/ Ottawa/Montreal (QC/ON)
Planning a year of living abroad with the family, all dependent on job... but where would you live if you had to be there. Idea is to be on the English/French speaking border so no, rockies don't fit the bill.
I imagine that anywhere will be good for ice in winter. Open to suggestions. What is the rock climbing like near Mont tremblant?
Hoping to move out to Montreal soon too, so, bump
I can't comment much on Ottawa, though I know that there is some rock near by, primarily around Kingston, Ont., I believe.
Montreal has a number of crags within fairly easy access and an active climbing community, with even a few outcrops within the city limits. Most of the climbing is north of the city in the Laurentians. Val David, about an hour's drive north of the city is the most popular area with several crags and bouldering areas in close proximity to each other on good granite. Most routes are single pitch, but there are some 2. possibly 3, pitch options particularly on Mt. King. The area has a long (by east coast of North America standards) climbing history stretching back to the 1930s, so most routes are traditionally protected (or top-roped) though some of the newer sectors are well-bolted. Further into the mountains are a good number of other crags, with Mont Nixon, near Mt. Tremblant, being the most well-known with routes of at least 2 pitches.
Several other areas are south, west, or east of the city and some quite close to town, these include Weir and Mt. D'Argent. Further to the south, close to the US border but still not too far from the city are areas such as Mt. Orford (mostly bouldering and sport on volcanic rock) and Mont Pinnacle (Lac Lyster) with single and multi-pitch climbs. Across the border, but still not a far drive are the many excellent crags of the Adirondack Mountains in NY., frequently visited by climbers from the Montreal area.
In winter, ice climbing options are numerous, some very close to town including the famous Montmorency Falls. There are also several climbing gyms in the city for those days when it is even too cold for ice climbing.
I had an early morning 'brain freeze', Montmorency is just outside of Quebec City (which also is close to plenty of rock as well as ice) not Montreal. However there is indeed a lot of winter ice close to the city, the most accessible that I am aware of being along the same route as Val David but a bit closer to the city.
If your interest in the outdoors is strictly climbing I'd say Montreal. Montreal is ideally situated for access to the Laurentians (north of the city) - which includes climbing at Montagne D'Argent, Val David, Lac Gervais. Its also a relatively quick drive from Montreal down to the Adirondacks in upstate New York, the Green Mountains in Vermont (mostly of interest for ice climbing skiing!) and to New Hampshite (White Mountains and Rumney).
Ottawa has a few local crags for rock(Calabogie, Gatineau Park/Eardly Escarpment), and lots of ice climbing but folks from Ottawa (myself included) are usually driving to the stuff mentioned above (rock) that is closer to Montreal. That being said....Montreal is a much bigger city, with more traffic headaches etc. A major benefit of living in Ottawa is the overall proximity to the outdoors. I live quite centrally in Ottawa and I can drive to lots of outdoor fun in Gatineau Park in 20 minutes.
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