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North American climbing November to January

4:27:56 PM
Hi All,

Just wanting some advice. Planning a Round The World trip that will be finishing off somewhere in North America.

Where would be good for climbing (ice and rock) and skiing from Nov to Jan?

I've got two stops left and I'm thinking Utah and Alberta. But other thoughts include Potrero Chico, New England, Colorado, Wyoming, etc.


4:43:00 PM
I don't reccomened... Utah, Colorado, New England or Wyoming in winter! They are the only states i have been to in your list. In november it was heavily snowing in Moab and averaged about 5'C in the middle of the day. Even in southern Arizona it snowed on us every second day. Mexico or southern california (Joshua Tree) are the best bets.
5:24:22 PM
Whoa there Neil.
There is some excellent ice climbing to be had in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, spent several years there 1986-1991 and got to sharpen my front-pointing technique on steep water ice.
Rock-wise it is too bloody cold in the North-east, usually until April. Most of the States is less temperate than Aussie and so they get real winters where people freeze to death in their homes 'cos they lose power or run out of heating oil. There's some nice multi-pitch routes on granite in summer though.
Skiing-wise I can recommend most of the resorts in New Hampshire "when it's a good season", you could combine ice climbing with some skiing by basing yourself in North Conway. Further afield, I have been to Breckenridge Co, A-basin Co, and various places in Alberta Ca such as Sunshine, Norquay, Kananaskis and Lake Louise.

Jackson Hole Wyoming would be on my short-list of "must visit" ski resorts. Utah powder is also well regarded. Would trade all of them for Whistler/Blackcomb tho. (sigh)
- Steve

5:26:20 PM
ah yes. I was refering to quality rock climbing - not ice climbing.
6:41:11 PM
we had good weather in Moab at the end of Nov, which meant sunny 12-15C days, and minus 10C at night .... and technically winter hadn't even started. Ie it gets *really* cold in Utah. Joshua Tree is better, but it does snow.

6:54:54 PM
Days are really short as well. You will be tucked up in bed after dinner at 6pm! Don't expect to get out of the tent until after 10am... We managed about 3 hours of climbing a day in late December in Arizona...
8:00:30 PM
colorado isn't a bad choice to combine rock/ice/skiing, though january may be a bit early for rock. In march I managed to do all 3 on consecutive days near Boulder. Provided you have a car you can get to A-basin and lots of good ski resorts + ice in the mountains, or stay down on the plains for rock. Nice slabs near Boulder or some weird sandstone at Red Rocks south near Denver. There's even some reasonable ice an hour or so from Boulder in the gullies leading up to the mountains.
8:03:00 PM
Red Rocks outside of Las Vegas in nice in November. Sport routes as well as smoe very long trad routes.

Johan Vonshizzle
9:39:39 AM
Bishop - US Bouldering Central is best between Nov - Mar. Perfect weather in winter as there is the Sierra
Neveda's blocking fronts from the west and the White Mts blocking fronts from the east. It does get pretty
bitter over nite but during the day is usually good. Apart from the bouldering (Buttermilks, Happy & Sad
Boulders), great sport climbing can be had at Owens River Gorge. And Joshua Tree is only a few hours
away (great trad & bouldering). November, you could still get good weather for Yosemite. I lived in Cal a
few years back and went climbing in Yosemite in early Dec.
Hueco Tanks - even with the access restrictions - still world class bouldering - which you may be able to
combine with going down to El Potreo Chico.
It's usually a lot colder in Colorado but i've got friends who've still been climbing this past Nov around
Boulder and Shelf Road (2.5 hrs south) is a great winter sport crag.



9:50:01 AM
maybe the southern east coast states?

Red River Gorge - Kentucky
New River Gorge -

There is plenty of good sanstone climbing down that way...
10:43:37 AM
Good selection Johan.

I can only really offer climbing suggestions - Rifle in Colorado supposedly has good "sport" ice climbing with 10 second walk in's. Brilliant in the fall for sport climbing.

Ditto Johans suggestion of Bishop for bouldering, though with the access issues at Hueco is now super crowded. Owens is only best in the 5.10 to 5.11 grades. Above that the area suffers and aesthetically isn't great.

J Tree is a fair option. Also had some good days in Yosemite over winter, though the shorter daylight cuts some multipitches a bit fine.

Hueco - what can I say which hasn't been already said elsewhere. A stellar bouldering venue plus some reasonable routes. Access should still be okay if either side of the Christmas New Years weeks...If you haven't been to Hueco before, there is plenty to do on North Mountain alone which you still have unrestricted access to. Get details from and book early.

Enchanted Tower in New Mexico was okay in late October/November, as like most places is freezing at night but can be still okay for climbing.

Red Rocks - compared to our Australian Sandstone this place is average, climbing is okay.

Virgin River Gorge is still climbable in December - perfect redpoint conditions. After that I am unsure...
11:08:19 AM
On 22/12/2004 nmonteith wrote:
>maybe the southern east coast states?
>Red River Gorge - Kentucky
>New River Gorge -

Nope ......we checked out seneca and new river gorge (both in West Virginia) in mid Dec - there were icicles hanging off the rock at midday. Even at the base with gear, my climbing enthusiasm was easily outweighed by the freezing cold. I doubt RRG in Kentucky would be much better.

11:28:13 AM
We camped near Las Vegas (Red Rocks) in late December - and we spent the nights exploring the frozen lake with homemade 'skis'. Olive Oil freezes solid, toothpaste goes hard... camping in these conditions is getting fairly close to mountaineering... you have been warned.

This picture is from Indian Creek when we were there in late November.
11:43:29 AM
Why camp when there is a wealth of seedy motels going cheap in Las Vegas?(IMO the ugliest city in the world as the gambling seems to gather all the low lifes into this concrete and neon monstrosity)!

11:53:22 AM
We camped because it was fun and we wanted to tick 6 months of dirt-bag living. Ever poured lit petrol onto a frozen lake? Ever towed a person behind a car whilst they sit on an old spare tyre (also on the ice lake). It was fun times for sure!

11:56:40 AM
On 22/12/2004 dalai wrote:
>Why camp when there is a wealth of seedy motels going cheap in Las Vegas? (snip)

Because Neil is one of our modern 'hardmen' !

"... Luxury!; ~ why when I were a lad, we were so poor we ... " etc ?

11:56:44 AM
p.s. i also second your comment about Red Rocks Dalai.. i thought it was pretty average compared to Arapiles/Grampians/Blue Mtns or even Point Perp. Worth a week or so but its no mecca.

12:35:54 PM
Snmith rocks is worth a visit, though by Jan/feb the weather would be very cold. You can camp right there which makes it easy to setup for a longish stay.

If you going to ski you gotta tick Jackson Hole and Telluride (which also has ice climbing a plenty). Vail is not worth the travel , though aspen is great (though expensive accomodation wise).
1:22:00 PM
Smith Rocks is worth a visit, but by November when I left it wasn't the best weather (drizzle and cold, with next to no wet weather climbing options)

2:54:33 PM
Hey Elliot, hows tricks? As much as Vail sux, it has great waterfall ice, hmm, some that was way beyond my skill level too. I lived in Leadville for about 6 months, has pretty good rock there, plus about 4 14 thousand footers, all of which can be done on one day trips (in winter, never looked at them in summer). The skiing is great at Copper, A basin, and loveland, give vail a miss!

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