This is kind of a two part question. First off, I started climbing at the beginning of september, and as I've only just got a harness and a rack (albeit a small one) now, I haven't had a chance to do much other than bouldering, and maybe toproping a couple of times.
So, I really want to go away climbing next year, I've saved up some money, and I reckon I'll be able to get up to 6 weeks off work. I want to go somewhere where I can camp for more or less the entirety of the trip, and do nothing but climb, run and hike every day. But mostly climb.
So, my questions: what kind of level should I try and get to to make it worthwhile. Should I get coaching, do workshops, or just try and simply get as much roped climing done as possible? I guess its somewhat irrelevant, but I'm bouldering at v3 consistently, starting to do v4s.
Secondly, where would be the best place to go? I was thinking Yosemite, but I've heard it's a bit difficult and as such maybe not suitable. Don't want to get there and find I cant do anything!
What sort of climbing do you want to do? The locations will vary massively depending on whether you want single or multi pitch, trad or sport. As will the training you need to do between now and then!
Some thoughts to get you started:
A traditional cheap trip camping venue is Siurana in Spain. You can do it without a car by getting a taxi from the airport, and by hitching or walking down from the campsite to the village for food on your rest days. There's a variety of crag orientations so there are options for sun and shade depending on exactly how hot it is. Most of the routes are single pitch sport climbs, there are some Fr5s but realistically for the length of trip you are looking for going out there looking to lead mid-6s would be advantageous, although obviously if you do it properly you should improve massively on a trip of that length.
The area round the Gorge de la Jonte in the south of France gives you single and multi pitch sport, as well as some trad should you so desire. You can camp in Le Rozier and from there you could walk up into the Jonte, or drive to Le Boffi or the Gorges du Tarn should you wish - the lower grades in the Jonte allow some lovely multipitch to be done, Boffi has some excellent routes in the mid-higher 6s and up whilst the Tarn is probably best for the very high end 6s and above, although there are a scattering of good easier routes.
In reply to AJM: I want to do trad, whether it's single pitch or multipitch, I don't really mind.
If I was out there for 6 weeks, how often would you reccommend actually going out climbing? As much as I would like to do it every day, I feel that's just asking for an injury. I climb one day on, one day off currently, would I be able to do more than this?
yosemite might be a bit of a push just cuz the size of it and ur small rack, includinging ur experiences u probs wont get as much out of it as u would if u went somewhere like spain or france. or even further afeild but starts getting more expensive then. just try and get as much climbing in as possible and ur grade will slowly increase !! and have fun sounds awesome 6 weeks out :O
If I'd go on a six weeks trad climbing trip, I'd be having a rest day once a week probably.
I think it depends on you, your condition and how much you do each day. Would you have a climbing partner with you or are you thinking going yourself and hooking up with someone out there? Because that, I think, would be a major concern when selecting an area.
Is there that much valley trad in Ailefroide? I'm wondering whether May might be rather early for the mountains up there, and my recollection was that most things in the valley, barring a few, we're basically clip ups.
Hmm... If you want trad then my recommendations might not work so well, I don't in all honesty think there's 6 weeks worth of trad in the Jonte doing it exclusively.
I'm not sure where I would recommend for trad in Europe for a trip of that length. I suppose there's the Czech sandstone, but that all looks a bit specialist, but a lot of the other obvious choices are in the mountains and could still be snowbound in May.
Perhaps the states - Gunks or Red Rocks or something - but I don't know what conditions are like in either of those in May. Or Arapiles, but again I don't know anything about conditions.
Oh, and if you're trad climbing then I would be very dubious you would be pulling hard enough to injure yourself. Rest whenever you need - on a sport trip I usually do 2-3 days on between rest days, but for trad I could probably double that, or if you mixed up easy and hard days you could have active rest doing easy classics.
If you read the OP, he says that he just wants to "simply get as much roped climing done as possible" and that he only has a small rack. Unless I've misread it, he doesn't specify trad climbing. I've been lots of times in May and the weather has invariably been lovely.
In reply to AJM: My grandparents live in California, a couple of hours from Yosemite, which is where that idea initially came from. The States would definitely be doable, I may even be able to get "subsidised" travel if I visit them during the trip!
It may be a very unfashionable suggestion, but have you thought of climbing in the UK? You want world-class trad with good conditions in May, sounds like N Wales, Pembroke, the Lakes and Cornwall would fit the bill perfectly.
Also, obviously I don't know your situation and so on, but chances to do a big long trip don't come along so often. If you can hold on a year, why not do that, broaden your experience of climbing, soak up some climbing books and articles from the mags, and you'll have a better idea of what you want to do. It may be that you love bouldering, but long routes leave you cold. Or vice versa.
Essentially wait until you've seen a picture that makes your jaw drop to the floor and flood your body with the "I want to go THERE!" chemicals. Then sort out your trip, and go.
> (In reply to AJM) My grandparents live in California, a couple of hours from Yosemite, which is where that idea initially came from. The States would definitely be doable, I may even be able to get "subsidised" travel if I visit them during the trip!
In this case, I would definitely consider the States! There is easier stuff there too. Otherwise I'd go for Europe. South off France or Spain perhaps.
In reply to seankenny: I'm (hopefully) going into the Royal Marines in September, so my situation is changing a bit. Have never really done much travelling so I wanted to get away for a bit before I start training as a kind of token gap year replacement.
Oh in that case then go as far away as you can! California is great, not just Yosemite but also Tuolomne and the high Sierras for mountain cragging. Easy to meet people and great weather. It being America, you'll probably need a car.
In reply to as646: The gunks mate. You can camp at camp slime for free after you get a annual pass, which is 85 bucks. Its 5 minutes WALK from a life times worth of some of the worlds best single/multipitch trad climbing whatever grade. Just visit the town of newpaltz every week or so for cheap supplies. You will offset the flight by how cheap it is to stay after two weeks. Also you can spend a few days in nyc either way aswell if you want. Got back from a month trip 6 weeks ago. Feel free to PM me for more info.
In reply to as646: Rule number 1 - you cannot rely on anyone you hook up with being any good in terms of getting you both out of trouble, so get yourself skilled up on self-rescue & prussiking. You don't seem to have much trad experience although your physical climbing standard is fine. I'd recommend doing as much adventurous trad as you can before you go to build experience. There's nothing worse than going somewhere like yosemite wanting to do a particular route and finding out that you're not competent enough to do it. Yosemite is pretty much pure cracks, so you'll find them hard for the grade unless you get a lot of trad mileage in on cracks to hone your gear placing skills. Good luck wherever you go!
How about Arapiles? Enough trad climbing for 6 weeks, all accessible by walking from a single campsite. People tend to put notices up asking for partners, and stay for ages. May would be a great time to go.
and I would agree with getting in plenty of multipitch climbing, just to get your ropework, route finding skills, abseiling etc up a bit. Your technical climbing will be fine - it's the rest of the stuff you need to work on.
In reply to seankenny: I agree with his choice. There's a lot more than Yosemite - my daughter lives in Silicon valley,used to climb a lot until she fell 1500ft down MtShasta last year - that's another area for you.