17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
As Iím stuck at home studying (see procrastination) on this glorious day I thought I would pose a question to the chockstone brains trust to hear peoples thoughts.
My g/f and I are heading to South America (peru, Bolivia, argentina) and Canada for an extended period of time and we are thinking of basing ourselves in Banff to ensure a decent combination of climbing, snow boarding and work.
Anyway, as we are not set on any particular place in Canada, does anyone else have any other suggestions? Our only real requirements are we donít want to be in a big city, we need to work and we want to climb when itís a bit warmer (sport & trad) and snowboard when its colder.
Thankfully time is on our side so we arenít really limited to one place so any recommendations are more than welcome.
Thanks for the tips
(we may even squeeze a short trip to Cuba in as I have been told the climbing is worth checking out)
Rockies have good skiing, quite good weather by canadian standards, some awesome rock, and infinite limestone choss (with cool routes, if you like choss)
Coast, (living between vancouver and whistler) has good skiing, quite bad weather by any standards, and the best granite in the universe
Given guaranteed good weather, I would rather be on the coast. Given the actual weather, rockies might be a better bet. Either way, canada rules! Make sure you get into mountain biking and kayaking too to make the most out of the oportunities (i.e. rain)
On 16/05/2010 DSPIES wrote:
>As Iím stuck at home studying (see procrastination) on this glorious day
How shit is being stuck at home doing bloody uni work (procrastination) when all your friends are out climbing! I should be writing my literature review right now for my thesis...
I dont really have anything to offer on this topic...it was just good to see other people are uni working (procrastinating) and not out having fun.
On 16/05/2010 DSPIES wrote:
>Stuck at my desk since 9am 'working' = looking at flights, chockstone,
>the Age, emails, staring out the window, more flights back to chockstone...oh
>and i think i did about 10 minutes work in there.
mmm, sounds familiar .... I didn't even both trying to study and went climbing yesterday, only to wake up at 4am stressing about essays, got up, wrote til 5 30, went back to bed, got up again at a decent hour and went climbing again. Sadly, I was so trashed from yesterday that I only had one decent go in me and flailed miserably after that. So then we decided we were meant to work on the house instead and now I'm here, mmm, not much essay getting done.
thanks for the replies folks.
Bariloche has now made it onto the 'must do' list for Argentina.
We are also considering various options in Canada.
A friend mentioned that banff might be a particularly annoying 'young crowd' so we are also looking at Jasper and will now have a look at Canmore.
I've never heard of revelstoke but it's pretty difficult to tell the difference between half these places on the net.
We will also prob head over to squamish in the warmer months but again, a lot will depend on where we can find work.
As for study, yesterday wont go down as one of my more productive days. There is nothing worse than making the decision to stay home instead of climb and then do SFA work. i may as well have headed out.
Right...back to study...
I can second Bariloche, although the best climbing (trad) involves a 3-4 hour hike from the ski resort (Villa Catedral) + access (which ranges from 5 minutes to >1 hour). There is apparently quite a bit of sport climbing around the lake foreshore. I don't ski, and was there over summer, but the ski resort did seem pretty impressive and apparently it gets dumped on.
Second....climbing, paddling around, although all second priorities to the snow and terrain...be good to know how to tour though as there's a lot backcountry, and the nightlife is rubbish. Best Canadian resort been to by miles...I reckon i only found half the spots after 5 months....and some pretty regular (and cheap) bud aplenty aswell
So, sounds like a pretty similar trip to one I did a decade ago. Mostly walking/touristing in Latin America then outdoor sports/drinking in Canada.
My big ol' tip is: Don't bother climbing in South America
It's like this, south america is f---ing huge, there's heaps of cool nonclimbing stuff to see, the climbing is either expedition style or isolated bits spread out 1000's of km apart.....and you probably won't have a car. So, you'll be humping all that climbing gear plus camping gear in and out of buses and hostels and trains, carrying it on your back all over the shop, then storing it all somewhere for weeks while you go walking.....major hassle. I carried harness and shoes for 6 months, didn't use em out once, must have unpacked and repacked them 200 times :(............then I got to central america and had a whole pack full of useless nylon (tent, warm clothes etc.) when all you need there is a toothbrush and a spare shirt!
Better to just be a walky tourist (maybe even hire a tent for the month you'll need it), travel light, get over climbing for a bit. Then, when you hit canada, buy a new rope and shoes (you'll do that anyway cause stuff is so cheap), get yer mum to post the rack, and hit the alpine rock in a big way to burn off all the beer and chicken derived flab which you'll have put on (I managed to add 15kgs in 6 months, see if you can top that!)
Anyway, will be an awesome trip, I'm a bit jealous
if you are thincking about canadian rockies without the tourist invation, i sugest you canmore caus e it is way samller than banff and you re just 20 km out of the national parck. plus you got 3 sport climbing crag within 20 minutes drive and the first climbing wall is probably 35 min car and walk altogerther. baff is a party town and i do not rocommend you to live there.i ve been living in canmorefor the past 3 years and it is the climber meca of canadian rockies.
if you plan to spent a few time in the c.r. i will sugest you to go climb in the bugaboos in british columbia cause it is one of the best granit in canada not to say in the world!! it is actualy in a alpine setting like pantagonia ( smaller of course) witout the weater condition always bad.
if you want to climb early in the year or late in falls, Skaha in penticton is a very good place to go.
if you need any info about canadian rockies, i will exchange you info for some aussie climbing spot cause i am travelling here and don`t really know were to go execpt the grampians. etstboniface"hotmail.com
what Canmore lacks in international-bus-trip tourists it more than makes up in weekend-from-Calgary tourists. Either way there are many lifetimes of climbing (rock, ice, alpine) whether you live in Banff or Canmore. Both towns are only 20mins apart so you will climb in the same places regardless of where you live. Skiing, again endless opportunities, the Rockies typically has a thinner snowpack but this year stability was good (better than many areas of BC which is unusual). Winter is looong in the Rockies though, rock climbing season is from late April to late Sept at best. Skiing runs from November to late May (high icefields tours are best in spring). Lots of sunny days even in winter, sometimes its too cold to do anything outside, although those cold spells don't last long. Also there is lots of good xc mountain biking, loads of hiking, good paddling, caving, you won't be bored. Cost of living is not cheap, easy to find work but you'll probably be shocked at how low wages are.
Jasper is nice - lots of climbing (ice/rock/alpine), good xc mountain biking, paddling. the skiing isn't as good as further south (Banff/Canmore). less snow & its a bit colder, too cold & the thin snowpack rots. Jasper is quieter & a nice town, it will feel more remote than Banff/Canmore.
Coast/Squamish - lots of good skiing, awesome rockclimbing when its not raining, mountain biking (xc & scary downhill) & Squamish is also a world-famous windsurfing/kite surfing destination. It rains LOTS.
interior (eg Revelstoke). The ski hill is massively over-hyped but still better skiing than the coast or the Rockies, Revy is 30mins drive from Rogers Pass (ie the best ski touring in the world!). The town is very quiet, you will find it harder to find work, but overall its cheaper to live in. There is quite a bit of rockclimbing, haven't climbed there myself but I've never heard anyone says its bad. Not much ice climbing - too much avy hazzard unless you have intimate local knowledge (ie jump on routes only when you know its slid already & hasn't snowed since). Rogers Pass & the Selkirks have good summer mountaineering. Some of the big rock faces in the Selkirks rival the Bugaboos, they're just more remote otherwise they would be a popular as the Bugs.
PS: the Bugs can be a gong show at times.... beautiful but it does get busy (short season, really only July & August).
Thanks for the tips folks.
It might come down to throwing a dart at the map and nearest town mentioned above wins.
Thankfully we have time so if we don't like where we are, we can try and move somewhere else.
I've looked at pay and unfortunately most places range from $7 to $12 hour. If you're lucky they throw in accommodation or a season ski pass, but i'm guessing the budget is going to be tight.
we'll still take our climbing stuff to south america 'just in case'. when i was in Ecuador the climbing was nothing special, (the mountaineering was good) but its often a good excuse to get off the beaten track and meet some locals.
Anyway, thanks for the tips. Definitely makes my day go quicker hitting the refresh key on the thread waiting for updates. That might sound boring to some, but only those that aren't studying.
On 18/05/2010 james wrote:
Skiing, again endless opportunities, the Rockies typically
>has a thinner snowpack but this year stability was good (better than many
>areas of BC which is unusual).
stability was good in the rockies this year cause the snow was so fukcing sh*t....louise, and sunshine are super lame unless you're looking to parade around in your baggy getup sitting on top of a jump deliberating for 10 minutes about whether to go....the stability would have been shit there had it not been for the 3 month dry spell with no snow creating new layers resulting in no avy danger.....therefore no powder....
seriously don't go to banff....you'll get std's.....even if you have a girlfriend....they just float around the air there,,...touch a phone booth....uh, genital warts....how'd that happen..,,people go to banff because they're lonely and they're no good at anything in particular....I knew some people there this year who were excited about 5 cm pow days....what the fcuk.....
You have to work out where your main priorities lie....
if it's snow and decent terrain, choose between Revy, Kicking Horse, Fernie, Red mountain, castle mountain....
these places don't have a park though so no jumps/rails/douchebags.... others might say they're overhyped because they're std infected rail sliders.....
I just came back from living in Squamish for 18 months - it was, in a word, awesome.
Squamish is the little town (bit of a crackhead town but what small town doesn't have a problem like that) that is always in shade in the morning because of the MASSIVE 700M VERTICAL WALL OF SOLID GRANITE that overhangs the town. There is more climbing in that area than you can shake a stick at, seriously.
The gear is cheap, you (I) hardly ever have to go into Vancouver, and for skiing you have the recently upgraded Whistler just to the north, which of course just hosted the winter Olympics this February so that means new highway finished and plenty of spare housing around because they had to put all the athletes somewhere. And for the price of a ski pass you get to ski on not one, but TWO massive mountains with hundreds of kilometers of terrain to ski.
I found work while I was there putting up drywall (GIB-board) for a company in Squamish. Found myself travelling a lot to whistler for work (olympic buildup meant more buildings going up, so more drywall to put in, so more work for me, heh) which isn't bad because it's like 40mins drive and that's nothing in those parts, and I had a car. Plus a lot of the good climbing spots are along that highway - heaps of good sport routes in Cheakamus Canyon or if you want to get into REAL trad (which I highly recommend) you can try anything and everything in any other area that is around - that vertical wall I was talking about? it's called the Chief and has that name for a reason. After a while it's quite comforting to look up from whatever you are doing in your day to day life and see it peeking over the next building, watching over you and the rest of the town...
The climbing is a bit different to victoria, you will get good at crack climbing and slabs, and you'll find that cams are a bit more use than nuts, which surprised me when I came here because nuts seem to fit so much nicer into victorian rock than cams did, which I had been using for so long in squamish. You can get away with a squamish rack which consists of 10-12 cams and one (yes, just one) set of nuts, and quickdraws. Single 60m rope is also okay for most things there.
Trad climbing? HEAPS
Sport climbing? heaps, plenty to keep you busy for a month or so
Opportunity to develop your own routes? Heaps, but you will find that after 10 years your route will be overgrown again after no-one climbed it for so long because there is so much established/easier to access climbs to play on. I saw lots of overgrown routes on good rock back in the bush. Shame really because they are good routes on great rock.