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Best City? San Fran; Seattle/Kirkland?
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theguy


Jun 19, 2010, 10:17 AM
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Best City? San Fran; Seattle/Kirkland?  (North_America: United_States)
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I'd appreciate your input on the above cities re. the following factors. I can choose between these cities for my next job, which pays well enough to afford car and apt in San Fransisco, and poorly enough to find lower housing costs in Seattle/Kirkland attractive

And yes, searched forums and found info on Seattle compared to other cities.

I've only visited SF and Seattle for a day or two.

I lead 5.10 sport most places, 5.7 trad Gunks/Red Rocks. Prefer bolted sport over top rope for speed of setup.

I'll live within hour's drive of downtown and airport. San Fran office would actually be Sunnyvale.

Following are my criteria, more or less in priority order.

- Decent climbing in 1 hour drive (either sport or trad), excellent climbing in 3 hour drive (either sport or trad, bonus for both).

- Winter sports (skiing/snowboarding more so than ice-climbing) within 1 hour drive, or summer sports in winter (e.g. San Fran). Ski/board single black diamond, some backcountry, follow WI4.

- Should have few days of sun each week: I've lived in overcast European cities, and it's depressing. Seattle doesn't look good from this perspective.

- Cultural diversity and ease of finding new climbing partners/social life a plus: Seattle seemed more homogeneous than San Fran, but might have been because everyone was out of town for long weekend. Found SLC also quite homogeneous, and difficult to find climbing partners/start new social life.

- Good sailing is a plus, but doesn't rank as high as first two: San Fran seems better than Seattle based on initial research.

- Good motorcycling likewise a plus, doesn't rank as high as first two.

- Sort of covered by first two points, but mountains for hiking and views a plus, and nowhere are they as close as SLC

- This is already somewhat covered by the first few points, but reasonable traffic a plus.

Your feedback on the above points appreciated if you have lived or spent much time in these cities, as well as any thoughts re. best neighbourhoods.


(This post was edited by theguy on Jun 21, 2010, 12:14 PM)


pmonks


Jun 21, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Re: [theguy] Best City? San Fran; Seattle; Salt Lake; Denver [In reply to]
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There isn't a lot of climbing within an hour of the Bay Area full stop, and although some of the bouldering is great (albeit limited), most of the climbing is good rather than great (imvho).

Pinnacles is a little over an hour from the South Bay, but has lots of fun climbing on pretty mediocre rock. I tend to only climb bolted routes when I'm there as I just don't trust the rock enough for trad, but one guy I climbed broke an ankle when a bolt pulled, so my trust in the bolts is probably a bit misguided too (although I think glue-ins are becoming a bit more common there, which is likely a big improvement).

Yosemite is a solid 4 hours (possible as a day trip, but it's BRUTAL). Tuolumne is 5, Tahoe is ~3 depending on which crag you go to.

Having come from Sydney (which has truckloads of mediocre climbing and good bouldering in the city and world class destinations 2 hrs away) I've been quite disappointed by the Bay Area. It's certainly not as bad as some cities (eg. Melbourne, which has literally nothing worth climbing within a 1.5 hr radius), but it's not that great either.

A mate of mine moved back to Seattle a couple of years ago and found the climbing a lot more convenient and extensive than the Bay Area, but then you have to factor in the weather when moving to a place like that.

Another mate lives in SLC and boulders after work, climbs in the canyons on weekends and skis all winter - he reckons it's heaven but then he grew up there so he's a bit biassed.

I guess in short, and based on what little I know of each place, none of them is ideal. The Bay Area definitely has an edge over the others as a "Big City", but is probably the worst of the lot from a pure climbing perspective...


theguy


Jun 21, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Re: [pmonks] Best City? San Fran; Seattle; Salt Lake; Denver [In reply to]
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Thanks for info, appreciated. I hear what you're saying re. Sydney: though I didn't climb there, the beaches and sailing were great, and the Blues beautiful.

Looking like SF is more likely in terms of career, appreciate any insight on areas to live: will be working near Sunnyvale, not real keen on living in mall-land.


summerprophet


Jun 22, 2010, 4:48 PM
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Re: [theguy] Best City? San Fran; Seattle/Kirkland? [In reply to]
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I have lived in Both cities, and here is what to expect.

Seattle:
Fantastic backcountry trad routes within 2 hours of driving and three to four hours of hiking. Good skiing within that distance as well. 4 hours to Squamish depending on the border, Leavenworth is within 2 hrs for roadside Granite. Decent ice climbing in good years, and 5 hours to Lillouette if you wanna climb good ice.
Great mountain biking..... which is what you are going to be doing on rainy weekends.
Rains 6 days a week.

Bay area:
The Bay area is all about driving. 4 hours to some of the best climbing in North America, 4 hours to arguably some of the best skiing (although avalanches block the road with some frequency).
Mt. Diablo for after work sport is crappy but close.
Likely the best motorcycling on the west coast. Any ice climbing is infrequent, and finding partners is near impossible.
ALL good mountain biking in the Bay area is illegal. It is regularly done, but be aware of tickets and rangers.
Rains 0 days a week.

Traffic in both is absolutely terrible. There are likely tied for second place for the worst traffic on the west coast.


In short, I would head south if big granite domes and great weather pull at your soul, and head north if you have a fondness for big beautiful evergreens, and are willing to hike a few hours for some spectacular wilderness climbing.


bergbryce


Jun 25, 2010, 11:38 AM
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Re: [summerprophet] Best City? San Fran; Seattle/Kirkland? [In reply to]
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you will drive a CHIT TON if you move to California. I would basically give up on the idea of climbing after work unless battling traffic on the way to a crappy crag or a gym session is acceptable. the climbing is wonderful but it's not accessable during the week. oh and the weekend crowds pretty much suck. mid week climbing is the best way to go.


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