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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 25
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Friday dreaming of a climbing holiday (USA)
DSPIES
24/05/2013
11:41:59 AM
Well its Friday and im bored at work so Im dreaming of a climbing holiday.

What are peoples recommendations for a 2 week climbing holiday in the States? (the States allows me to visit a mate as well but I recognise there may be better places to go for a climbing holiday)

My partner and I climb mostly trad although we are happy on sport I lead comfortably to grade 17/18 at Araps (please lets not start a grade discussion).

We would probably look at Yosemite and then consider our other options silver mountain? Moab? Joshua tree? Death Valley? somewhere else?

I recognise there is a lot to consider but Id like part of the holiday to be exceptional/memorable. By that I mean for example, we really enjoyed our climbing trip to thai land there was something unique (for us at least) about climbing off the beach/the 'vibe'/and so on. Id like to tick some big walls even if they are lower grades and we would like to see some beautiful parts of the US.

Anyway, please offer your thoughts and recommendations.

Where else would you go if you had a 3rd week?

Thanks in advance
bones
24/05/2013
12:15:33 PM
any particular time of year?

MisterGribble
24/05/2013
12:52:03 PM
If you're into trad, go to the Devils Tower in Wyoming. An absolute must for crack climbing and a rich climbing history. Am told City of Rocks is good too
DSPIES
24/05/2013
1:53:43 PM
Tomorrow would be nice, but in reality I would probably have to take it in or around one of the school holidays.

Neil
24/05/2013
1:54:20 PM
what time of the year ?
for 2 weeks it needs to be close to an airport.

i don't think you will have much fun at yosemite if grade 17/18 at araps is your limit. unless you do laps on the fang, claw, wizard etc etc ?? but in general that grade will be fine in the USA.

red rocks at that grade would be my suggestion. easy to get to. big, extensive and impressive. sport, trad and mixed. long, very long, and short routes. squamish also.

city of rocks brilliant, but not worth going all that way for a 2 weeker.
silver mountain? - err no idea
Moab? - well it is pretty big area. i would say not unless you must do a tower and or go to indian creek
Joshua tree? - meh.
Death Valley? - not really a destination for rock climbers as such i didn't think ? east side of the sierra's yes.
technogeekery
24/05/2013
2:06:52 PM
+1 for Red Rock, NV.

I've always dreamed of Yosemite, and will go there one day to do a bunch of easy stuff, but reality is, the big Yosemite climbs are beyond me. Was recommended RR by several people, and was blown away by the place - have been there 3 times now, and could happily go 3 more times. Loads of stuff in your grade range, from short sport stuff to huge easy multipitch. Incredibly beautiful, wonderful hikes in to the routes, very adventurous feeling. Cracks, chimneys, face, big ledges, hanging belays, giant slabs, trad, sport, mixed, sociable, remote - pick your climb to suit your mood, there are LOTS. My favourite climbing place in the world.

The "culture shock" of climbing there then coming back to stay in a casino has to be experienced...

pmonks
24/05/2013
2:35:47 PM
+2 for Red rocks, assuming you can time your trip - the place has a pretty short "reasonable" climbing season (March / April and late September - early November). The rest of the time it's cold and wet or snowy, or ludicrously hot. And there's nothing better than skarfing down $5 steaks in an off-strip casino while being hit on by a cougar to cap off a big day in the canyons!

During summer you really can't beat the High Sierra - endless looooong routes on awesome alpine granite at pretty much any grade you care to climb. Even just hiking around up there is inspiring.

DM me if you're thinking of coming over - I live in SF and am always keen to hook up with visitors.

Neil
24/05/2013
4:51:58 PM
hey pmonks,
we are back over from mid august for 3 months of californian granite.
do you know any where good to rent a car/van/whatever from in LA ?

any must do's in the sierra ?
we have been around a bit and done mt whitney etc (and needles).
keen on charlotte dome, hulk and keeler needle this time.
and also keen on some time up tahoe way.

sorry for thread hijack.

thanks
Neil
Dr Nick
24/05/2013
7:00:54 PM
Where in the US? It's a bloody big place!

I'm over a decade out of date, but my experience of Red Rocks was good, though I thought Vegas was a hole. If you're into MTB it'd be a great place to ride at the right time of year, though I suspect it's a winter only place unless you're seriously nutso.

A solid day's drive away is Bishop, with all sorts of cool climbing and bouldering. There's a bunch of good traddish stuff in the Virgin River Gorge.
I didn't get a chance to climb in Yosemite since we were only there for a day and it was snowing at the time.

Ben_E
24/05/2013
7:37:46 PM
On 24/05/2013 Neil wrote:

>i don't think you will have much fun at yosemite if grade 17/18 at araps
>is your limit. unless you do laps on the fang, claw, wizard etc etc ??

Seriously?!? Depends largely on what sort of style of climbing you like and whether or not bobbing down the Merced in an innertube on your rest day appeals to you.

Assuming you are not crack-phobic, I would have thought that would put you in striking distance of plenty of stuff to get you started with (After 6, Snake Dike, Royal Arches, Nutcracker, 3 or 4 of the climbs on the 5 open books, bishop's terrace) with plenty of other options (such as East Buttress of Middle Cathedral, Braille Book, nutcracker, Commitment, Central Pillar, Jamcrack) if you find you do OK on those easier ones. Hell, I started leading in Yosemite (and had plenty of fun) way before I would have been comfortable on an Araps 18. In short, a thumbs-up for Yosemite from me, with the caveat that you may need to be very organised with camping.

More generally in California, I love J Tree, but probably only if you are there in early spring or late fall. The climbing is merely good, but the desert landscape more than makes up for it.

Lover's leap is fantastic and has lots of great climbs in your range, I'd strongly recommend it if you're there around summer.

Doug
24/05/2013
8:59:48 PM
+1 for either Devils Tower, City of Rocks and Yosemite. Been to Lovers Leap and loved it, especially Hospital Corner and Plumb Line, but not sure there is enough there for a two week trip, although the beaches of Lake Tahoe - and casinos if you're into that sort of thing - aren't far away.
For just two weeks I'd recommend picking one of the above areas and staying there. It all depends on the time of year. Autumn in Devil's Tower is just magic; I can feel another visit coming on! City of Rocks is a great destination, flying in and out of Salt Lake would work really well for a two week holiday - it's about a four hour drive each way, and the Rock City Cafe has the best range of beers you'll ever see (for further info check out our blog from last year: http://bearbeaverbuffalo.blogspot.ca/2012/07/city-of-rocks.html.
Good mixture of trad and sport up to the grades you mention. No problems finding plenty to do up to the 10a range. You can also book a campsite online and see what you're getting. Check out the City of Rocks National Park website.
Re Yosemite, I'd agree that there is plenty of great classics up to your mentioned grade range. To avoid hassles, it's probably best to just amp outside the valley and drive in each day.
Have a great time!

Big G
24/05/2013
9:29:21 PM
More hijack action...
I am in the embryonic stages of planning a US trip with the family who don't climb. We will visit Yosemite as tourists but I've always wondered as a climber up to 21 is there anything there for me to do in a day or two with a guide thAts worth it or do I just throw the runners on and go for a hike?
argos44
24/05/2013
11:38:35 PM
When researching for an up coming trip to the USA, I received this comment when asking about Yosemite and climbing around 5.9:

Don't sell yourself short.

Go down to Yosemite and up to Tuolumne. Climb Nutcracker, Sunnyside Jam Crack, Royal Arches, Snake Dike, almost anything on Swan Slab, Sunnyside Bench, and Five Open Books. Climb Fairview Dome, Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak, and maybe East Buttress of Middle Cathedral. Go have Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee and look at the grand piano Ansel Adam played in his youth. Go to Camp Four and look at Midnight Lightning and the Raffi Bedayn memorial. Go down to Wawona's big trees.

You may never go home.
Wendy
Online Now
25/05/2013
9:45:44 AM
Oh, but who doesn't love a good grade debate? But seriously I think it depends on a couple of things

what sort of 18s are you comfortable on and are granite cracks with offwidths potentially lurking around the corner, run out slab or sandstone splitters or ones with character building rock on that list? I got more scared on easy slab sections in the valley than anything else I did!

Which school holidays are you thinking about? THe valley, red rocks and moab area would be baking even by my standards in July and freezing (by normal standards) in January. April and September you can probably get away with most of the states, July, you'd probably want to look at squamish, January, Mexico.

I agree that the Valley has plenty of easier stuff for a 2 week trip, particulalry if you find yourself comfortable of the 5.6-8 on the Apron and Manure Pile and can give some 5.9s like Central Pillar of Frenzy a go. If you really want to do a big wall (the planning, execution and recovery from which will probably take most of your trip!), it depends on how well you aid more than what grade you climb. Tuolomne also has some long easy stuff - there's a lovely little pointy pillar with 5.6 or 8 to the summit, stunning views and a few other things. Tuolumne is very very pretty and less crowded than the valley. Although once you got away from tourist nightmare on the valley floor, yosemite was not as busy as I thought it would be. For two weeks outside of peak season, you'd only have to queue up once for a site in Camp 4, or get online 6 months in advance and book one of the Pines campsites - they are actually much nicer than camp 4.

Squamish has a risk of being rained out the whole trip (my 3 weeks in July were phenomenally wet) but has awesome routes at that grade. The smoke bluffs look like manky little blobs in suburbia when you first glance at them from town, but almost every pitch I did there was stellar. Then there are a bunch of easy biggish things up that blob on left of the chief, the malamute, and two stonker 5.8 splitters by some waterfall back down the road a bit. The big easy route up the cheif whose name i forget actually doesn't involve that much real climbing, only has 1 pitch of 10a or c or something that is short and aidable if necessary but it does get you the whole way up the chief.

The grade might be a limiting factor for the Moab area - I think you'll get a lot more out of the place if you are at least climbing 5.10 cracks. A lot of the classics are 5.10 hands (normal people hands, they were off fists for me!) there were a few 5.9s but I'm struggling to remember a 5.8. The towers (other than the owl in arches national park with is about 5.9 and 1 pitch) also tend to start from 5.9 and involve some serious adventure climbing. The landscape is just stunning though.

Red rocks was nice, but I don't know that i'd be as excited about it as someone else was who was looking at 6 trips there! The sport was, well, crowded short stuff on extremely soft rock. The big routes were still pretty damn soft rock, but much more memorable. But I was there at the bum end of my trip and my climbing partner was struggling to keep up and I didn't get to do much. las Vegas is definitely a hole. A blight on the face of the planet. We stayed at the camp ground, which whilst recently redone, is still pretty bleak and desolate. It's not the nicest wilderness experience wherever you stay there.

Ditto Bishop - i didn't rate the climbing there much and the camping was bland to say the least, the Buttermilks are pretty cool boulders though and in a much prettier area of the town. But I wouldn't head there for a 2 week trip that you want to be stunning and memorable at all. Maybe if you wanted to tick hard boulders.

Other questions would be where is your friend and do you want to head near them? That could write of large amounts of the country.

What do you think about crowds?

After writing all of that, I reckon I'd do the Valley and Tuolumne in the September holidays. Definitely spend a few days at Tuolumne - it's a very different feel and a lot quieter and good if there's a spell of hot weather. Campground is much nicer to hang out in. Easy access, beautiful surroundings, great climbs, just a little bit of crowd and tourist avoidence to do.

I want to go on another climbing holiday. 5 weeks and counting ...


Olbert
25/05/2013
10:40:20 AM
Totally agree with much of what Wendy said.

It all depends on what 18's you are good at. If you don't crack climb (and I mean proper crack climbing, not the crack climbing you mostly get at Araps) at grade 18 then I wouldn't bother with much of Yosemite, all of Moab (Indian Creek and lots of desert towers), half of Joshua Tree, all of Devil's Tower, and really a lot of the really amazing climbing.

If you dont like slabs (and I mean real slabs, with no holds, some friction and a *lot* of fear then you really shouldn't bother with Yosemite or Joshua Tree. With some minor exceptios granite is either slabs or cracks or both.

Toulumne (despite being granite) has lots of senic easier long stuff. If you are looking for long scenic multipitches within your grade then this is definitely an option.

As for Red Rocks, I thought it was good for sport, trad, single pitch and multipitch. But it's just that - good. Do you really want to go halfway round the world for merely 'good'? That said there is a crapload of options for any type of climbing you want. Also it's either freeze your tits off in Winter, or bake your balls off in Summer. You'll have to get pretty lucky to hit the Spring or Autumn climbing season.

If you are on the other side of the country then Red River Gorge is pretty amazing. Sinlge pitch sport and trad. The really amazing stuff is probably a bit harder than you can climb but at your grade it will be the best sport climbing you can get. I am probably a bit biased because I thought I had died and gone to heaven there. The downside is that its in one of the poorest counties in America and it is pretty dam poor. It really is trailer trash country - half of the houses are trailers...and half of them are pretty trashed. (Not a comment on the people, a comment on their economic wealth - a lot of the people were really nice!)
Wendy
Online Now
25/05/2013
11:41:30 AM
On 24/05/2013 Big G wrote:
>More hijack action...
>I am in the embryonic stages of planning a US trip with the family who
>don't climb. We will visit Yosemite as tourists but I've always wondered
>as a climber up to 21 is there anything there for me to do in a day or
>two with a guide thAts worth it or do I just throw the runners on and go
>for a hike?

I reckon it would be totally worth it. A guide will solve all the usual dramas of can I find a climbing partner and how will i go committing myself to big stuff near my limit on a new crag because they can do all the scary work on the sharp end! 21 is like 10c or so - no dramas at all doing a couple of long, classic things below that grade. You could do the easy free route up the el cap ( i think it's the east buttress?), Serenity crack/sons of yesterday, you'd have a choice of the routes on middle cathedral plus all those easier things already mentioned. The walking tracks are pretty busy and I reckon you'll be happy you did at least one of the biggish routes - i really loved central pillar of frenzy and serentity crack in particular, but Royal arches also looks like fantastic terrain and there are other routes that go to the top of middle cathedral that'd probably be worth it just for the topping out experience as well.If you think youre up for 10 pitches or so around 18 and you have a guide who'll know all the ins and outs of the routes, i'd go for something bigger than manure pile buttress to get the most out of your experience. If you think 6 pitches might be your limit, there's nothing at all wrong with the "minor" big cliffs. Or if you think you can do a long day at an easier grade, Snake dyke or Royal arches. Is it really an either/or? there's no reason why you couldn't do both some walks and climbs?
dalai
25/05/2013
12:42:33 PM
On 25/05/2013 Wendy wrote:

> Tuolomne also has some long easy
>stuff - there's a lovely little pointy pillar with 5.6 or 8 to the summit,
>stunning views and a few other things.

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Tuolumne-Meadows-Cathedral-Peak-Southeast-Buttress

Classic! Soloed this in a quick in and out day on the way passing through Tuolumne. Ends on top of a narrow pinnacle and easy down climb around the back. Amazing views as mentioned.
dalai
25/05/2013
12:50:51 PM
On 25/05/2013 Wendy wrote:
>You could do the easy free route up the el cap ( i think it's the east buttress?)

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Yosemite-Valley-El-Capitan-East-Buttress

Crux is 5.10b but this section is short from memory and you can easily French Free a couple of moves. Amazing views the whole way as you walk up to a fair height to begin the route. Plus you descend via the same descent as all the El Cap routes so can use it as a reconnaissance for when you return for a big wall...

Big G
25/05/2013
3:50:03 PM
On 25/05/2013 Wendy wrote:

>I reckon it would be totally worth it. A guide will solve all the usual
>dramas of can I find a climbing partner and how will i go committing myself
>to big stuff near my limit on a new crag because they can do all the scary
>work on the sharp end! 21 is like 10c or so - no dramas at all doing a
>couple of long, classic things below that grade. You could do the easy
>free route up the el cap ( i think it's the east buttress?), Serenity crack/sons
>of yesterday, you'd have a choice of the routes on middle cathedral plus
>all those easier things already mentioned. The walking tracks are pretty
>busy and I reckon you'll be happy you did at least one of the biggish routes

I'm likely to get a max of 2 or 3 days off so a guide is the only way to go in my mind. Especially because of the sharp end stuff! I always get a guide when I go fishing in a new area in nz-they know the spots, the gear and as a result you usually get more out of less time.

it really an either/or? there's no reason why you couldn't do
>both some walks and climbs?

Absolutely!
One Day Hero
27/05/2013
12:53:38 PM
On 24/05/2013 Big G wrote:
>More hijack action...
>I am in the embryonic stages of planning a US trip with the family who
>don't climb. We will visit Yosemite as tourists but I've always wondered
>as a climber up to 21 is there anything there for me to do in a day or
>two with a guide thAts worth it or do I just throw the runners on and go
>for a hike?

Why don't you go to Booroomba for a weekend and see if you actually enjoy climbing granite slabs and cracks? Also, gr21 on ringbolted sandstone is a piece of piss (especially at the "new school" crags), gr21 on granite is often dseperate.

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