/ Climbing info for US climbing trip

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wave1art - on 23 May 2013
My girlfriend and I have just booked a long trip (three months) to the west coast of the US with the primary intention to climb. In the UK I have a lot of knowledge of the best climbing areas but I don't really know where to start to pull together a list of crags to visit in the US or where to get the best topos (is there something like the great UKC and Rockfax guides?).

Our current plan is to start in California and to pick up a van for the duration. We have friends in several places in Colorado and Oregon so were thinking of a loop to include: Yosemite, Utah, Colorado, Teton and Oregon (at least as far north as Portland). We will be in the US from the beginnning of August until the end of October. We boulder and climb trad and sport. We don't climb super hard, topping out at around f7a+, and prefer relatively well protected and more technical climbs to bold or scary routes.


Three questions therefore:
1) what are the best resources, online or offline for US climbing in general or specifically for the areas that we will be passing through?

2)Are there any areas/crags in particular that you would recommend to visit, even if they are a little off route?

3)Given that we will be there in late summer does anyone have any recommendations for the order in which to do the trip?

Many thanks for your help!
Toby
victim of mathematics - on 23 May 2013
In reply to wave1art:

Beginning of August is (i seem to recall) high season for Tuolomne, which I haven't been to, but looks ace. Late September/October is perfect for Yosemite and Red Rocks, which is definitely worth a visit.

Not climbed or been anywhere else round there except Joshua Tree, which was a nice place, but I wasn't bowled over by it as I was expecting to be. I'm planning to go back to Red Rocks in October, but I won't be bothering with the drive down to Joshua Tree again (although I'm keen to visit Zion, that looks amazing).
Minneconjou Sioux - on 23 May 2013
In reply to wave1art:

I would go to Yosemite first as it is higher and therefore cooler. You could take in red rocks on the way through Vegas and then go on to Zion but Zion is really big wall stuff. I would then go into somewhere like Durango and the mountains around there and then back into Utah and go to Moab.

You are still likely to be into some hot weather but I'm not sure if you want to back track or make it a circuit?

Can't help with the resource bit I'm afraid.
Martin Bennett - on 23 May 2013
In reply to wave1art:

As an on-line resource I'd start with the Mountain Project website here: http://www.mountainproject.com/ which is very good indeed in my view.

Perhaps the nearest thing to Rockfax is Supertopo who do selected guide books and have a helpful website here: http://www.supertopo.com/

Falcon do a series of state by state selected climbs guide books.

That's about all I know on the resources front. You seem to have picked the plums when it comes to venues, but if you're heading North from Utah into Wyoming for The Tetons (or vice versa), and you can fit it in, I wouldn't miss The Wind Rivers Range, especially The Cirque of The Towers.

On the where/when question, maybe earlier in your trip it'll be cooler in your most Northerly locations? I don't know as I haven't been there. If in Yosemite NP early in your trip and it's hot in the valley it should be perfect at Tuolomne Meadows. Red Rocks seemed to us to be perfect in mid October. If you do go there don't consider any guide book except Jerry Handren's.

You might consider a deviation which can be done in a few days from Las Vegas to have a look at Zion Canyon, whether you intend to climb there or not - it's as impressive in it's way as Yosemite is. And 50 miles further is Bryce Canyon - no climbing but the craziest landscape imaginable.

No doubt your friends in Colorado will have all the gen you need but we particularly liked Eldorado Springs Canyon near Boulder and Lumpy Ridge at Estes Park beside Rocky Mountain National Park, which of course also gives you many many Alpine style rock climbs. Incidentally it also gives you access to the village of Nederland with it's hippies and excellent micro-brewery! (several good ones also in Boulder). The Black Canyon of The Gunnison is also ( and here I just have to use an over-used expression which I hate) "awesome", and not to be missed.

'av a good 'un - how can you fail to?!

Mike Lewis - on 24 May 2013
In reply to wave1art: I'm very jealous.

I'd head for the high-up stuff in Colorado and Wyoming early on (I guess stuff like Grand Teton would be getting chilly by September). You can then loop round into Oregon, and Yosemite will be perfect from late September to October.

There are far too many awesome places to climb to list them all, but the Devil's Tower is well worth the trip over from the Tetons - it'll be scorching hot, but you can get stuff done with an early start, and it's unmissable.
Ged Desforges - on 24 May 2013
In reply to wave1art: I did a fairly simialr trip last year, only starting in september. Tuolumne meadows is a good bet for August, and is stunning. Lots of good stuff around Mammoth too that is high up and cool. It's worth a triup up to the Incredible Hulk if you like long walk ins and multi pitch climbing.

Smith Rock in oregon is superb, but will be very hot until late September. We stopped at the City of ROCKS in Idaho, whgich is a good bet in September, and absolutely brilliant, especially for the grade you climb at. I'd really recomend making the time to stop there.

Dave Williams - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Martin Bennett:
> (In reply to wave1art)
>
> Falcon do a series of state by state selected climbs guide books.

These are good and can be purchased here in the UK for more detailed advanced planning. www.rockclimbing.com is worth a gander too.
>
> .... but if you're heading North from Utah into Wyoming for The Tetons (or vice versa), and you can fit it in, I wouldn't miss The Wind Rivers Range, especially The Cirque of The Towers.

There's loads to do in the Moab area in Utah; well worth a 2-3 day stopover. Wyoming's Cirque of the Towers is an incredible place; definitely not to be missed and well worth the effort of getting there, with fantastic rock climbing. There are the inevitable bear issues but plenty of current advice will be available at the Big Sandy trailhead/ campground.
>
> The Black Canyon of The Gunnison is also ( and here I just have to use an over-used expression which I hate) "awesome", and not to be missed.

+1
Just scrambling down one of the more challenging access trails to the base of the Canyon is an experience in itself. Permits required here, to both climb and hike, available from the ranger station (not always open though).
>
> 'av a good 'un - how can you fail to?!

Agreed! :)

Dave

Martin Bennett - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Martin Bennett:


" . . . . Incidentally it also gives you access to the village of Nederland . . . "

Oops - slipped up there when I accidentally deleted a reference to Boulder Canyon which, surprisingly, is near Boulder. It's the road up Boulder Canyon which ends up at Nederland. Sorry - I'd hate to be the cause of you missing a really good bar!
Minneconjou Sioux - on 24 May 2013
In reply to wave1art:

I guess part of your problem will be temperature and distance and altitude. This will then mean compromise as I doubt you can be in each area at its optimum season.

What I would do is try to choose the area you most want to visit and try to meet the optimum month for that and then plan the trip around it if possible.

Many people who live in the UK do not quite get the scale of the place but provided you are prepared to drive long distances (which are really easy driving) then you'll be ok.
piton - on 24 May 2013
I've climbed a fair amount in the places you're headed except for Colorado. Pretty spot on beta in the replies. You could easily spend the whole trip in California. Toulumne is perfect in August as are some great areas around Truckee / Tahoe - like Lover's Leep and Donner's Summit. I think October is the best time to be in the valley. A lot less people and usually perfect weather.

The Tetons and the Jackson area is spectacularly beautiful but not much cragging. There's some high quality multi-pitch routes up Death Canyon and a lot of long, scrambly alpine ridge type climbs if that's what you're after. September could be good there but is also starting to get a bit cold.

Zion is one of my favorite places to climb but while the climbing is high-quality its pretty adventurous as well. The later part of September and October would be good there. I'd also try to get to Indian Creek, which would be good in October or chase the shade in September.

Not a ton of climbing in Oregon, except for the Smith Rock area. Worth a visit though. If you go, figure out how to get to an area called Trout Creek, which is not far from Smith. Lots of perfect splitters on really nice basalt.

You really can't go wrong.
Jenny Monkey - on 24 May 2013
In reply to wave1art: my husband and I have just got back from a trip and climbed at red rocks, zion and a couple of places in arizona which i guess would be a bit off your intended route! Both Red rocks and Zion were fantastic, I fell in love with zion, its such a beautiful place to climb, I would recommend it to anyone heading around that area as its stunning and has such a variety of climbs! Enjoy your trip, I'm so jealous!!
wave1art - on 29 May 2013
wow! thanks for the advice from everyone. This gives me quite a lot ideas to start with. I guess the problem will really be trimming down to a sensible hit list from all of the potential places!


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