/ 1 year North America trip - Where to go

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c1imber on 05 Mar 2013 -
Planning a trip to North America, because of the visa arrangements in the US it would be likely a 90 days in the US 6-12 months in Canada and then another 90 days in the US.

I only sport climb/boulder so looking for locations best suited to that style and also ski so somewhere to do a ski season would be great. Sport/boulder grades up to F8a/Font7C if that's relevant.

I'd prefer the sport to be steep limestones but unsure if there's much of that in the US?

I enjoy bouldering equally as much as sport climbing so somewhere with excellent bouldering is essential.

I'm thinking boulder, CO for the US and somewhere in Alberta for Canada but would love specific suggestions. Is it even worth travelling to North America? I'm going to experience living somewhere other than the UK as much as anything but would I be better off travelling around Europe? Would like to get working visas whilst i'm still under 30, that's all!
r.king - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber:
I spent a winter in Revelstoke BC. Certainly if your into your snowsports then it's a great place to be. Didn't stay for the summer but heard great things about the area. From my housemates I heard that the US was far cheaper for living in and I did find the basics (food + beer) expensive, but then again it was 2 hours from the nearest town.

There are plenty of amazing areas to visit but compared to Europe theres not so much on the cultural front. Most towns on the highway are based on logging and railroad work with a lot of it looking rather rundown.

Visa took some time to get the application together and processed. I have one more available working holiday visa before I'm 30 and will be using it for sure.

Cant help you on the climbing side of things.
Michael Ryan - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber:

> I only sport climb/boulder

You sport climb and you boulder. You need to drop the 'only'.

> I'd prefer the sport to be steep limestones but unsure if there's much of that in the US?

There is lots and word class: Rifle and other places in Colorado, Clark Mountain in California, Mount Charleston (and other places) in Nevada, many places in Utah....some in Canada.

A suggested itinerary is a big ask; I'll have a think and I'm sure you will get many suggestions.

I would stay in the Western USA; Colorado, Nevada, Utah, California.....and you will great great skiing/boarding in CO, UT, CA....and great bouldering..... although some of the sandstone sport/trad in the East is world class.

Alice.001 - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber:

Hueco Tanks, Texas

Yosemite & Joshua Tree & Bishop California

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Indian Creek, Utah

Those are the best of the best--of course there are others.

Don't know much about Canada sorry!
ddriver - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber: This response from Salt Lake, btw. I'm afraid alice's answers won't be particularly helpful to you, especially re IC and Yose.

Boulder is a great place to land, but it is not especially known for sport climbing (and its not so cheap). I think Shelf Road would be the closest limestone sport of significance. Rifle is on the west slope of Colorado, so not that close. You'd be driving a bunch.

The preponderance of limestone sport in the western US is in Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. I suggest you look through the mountainproject database at those states. Areas of interest would be Ten Sleep, Lander/Sinks, and Wild Iris in Wyoming, Logan Canyon, American Fork, Rock Canyon, Joe's Valley in northern Utah, the St. George area of southern Utah (tons) including the Virgin River Gorge, and the areas around Las Vegas. There are also a bunch of lesser documented limestone areas in western Utah and eastern Nevada. You can find info if you look around or once you arrive.

If you're planning on Canada for limestone, look at Canmore in Alberta, its limestone central. Skaha in SW BC is also known as a sport destination, plus its right on the US border, has nice climate and has tons of orchards.

Skiing in the Rockies is excellent. Utah, Wyoming, Colorado have very good snow. Sierra and Cascades get more snow in general, but it tends to be a bit heavier. Canmore has great skiing nearby also.
Styx - on 06 Mar 2013
It would be criminal not to go to the Red River Gorge (Kentucky) in September/October! Absolutely world class steep sport climbing on bullet hard sandstone, don't even try and compare it to the crap we have here in the UK.

Overview here:
More detail:
c1imber on 06 Mar 2013 -
In reply to c1imber:

Thanks for the replies people, it has definitely helped.

Boulder is now looking less ideal, although I really wanted to settle somewhere with a really good climbing scene and a good indoor wall for when it's raining and for training.
c1imber on 06 Mar 2013 -
In reply to c1imber:

Is there much sport in BC, near Whistler? I know I said limestone but that's mainly because of me worrying about the roughness of other rock types.

If I can add in 'the seaside' with the things, the missus would be very happy indeed.
hamsforlegs - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber:

Just my input on Canada:

There is sport climbing on the Canadian west coast (in the Vancouver-Squamish-Whistler stretch). It's all worthwhile for those of us in the area, but probably not something to travel across the world for. The bouldering in Squamish is very good. It is matched for quality by plenty of Euro and USA destinations, but the setting is superb and the scene can be very good.

I have been in Canada for a couple of years and have loved it, but for a focus on sport and bouldering, the States is probably better if you have the option and can get the correct working visas etc. The weather in Canada can be a bit of a killer for much of the year if you want dry rock, and my (subjective) opinion is that the States has the edge in terms of cost of living, food and drink and culture/social-life. I have only lived on the West Coast, so someone with more knowledge of Alberta may contradict me on aspects of this.

The info above re. different areas of the western USA is worth following up IMHO. If it's a good summer, then a trip up to Squamish for the bouldering or to the Canadian Rockies for some adventurous sport would be a lot of fun, and could be a good bet since many areas of the US get fairly hot for bouldering during the summer. Remember that you can drive from Canada to California in a long day. The north/south distances are really quite small in terms of roadtrips and quick raids; it's travelling east/west that eats the time.

The visas are a complicating factor, but in 6 months in Canada you might want to think about your timing; at the height of summer (July, August, maybe September) you will get the conditions on the west coast and in the Rockies. Outside these times you may want to stay somewhere lower; Skaha in the Okanagan area of British Columbia and the areas on the fringes of the Rockies around Calgary could fit the bill, with more sport climbing and extended seasons in spring/autumn.

If you can live without climbing in the winter there are good ski opportunities in Whistler and the Rockies in Canada; it's worth turning up in autumn and joining in the massive recruitment processes that the resorts run. Be prepared for very high living costs.

Good luck getting it all worked out; there probably aren't any really bad choices. Just good ones and better ones!

ddriver - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber:

As stated above, the Red is supposed to be about the best sport in the US nowadays, but being in Kentucky is not ideal probably. There is though quite a bit of steep limestone/sandstone sport in that region, e.g. near Chattanooga in Tennessee and in northern Alabama. You'd also be near the New River Gorge, but I'm not sure how steep it is. I've never climbed any of these areas, mind you.

There is other sport around Boulder on sandstone, basalt, and granite, but it may not be what you're looking for, though I think its good. The bouldering in Boulder is pretty good, mostly on sandstone. I suspect Rifle is what you're after if you're climbing 8a as there's not alot below 7a and its steep. You could base out of Rifle town itself or perhaps Grand Junction. There are other sport climbing destinations in the area there, Millcreek in Moab being one of the better.

The other area in Utah that is reasonably steep with lots of routes is Maple Canyon, though it is cobbles. Its very popular. There are some caves around here, too, that are a bit under the radar. Bouldering in Salt Lake is mostly on granite, and there's a fair bit.

rpc on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to c1imber:
Bolted & limestone...sounds like you should check out El Potrero Chico outside of Monterrey, MX. ...should've mentioned multipitch also.

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