/ Best place to live for climbing, skiing, outdoors
People have suggested Boulder, Colorado; Utah; Vancouver... any more ideas?
Wanaka or Queenstown maybe, or Te Anau. I could live in one of those.
Zurich over Geneva?
A friend of mine who lives out there really misses it.
No gritstone or sea cliffs here so its not got everything!! Flippin annoying to be able to see the alps from the office window (coz that means I am in the office working !)
It'd be awesome to have after work access to anything, and then day trips to other places.
Frankly anywhere that's closer to the great outdoors than London would be a start...
Banff, Canmore. Depends on what sort of job you want of course.
Have mates who work all week in Calgary then back home Friday afternoons for mountain madness and they love it, why wouldn't you!
Wanaka on South Island New Zealand would do it for me.....
We're pretty spoilt for that here, huge amounts of bouldering and plenty of crag climbing within an hours drive - some that are ok to reach on public transport too - and then in the summer it never really gets dark so you can climb until 11pm or even later. Ice climbing in the winter too, but only little stuff- it's a shame it's so far to anything mountainous.
I guess the problem with Stockholm is that I don't speak Swedish... I don't mind learning, but I would guess that I'd struggle to find a job in the first place...?
Presuming you are a Brit, you can just turn up anywhere in the EU - so from Stockholm to Lisbon and you can be there for 3 months looking for work.
Stunning scenery, Full on Outdoor Lifestyle, English speaking, Kiwis arent a bad bunch and not as full on as the yanks or canadians. and i have spent time in all 3 countries so i know how annoying it can be sometimes with some of the people.
only drawback is how far it is from London
Well at the moment I'm just in the daydreaming stage... but I like my daydreams to have at least a little bit of realism :)
London is an amazing city though, and there do seem to be a bunch of London based climbers who get an awful lot done on weekend and holiday trips. Ramon's blog is good for that sort of psyche for example: ramonmarin-uk.blogspot.com
In my house - I am where it is at.
Sold. What's your address, and do I need a visa?
> Sold. What's your address, and do I need a visa?
No visa required for EU citizens.
I live in Cadine, a village just outside Trento at the top of the Sarca valley (i.e. Arco and rock until you drop, summer and winter, all styles and all lenghts to well over 1000 m) with a ski resort and ski touring above the village (I skin up in the evening after work and descend the piste in moolight). Icefalls nearby in winter, which is also when our local lake freezes and we go ice skating (swimming and sunbathing in summer). Brilliant for MTB. We have a little hut in the forest nearby, in an old WWI bunker system where bears roam. I have developed a number of small limestone crags around the village for evening cragging and bouldering, sport or trad. Dolomites are all around. Granite peaks too, with glaciers and classic style mountaineering. Local microclimate is much better than Alpine average. The food and wine is excellent. People particularly friendly. The women are Italian.
But sorry, I'm not planning to sell my pad any time soon. In fact you would have to kill me to get me to leave. (However, there are plenty of properties up for sale).
Only bad thing - I now hate going anywhere on holiday, or indeed for work. I mean, this month I have to go down to Tuscany where I am paid to drink wine and be lazy and I hate it - just counting the days to get back home!
Hehe, I knew someone would say that and it's a fair point.
It's the reason that me and my lass didn't hang about there for too long. That said a friend of mine who moved over a couple of years ago got some decent work (IT) in Queenstown without too much difficulty. Guess it depends where your expertise and experience lie.
If the only considerations are those you list, then Melbourne.
And you can visit a winery on your way from the climbing and skiing to the surf if that's your kind of thing.
> If the only considerations are those you list, then Melbourne.
I'm not sure I agree with that. Melbourne's a great city to live in, but the access to decent climbing isn't great. I'd say 3.5 hours at least, although I haven't been to the Cathedral Ranges yet, which is more like 2 hours. On the other hand, the climbing is really rather good when you get there. The skiing is okay (but still about 4 hours drive) and there don't seem to be many mountaineering possibilities. Even the surfing is a good hour's drive.
Having said all of this, I do love the area and probably get a lot more done in the outdoors than I did in the UK. Jobs are abundant and pay well too. I get the impression Sydney is better for quick access to stuff though.
Squamish / Whistler
- Skiing (inbounds and backcountry) / sledding / climbing (bouldering, trad, big wall and alpine) / biking (world class downhill and xc) / kayaking (whitewater and sea) / hiking / paragliding / kiteboarding / sailing
But I was quite happy in Strathspey before I changed in jobs & would go back
The OP lives in London which is a better place to live for climbing than Melbourne in almost every way. The crags are closer, the variety of climbing in the UK is far greater and the quality overall is better. Font., Catalonia, Provence and The Alps are all world-class and easy weekend destinations. Compared to most world cities, London is well-placed for a keen climber. The major thing it lacks is easy access to rock for a midweek evening session.
The European suggestions up-thread would be good, as would Vancouver/Squamish, Boulder/east slope Rockies, Salt Lake City, Reno/Tahoe area, Las Vegas/eastern Sierras.
I saw the Melbourne guidebook when I was in Australia last Xmas. None of the local stuff looked huge, but their appears to be a lot of rock in and around the city. London doesn't have that. I guess besides S. Sandstone, London climbers don't get many chances to do after work cragging.
Any restrictions on what kind of job you want?
My experience is within UK, but I suspect the general differences between city/smaller place closer to mountains applies further afield.
I found that I didn't particularly enjoy living in Bristol, despite it having a fair deal of outdoorsy stuff in the city (climbing, mtb-ing), easy access to some great sea cliffs, easy access to airport etc. I wanted less people, more space, and something approximating to a real mountain!
Cumbria works much better for me. Needed a change in job, but that was easy enough to achieve. Plenty of evening/weekend stuff within easy access (inc most of Scotland for weekends before kids - much easier doing it from Cumbria than Bristol). The downsideis that transport links to other places aren't great - it's at least a 2 hour drive to an airport, for example, or a trek down the busy UK motorways past Manchester/B'ham/London if you want to drive to Europe. But the benefits of being able to climb after work, or go for a fell run between finishing work and picking up the kids, outweigh that for us.
A combination of better weather, uncrowded campsites and easy driving does make weekend climbing trips much more appealing in Melbourne than in London though. And Arapiles is *really* good. And don't forget that weekend trips to New Zealand are also entirely possible.
I have to say, when I said that Melbourne wasn't the best place for climbing/skiing/mountaineering I was thinking more of somewhere like Vancouver than London, but Vancouver's not as good for surfing!
That's what I remember it looking like, although most of the stuff around where I live could be described the same way! Some climbing has to be better than no climbing. :-)
Well, if controversy is a criterion, it seems like it has to be Melbourne!
Climbing within an hour of the city is not great but there's plenty of good places a Londoner would be pleased to have as day trip venues: Cathedral Ranges (sandstone), Granite up towards Seymour, and in the You Yangs, some gnarly igneous near Ballarat, at the Camel's Hump, and at Hanging Rock (or has climbing been banned there?).
The Grampians and Arapiles are within easy weekend reach and both are world class venues.
Skiing - both downhill and cross country - is, iirc, closer to Melbourne than to Sydney. (I don't ski.) So too is the Centre - if the OP's "outdoors" can include one of the biggest and most accessible substantially uninhabited outdoor spaces in the world. For me, that would make up for not having such ready access to alpine climbing as we have in the south of the UK, or there is in New Zealand.
Surfing is not as close to the city; Sydney certainly wins that one - as it probably does for having most unexplored crags in easy access.
Oh, and according to the Economist, Melbourne is this year's most "liveable" city and Sydney 7th - which, as anyone who has lived in either will immediately acknowledge, is an accurate reflection of reality ;-)
>Any restrictions on what kind of job you want?
I work in IT / technology, which was sort of my limiting factor - I'd probably need to be in / close to a big enough city to offer me some hope of a career, but then I was struggling to think of cities that also have easy access to the things that I spend all my free time doing.
I feel I have come across a bit harshly towards Melbourne. I certainly don't regret moving here. My climbing has suffered, party due to worse access and inferior indoor walls (compared to Newcastle in the UK), but largely due to spending more time doing other stuff, like surfing.
To the OP: it's worth pointing out that, since you work in IT/technology, Melbourne is a very good option from a career point of view. With a bit of experience you could easily walk into well paid job here. If you have the flexibility it's worth considering spending a couple of years down under. If you like it, great. If you don't, you at least get to travel round Australia and NZ, and climb at Arapiles (worth the trip alone) with probably no negative impact on your career and finances.
Glad you like Melbourne. I really enjoyed my time out there. If you're missing longer routes in a day's drive of the city, have you tried the Cathedral Ranges? N Jawbones has some nice climbs.
Job schmob. If you really want to know this- take the pain and go see them all.
4 seasons in a day!? Is this your first year?
I remember 6 week dry spells, especially in autumn, iirc, when the temperature was a steady 25-26 - fantastic. Enjoy the Jawbones, and listen out for the Lyre Birds (if they are still there).
I'd say Tamworth is a pretty safe bet to cover all your needs
The positives are pretty obvious, with the beautiful area of the Zillertal and south tyrol very close by, but I think the disadvantages are less obvious. It's a very bland place, and also very cold for a lot of the year. You either become a machine or one of those generic 'dude-shouting' snowboarding types, but either way I actually found individual expression pretty difficult. The outdoors is a big deal there, but you do it THE WAY you're supposed to do it.
If you don't like forest trance you may struggle to find any decent nightlife too ;)
Calgary. Booming economy. World class skiing, ice climbing and choss only an hour or so's drive away. If you're really mental, you can live in Canmore and commute.
I think if you're under 30 it's quite easy to get a 2 year temporary work permit.
Cape Town is fantastic for everything except skiing (although there is a ski club for real enthusiasts).
However, as well as fantastic trad, sport, bouldering and hiking, there's also sailing, surfing, diving and paragliding to compensate.
Trondheim (Norway) works well for me. You can try Ondra's new route, it's about 3.5hrs up to Flatanger.
There's a bunch of good crags within bicycle distance of the centre, and Hell (where I met Ondra the first time - if it's good enough for him...) is 40 mins drive.
Skiing - 25 mins drive to a small resort and ┼re and Oppdal (biggest resorts in Scandinavia) are both about 2.5hrs drive. Lot's of ski touring - I do day trips.
As for tech - NTNU is probably one of the biggest tech uni's in scandinavia, lots of tech jobs here if you have the right qualifications. Everyone speaks english. Or do a phd, you get paid loads.
Boulder is where I live and ticks all the boxes, but unless you are American the visa situation will be be your problem.
My brother and his wife have spent 3 of the last 5 years living in Wanaka and Queenstown, they managed fine financially doing pretty basic jobs, but are back in the UK topping up qualifications and gaining professional experience, which they struggled to do out there.
I used to live in Munich for 2 years - Skiing & Climbing etc. - Access to the German & Austrian Alps. Lots of international companies so German might not be required, pop. 1.4 million, good standard of living, good & cheap beer.
Now living in Basel, Switzerland - similar access to Swiss & French Alps, pop. 160 thousand(!), high cost of living unless you're on a local contract (which is possible), International companies (pharma).
Personally I prefer Munich to Basel.
I've just walked up Wansfell from the house to see the sunset. There's lots of cragging nearby, and I have walked to Dove Crag and Scrubby Crag from the house. I've put my skis on at the front door to do a tour up Red Screes. I've walked out of the house on crampons to do an ascent of a frozen Stock Ghyll.
On a Friday evening we can drive to Glencoe, North Wales, the Peak, Yorkshire or Northumberland and have the tent pitched before the pubs shut. We are midway between Pembroke or Cornwall and the far north of Scotland.
Kendal is close by, with its Wall and Mountain Film Festival (and the Brewery Arts Centre, and fast trains to London).
We get some rain now and again, so it's always green, there's good kayaking, and we don't normally have to worry about hosepipe bans.
Oh, and we've got a five-screen independent cinema, gear shops, a climbing wall, and the Golden Rule.
Got to go - it's a clear night and we are hoping to see the Northern Lights (they were seen from Cumbria last night, and I've seen them from our back door before).
In my believe it all comes down to the most important factor: motivation. Everyone has a different reality and you can make it work almost everywhere, so my advice is instead of looking far away, look how you can improve your motivation closer to home. But if you are unhappy where you are just for other reasons than outdoor life, yes, im an advicate for change. It funny that most people dream to live near the mountains, i did exactly the opposite, from barcelona, to dolomites, to london. Only in london is when i've become a very fullfilled climber.
Some notes from one who has thought about this a lot and tried a few different places. My motivations were trad climbing first, other adventures second; climbing that is ideally reachable for evening sessions and there should be plenty of weekendable remoter options.
For that reason, I would rule out NZ entirely I'm afraid, just not enough quality rock.
Melbourne is like living in London in terms of crag access.
I currently live in Vancouver. World class rock, snow, biking, water sports, mountaineering yadda yadda. But the cragging is very seasonal, if I want to rock climb this time of year, I need to head over to the dry side (East) which is 4-5hrs minimum. The snowline is still above 3000m so not much skiing yet either (Oct/Nov are real thumb twiddlers). Also, Vancouver rains a LOT outside of Summer, (but I think you get used to it). Squamish is an hour away, so its pushing the limits of evening cragging and the local Vancouver crags are limited. Living in Squamish is an option, but it might melt your brain in Winter and finding a job is tricky.
Sheffield is kind of hard to beat for trad crag access, semi-reliable weather and somewhere potentially jobbable. And its nicely central for lots of other UK venues.
The only place I've been to in the States I would remotely consider living is Boulder. Nice city, reasonably sane, bonkers amounts of rock and some amazing weekend venues within reach.
Utah is always a pleasant surprise when leaving Nevada, quite hippy in places. But apart from SLC, everyone seems to live in the sticks, finding good work would be desperate.
Unfortunately the indoor walls are, in general, nowhere as good as those in the UK.
Cliffhanger in Altona is definitely my favourite. Hardrock Nunawading is okay. Hardrock CBD is convenient but super busy and I don't like the climbing that much (I don't think anyone does). People say Bayside Rock is good but it's a long way for me to drive (I live in the north) so I haven't been there. The Lactic Factory (a bouldering wall) is really convenient for me so I tend to go there quite often. It's small, relentlessly steep and the holds can be a little greasy, but I'm starting to get into it.
Yeah, there's no shortage of places like that if you ignore the work aspect.
I would say beautiful Boulder, CO, which is where I'm from and my parents still live. :)
The obvious question being... why on earth did I move to Scotland?
What? I agree that it is if you want lots of multi-pitch routes, but even then the journey to the Grampians (ca. 3 hours) or even Arapiles (ca. 4 hours) is much easier than to the Pass. And if it's a day trip, the Cathedral Range offers plenty of decent multi-pitch routes at VDiff - low Es within a couple of hours. And then there's plenty of other stuff in less time than that.
Yeah, but as I said, my main criterion for cragging was access. Cathedral is still 90 mins +, so no proper evening cragging, and its hardly jaw dropping. And there's plenty more rock than the Pass less than 3 hours from London.
I'm not slagging off Melbourne, I think it's a great place, but one of the best cities in the world for a climber / mountaineer? No.
Inverness is not bad.
Gap, you'd struggle with work.
Grenoble you might stand a chance.
Brianšon, just forget it, you're unlikely to get a decent job there coming from outside...the locals love it there too and they struggle.
You have great sailing / sea kayaking on your doorstep with the Firth of Clyde, and if you can go a bit further you have almost more options than a lifetime could explore fully.
For mountain biking there are loads of trails in the various forests nearby, some of which are official and well publicised...
Mountaineering and climbing - LOADS.
And of course there is a great music scene.
Or you could try Edinburgh. The Seven Stanes tracks are closer. Most of the Highlands are as accessible. A different kind of culture, a different vibe, less rain. And the Forth is also worth exploring, but again a different character from the Clyde.
> In my believe it all comes down to the most important factor: motivation.
I think you're right to a certain extent. However, since I returned back to London my outside climbing has gone from almost every weekend to one weekend in the UK this year. I think partly this is motivation but it is definitely also due to transport and weather.
In Tokyo I could reach good-ish crags within 1.5 hr by train and great crags 2hr or so by train. Weather on the whole was very reliable.
Living in London, you really have to make a huge effort - and spend a lot of money - to get climbing done outside regularly.
Personally I rate Tokyo as a good place for outside life. Climbing, beaches, skiing, surfing, scuba all available < 2 hours from central Tokyo by train. If you can speak Japanese and have relevant skills there are also jobs. I imagine I'll move back there sometime in the next few years.
As a place solely for climbing/mountaineering, I agree, but that wasn't the OP's question.
And if my only choice was Melbourne or London, I know which I'd choose!
> As a place solely for climbing/mountaineering, I agree, but that wasn't the OP's question.
I know, otherwise we'd all be in Chamonix etc.
Totally, I wasn't recommending London! Just commenting that its non proximity to crags is a useful metric as its similar to Melbourne's.
I had a great time in Geneva for two years. Awesome amount of climbing/skiing/mountain biking in easy reach. Chamonix little more than an hour away. Plenty of stuff in the Chablais/Aravis off either side of the road to Cham. Large international community to go climbing with. It's expensive but if you can find a job then they pay well and it's not too bad...
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