel, but I have been to A LOT of sport areas out west that would have been left to natural gear if there were in east.

You can't argue with the big beautiful mountains out west and the sheer amount and variety of climbing. THe consistant weather and the amount of climbers means more climbing days per year than in the east.

As I have said before, I do not choose where to live based on climbing. If I did I would probably live in Boulder or Bishop or Moab, etc.

There is more to my life than pulling on rocks... a lot more. I choose where to live based on many other things and then dive in head first to whatever climbing happens to be close by. I suppose that makes me different than many people on this website, but it's what makes me happy.

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By John Douglass
From Seattle, WA
Apr 24, 2012
NRG
Grew up in SLC and moved to NJ in 2006. These are some of the things that brought/keep me here:

1) My wife was in grad school in NJ when I met her
2) Finishing up a doctorate within the next year myself
3) Lots of my extended family live in NJ
4) Cities nearby chock full of history, people, food, arts, music, culture
5) Gunks, ADKs
6) Diabase bouldering!
7) Awesome ice and mixed climbing an hours drive away
8) Surfing!
9) Small freestone streams with wild trout
10) Cheaper flights to Europe = more $ to spend on french wine or belgian beers

While I've never regretted moving out to the Northeast, I do miss the mountains, weather, snow, and frontier spirit of the West. And the stars are only faintly visible here. Guess that means I'm moving back westward next year...

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By Eric G.
From Saratoga Springs, NY
Apr 24, 2012
I agree with everything Ryan Williams wrote. I've been around, lived in Tahoe for several years, and I'm back in the East. I would rather climb and explore in the dacks than any other place I've visited out West--it's real, it's honest, I like the ethic, substance over style, and it feels right for me. That not to say I don't miss the grandiose wild places of the West--of course I do--but I just belong here at this point in my life.

Part of me is nervous to leave Vermont for my job in Albany this summer, but I keeping find reasons to believe that I will find what I'm looking for there as well.

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Apr 24, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on
1.) Grew up here

2.) Go to school here

3.) the Dacks are amazing, and we're close to NH, ME, and not terribly far from awesome beaches of NC

Also Eric, I live in Albany. If you ever want a climbing partner lemme know. I'm pretty familiar with the 'Dacks and really wanna check out some of the southern stuff this summer

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By kenr
Apr 25, 2012
I have no idea why a climber would live in most of the NorthEast, instead of somewhere out west or in Europe.
The greater New York City is region is different, and I'll gladly speak for that -- above all ...
  • great job market for highly-intelligent highly-driven -- even better if clever enough to figure out a strategy to keep basic living costs down (and can avoid getting trapped into the competitive-consumption status game).
  • best public-transportation network in North America -- so a couple can commute to two good jobs without the expense of a second car.

also:
  • mid-week climbing in the quiet uncrowded Gunks
  • interesting smaller rocks in east PA (even NJ)
  • lotsa non-stop flights to great rock with easy access for alpine trad + valley sport + seaside(!) sport climbing in Europe.
  • indoor climbing quality comparable to the big-city gyms in Europe.

  • some of the world's best groomed-track cross-country skiing in the Interstate-87 corridor - (why I don't do much ice climbing in winter). And great off-track ski-skating on melt-refreeze corn snow in city parks + golf courses.
  • easy driving to Adirondacks climbing adventures by I-87.

  • world-class road-bicycling in the Hudson river valley and eastern PA -- and an amazing collection of super-steep road-bike climbs in west + northwest NJ
  • some of the best road-skating + road-skiing in the world, on wonderful smooth asphalt.

  • excellent training nearby for approach-hike hauling - up and down the stairways in my apartment building, with or without heavy backpack.

  • lotsa non-stop flights to the world's best American-style backcountry ski mountaineering -- which is in France. Leave work Friday afternoon for the airport, wake up in Geneva the next morning, pick up rental car, skinning up on a quick ski tour by lunch-time Saturday.
  • Eastside southern Sierra springtime backcountry skiing + climbing: Lots of times I've left work a little early on Friday afternoon, pick up rental car, then food+supplies at an all-night supermarket, then met friends for breakfast at their camp in Bishop on Saturday morning.

  • (current woe: Not enought non-stop flights to Salt Lake City for winter backcountry skiing)

Ken

JDouglass wrote:
Grew up in SLC and moved to NJ in 2006. These are some of the things that brought/keep me here: 1) My wife was in grad school in NJ when I met her 2) Finishing up a doctorate within the next year myself 3) Lots of my extended family live in NJ 4) Cities nearby chock full of history, people, food, arts, music, culture 5) Gunks, ADKs 6) Diabase bouldering! 7) Awesome ice and mixed climbing an hours drive away 8) Surfing! 9) Small freestone streams with wild trout 10) Cheaper flights to Europe = more $ to spend on french wine or belgian beers While I've never regretted moving out to the Northeast, I do miss the mountains, weather, snow, and frontier spirit of the West. And the stars are only faintly visible here. Guess that means I'm moving back westward next year...

FLAG
 
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 25, 2012
El Chorro
kenr wrote:
I have no idea why a climber would live in most of the NorthEast, instead of somewhere out west or in Europe. The greater New York City is region is different, and I'll gladly speak for that -- above all ... * great job market for highly-intelligent highly-driven -- even better if clever enough to figure out a strategy to keep basic living costs down (and can avoid getting trapped into the competitive-consumption status game). * best public-transportation network in North America -- so a couple can commute to two good jobs without the expense of a second car. also: * mid-week climbing in the quiet uncrowded Gunks * interesting smaller rocks in east PA (even NJ) * lotsa non-stop flights to great rock with easy access for alpine trad + valley sport + seaside(!) sport climbing in Europe. * indoor climbing quality comparable to the big-city gyms in Europe. * some of the world's best groomed-track cross-country skiing in the Interstate-87 corridor - (why I don't do much ice climbing in winter). And great off-track ski-skating on melt-refreeze corn snow in city parks + golf courses. * easy driving to Adirondacks climbing adventures by I-87. * world-class road-bicycling in the Hudson river valley and eastern PA -- and an amazing collection of super-steep road-bike climbs in west + northwest NJ * some of the best road-skating + road-skiing in the world, on wonderful smooth asphalt. * excellent training nearby for approach-hike hauling - up and down the stairways in my apartment building, with or without heavy backpack. * lotsa non-stop flights to the world's best American-style backcountry ski mountaineering -- which is in France. Leave work Friday afternoon for the airport, wake up in Geneva the next morning, pick up rental car, skinning up on a quick ski tour by lunch-time Saturday. * Eastside southern Sierra springtime backcountry skiing + climbing: Lots of times I've left work a little early on Friday afternoon, pick up rental car, then food+supplies at an all-night supermarket, then met friends for breakfast at their camp in Bishop on Saturday morning. * (current woe: Not enought non-stop flights to Salt Lake City for winter backcountry skiing) Ken


OK, I get all of that. And don't get me wrong, I love NYC. But how valuable are all those non-stop flights when you get, what, 3-4 weeks vacation? Why not live in a big city in Europe where you get 6-8 weeks off? Long weekends away are great, but a nine day trip every other month is a lot better!

Proximity to climbing and all the other great reasons that make the cities out west such "climbing paradises" don't matter if you work as much as the average American. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do that again!

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By doligo
Apr 25, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
I also agree with everything what Ryan William stated. After years of living in NYC, I found myself in a small town in SW Colorado, which I love. But there are a few things about NE that are better than here in my opinion:

1. No BS - in the NE people are generally more considerate when it comes to other people's time so if they won't/can't make the appointment/date/meeting/climbing they are most likely to let you know and reasonably in advance.
2. Business ethics - I'm baffled at the way businesses mark up MSRPs (here or Moab). The excuse is always "it's tough to make money in a small market". Locals are less likely to spend much money, so the price-gauging is targeted towards tourists. While, I'm a big proponent of shopping local, this turns me off so I try to find better deals elsewhere. My question is would a business rather make 20% profit margin instead of 40% or just loose a customer altogether and make zero profit margin?
3. Work ethics - many times I've heard "climbers are not reliable" around here when I questioned why gear shops don't employ climbers who know their shit. Climbers or non-climbers, people in the NE tend to have stronger work ethics.
4. Climbing is more varied in NE, IMO (unless you live on Colorado Front Range). I've met more one-dimensional climbers here who are only good in one style of climbing than back East.
5. Grades/weather/elements/ethics that keep you honest.
6. Low avy danger.
7. Food and art/theater/culture. Nuff said.

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By Eric8
From Framingham
Apr 26, 2012
Funny how perspectives influence peoples opinions or maybe it is just a matter of small sample sizes.

Also, I don't think it is fair to compare the NE to all of out west. Colorado, Utah, California, and the PNW are all very different from a cultural and climbing standpoint.

I live the northeast because at the moment it presents career opportunities that do not exist in Utah, Cali, or Washington. Which would be my preferred locations next to the northeast. My favorite thing about living here is the variety of rock with quality routes. Within a couple hours drive you can climb on granite, schist, gnesis, quartz, and several other types of rock.

The reasons for not living here would be the weather and complete lack of real mountains. Props if you can routinely fly to France and pull of hard alpine routes in a 3 day weekend to get your mountain fix. I'm not motivated enough or risk reward level seems to high for me to attempt...

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By Jonathan Steitzer
From midcoast, maine
Apr 26, 2012
Masochism.

har, har.

But in all seriousness-

1) The little lady
2) Sailing

FLAG


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