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What do climbers in Seattle do in winter?
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itri4vt


Aug 23, 2010, 11:40 AM
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What do climbers in Seattle do in winter?  (North_America: United_States: Washington)
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I'm going to be moving out of DC in January, but I don't know where yet. I like Seattle and Portland, but it rains so much! Do all the climbers just go alpine climbing/mountaineering in the winter?

Would it be better to live in Central Washington or Oregon?


ryanb


Aug 23, 2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Chase the sun, develop an obsession with poofy coats, learn to ski, climb inside, fly to thailand, put all hopes on the few scattered random weeks of dry we get most years, road trip to smith rocks, study the rain shadow patterns, check 4 different weather sites every friday, drink to much beer and polish sharp things...

What do they do there?
















(This post was edited by ryanb on Aug 23, 2010, 12:06 PM)


jjanowia


Aug 23, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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I made the reverse move a year ago (Seattle to DC).

You will be closer to good climbing (in general) in Seattle than in Central Oregon. There isn't much amazing climbing within 2 hours of Seattle, but there's a lot about 3-4 hours away (in winter driving cond'ns).

It isn't consistent, though. Here's how it works.

Occasionally there will be a big high pressure system that brings in cold temps. Things freeze up (what's best is when temps fluctuate, allowing water ice to melt / refreeze and get fat). Time to climb. If there's a temperature inversion, even better - hit up the volcanoes for great conditions.

In between these systems, it'll snow and rain a ton, the snowpack won't be very stable, and climbing is sucky or dangerous. Learn to ski, take some avy courses, then start backcountry skiing.

In fall, you can get lucky with bluebird days allowing some cool - weather cragging.

In spring, everything down low is usually drippy and wet as the snowpack is melting. Good alpine conditions can be had up high. Great corn snow skiing can also be done.

You gotta know that the ice climbing and winter routes are ephemeral in this part of the country. Reliable ice is to be had in Banff, Montana, and Wyoming; not bad for long road trips.


olympicmtnboy


Aug 23, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Re: [jjanowia] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Vantage (Frenchman's Coulee) is over the cascade crest (drier) and can be climbed at year round as well if the sun comes out at all. Otherwise everyone else has covered it, climb indoors, ice climb, ski, Smith Rock, wait for weather windows, etc.


itri4vt


Aug 23, 2010, 12:54 PM
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Re: [olympicmtnboy] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Hm... and it wouldn't be better to live on the other side of the Cascade Crest (better weather, closer to dry climbing, but still close to skiing and alpine stuff?) like in Wenatchee, Ellensburg in WA or in Redmond/Bend in OR?


jjanowia


Aug 23, 2010, 1:27 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Wetsnatchee would be slightly better if your objective function was to maximize climbing opportunities. It's close to Leavenworth where you'll have access to tons of alpine climbing and cragging.

That said, living east of the crest will involve a completely different set of other lifestyle opportunities and limitations than the major population centers of Seattle or Portland. If you care about proximity to job opportunities, coffee shops and nice restaurants, etc, then the east-of-the-crest communities will come up short compared to Seattle and Portland. They will be, however, have a lower cost of living.


bigo


Aug 23, 2010, 5:32 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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itri4vt wrote:
Hm... and it wouldn't be better to live on the other side of the Cascade Crest (better weather, closer to dry climbing, but still close to skiing and alpine stuff?) like in Wenatchee, Ellensburg in WA or in Redmond/Bend in OR?

If I could get a good job in Bend, I would be there in a flash...Wenatchee and Ellensburg, not so much.


itri4vt


Aug 23, 2010, 7:32 PM
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Re: [bigo] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Is that b/c Oregon has better climbing or b/c Wenatchee/Ellensburg aren't great towns to live in?


apolobamba


Aug 23, 2010, 8:10 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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the latter. ...but life is what you make it.


I travel a lot for work between Yakima and Vantage. I would like to meet some local climbers, but I got no bites on the partners board.


irregularpanda


Aug 23, 2010, 10:00 PM
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Re: [olympicmtnboy] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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olympicmtnboy wrote:
Vantage (Frenchman's Coulee) is over the cascade crest (drier) and can be climbed at year round as well if the sun comes out at all. Otherwise everyone else has covered it, climb indoors, ice climb, ski, Smith Rock, wait for weather windows, etc.

Yeah, I'll +1 that.

I spent a lot of weekends in smith and vantage, chasing the sun. Went to the gym alot. Pored over every inch of fred beckeys books while planning large alpine assaults for the summer. Took avy courses, went backcountry skiing. Went to the gym some more.


bigo


Aug 24, 2010, 12:44 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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itri4vt wrote:
Is that b/c Oregon has better climbing or b/c Wenatchee/Ellensburg aren't great towns to live in?

Bend IMO is the nicer town to live in, but I would also contend that Smith Rock is better than WA's east side climbing. Vantage is choss, Leavenworth only shines for easy trad and bouldering, and Teiton is pretty but choss too. Smith is dreamy. Not everyone would share that opinion though.

If you are on the West Side, Seattle beats Portland for a climbing town.


gen8787


Aug 24, 2010, 1:00 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Never been to Portland but Seattle is a blast. As far as climbing in the winter, check out http://www.stonegardens.com/. Always plenty to do though in addition to climbing.


cpriest


Aug 24, 2010, 1:45 PM
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Re: [itri4vt] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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Well, there's always Vertical World.


summerprophet


Aug 24, 2010, 7:37 PM
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Re: [apolobamba] What do climbers in Seattle do in winter? [In reply to]
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apolobamba wrote:
the latter. ...but life is what you make it.


I travel a lot for work between Yakima and Vantage. I would like to meet some local climbers, but I got no bites on the partners board.

Not a lot of traffic on here from central Washington.
Try looking for partners of cascadeclimbers.com , or yakimaclimbers yahoo group.


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