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bensonenson

Suggestions on where to live

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Hey folks! I'm considering a move in the next year to Washington to get closer to mountaineering opportunities. At the moment I'm based in Asheville, where unsurprisingly there's not much to say for a mountaineering/alpine community. I've never been to the PNW before, so I'm flying a bit blind here. What would you consider the best places in Washington to live in terms of finding mountaineering community, education, and ascents?

More context:

From what I've found online so far, Seattle seems like the preferred option. Thing is, I grew up in Washington D.C. and I'm not super fond of living in a busy metropolitan zone. I have two dogs who need a big ol' fenced backyard to run, and I need some space to stay sane. A smaller town sounds appealing (Leavenworth maybe?), but I worry it'd be too far from the educational clubs/courses in Seattle, and possibly too far from the community. I work remotely and can technically live anywhere with a solid internet connection. 

I appreciate the help!

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I have friends who really like Wenatchee.  But that is further from the classical mountaineering photos that has likely drawn you to the PNW, and I'm not sure if they have much in the way of clubs or instructional courses.

Or, there is always Bellingham, because they're looking for people to support the baristas who have graduate degrees but can't leave the town they went to school in. :wink:   And they have lots of mountain guides who could use your instructional $$.

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bellingham.  damn I love me some bellingham.  you can find careers there.   Educational clubs courses?  they have a bellingham mountaiineers club.

 

for solid internet remote location crew, there are lots of them in mazama.  damn fine place that mazama.

What about requirement for winter skiing/boarding?  that could make the choice easier.

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Gene and I went to school together in Bellingham (along with Justin Sjong, Dberdinka, Jason Martin, and many other strong climbers) and yeah it is pretty awesome.  Unfortunately, the cost of living has increased dramatically since we were in college 25 years ago, but so the Seattle metropolitan area in general

For some perspective, I went to high school in Washington D.C. during Reagan's first term 1980-1984.  Seattle, while having grown dramatically in the last 10 years, is very different than metropolitan D.C.  Similar to NYC, it is a city of neighborhoods, most of which are not affordable for me, and I work as a software developer, my wife as a civil engineer.  We live in the 'burbs with a very convenient commute via mass transit.  

I also agree with Jason regarding Wenatchee/Leavenworth.  I know people who work in Seattle and rent apartments but have homes in Leavenworth.  There is an excellent guide service in Leavenworth, so if by education you mean climbing, you would be covered there.  I also know a number of Microsoft employees who live in Mazama and telecommute.  Mazama would be pretty awesome and is  more affordable than Seattle, Leavenworth, or Bellingham.  The downside is that is remote, particularly in winter with Wenatchee being the closest city of any real size. 

 

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For Wenatchee and Leavenworth: do you have the money to buy a house when you move here? If so, you'll probably just have to wait until the right house comes on the market.  Inventory is crazy low. If you're planning on renting, just know that the rental market in Wenatchee/Leavenworth has incredibly low inventory, as well, and everything is pretty expensive (for not being a metropolitan area), especially if you have dogs.  If you can swing it, it's a great place to live with no shortage of learning opportunities.

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Both Whatcom and Skagit counties are getting pretty expensive, unless you are on the outskirts, but I think that is just true for the entire west coast at this point. Bellingham area is a pretty amazing place to live; I wish I had moved here much sooner. There is a lot of construction going on in northern Bellingham which I'm hoping will eventually decrease the cost some.

 

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Olympia is a good area, though with the same cost increases afflicting much of the west coast. Similar to Bellingham as a city, but further from the Cascades, and for the most part further from good rock climbing. I do like living here though.

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Sounds like I need to look into Bellingham and Seattle 'burbs! 

I might consider Leavenworth and Mazama. I'll need to rent, so those will be dependent on property availability. I also have two pit bulls, so that tends to limit things as well. Olympia is interesting, but I'd rather be closer to climbing if possible.

Wondering... does anyone have a favorite Seattle neighborhood? 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bensonenson said:

Sounds like I need to look into Bellingham and Seattle 'burbs! 

I might consider Leavenworth and Mazama. I'll need to rent, so those will be dependent on property availability. I also have two pit bulls, so that tends to limit things as well. Olympia is interesting, but I'd rather be closer to climbing if possible.

Wondering... does anyone have a favorite Seattle neighborhood? 

There are a number of lovely Seattle neighborhoods that I personally like; Queen Anne, Freemont (Adobe, Google, Tableau and the center of the universe), U-District (University of Washington), Mount Baker (easiest access to I-90 and the mountains in Seattle), Montlake, Ravenna, Ballard, Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Laurelhurst (Bill Gates Sr.), Madison Park (Tom Skerrit), The Seattle Highlands,  and South Lake Union (Amazon). 

All of these neighborhoods have a different vibe than each other and you could find one that appeals to you but unless you earn a fuck ton of money you will not be able to afford to rent a house with a yard.  Also, access to the mountains is more difficult than the east side (of Lake Washington), but there are a number of climbing gyms throughout the city and some nice parks for trail running.  Traffic is as bad as the media makes it out to be.

Renting in Bellingham is tough because it is a college town,  but certainly less expensive than any of the Seattle neighborhoods.  If you can work anywhere, somewhere like Preston, Fall City, Carnation, North Bend (Twin Peaks fame), Wenatchee, or one of the smaller towns near Bellingham like Ferndale or Mount Vernon would offer better affordability and great access to the mountains while being plenty close to climbing clubs and guide services.

I live in Issaquah, which in addition to being an easy 20 minute bus ride into Seattle is a great location for all outdoor recreation: world class trail running from my front door (the Issaquah Alps), 20 minutes to rock climbing in North Bend (Exit 32 and Exit 38), and 40 minutes to Snoqualmie Pass for lift serviced skiing, back country skiing, ski mountaineering, alpine rock climbing, and very accessible winter mixed alpine climbing due to the proximity to the ski resorts. It is, however, very much the 'burbs.  Think Mercedes, Lexus, and BMW SUVs, families with young children, good schools, and no singles scene to speak of.  It is more affordable than Seattle or Bellevue, but not inexpensive either.

If I were not tied to a job in Seattle I personally would look hard at the Mazama/Twisp/Winthrop, Leavenworth/Peshashtin/Cashmere/Wenatchee, and Bellingham/Ferndale/Mount Vernon/Anacortes  metropolitan areas. 

Edited by DPS
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22 hours ago, DPS said:

Brief article that describes what kind of apartment you can expect to get for $4,200 a month in rent in Seattle.  All three of the areas mentioned are in the downtown business district or in close proximity to it.  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/renting-in-seattle-what-will-dollar4200-get-you/ar-AACNNjN?ocid=iehp

that is so f'in nuts.  $140/night.  for 3 months rent, you could buy a nice van and live down by the river.

 

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1 hour ago, genepires said:

that is so f'in nuts.  $140/night.  for 3 months rent, you could buy a nice van and live down by the river.

 

Just like The Coach towards the end of his life. 

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9 hours ago, DPS said:

Just like The Coach towards the end of his life. 

Minus the cancer, it would be nice.

but couldn’t one find a parking garage in downtown Seattle for like $20/day and van life it there?

 

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On ‎6‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 4:34 PM, genepires said:

Minus the cancer, it would be nice.

but couldn’t one find a parking garage in downtown Seattle for like $20/day and van life it there?

 

There was recently an article in the Seattle Times reporting on the city's efforts to have 'derelict' RVs removed, which is the only affordable housing for many working poor. 

Regarding the Coach, he was in interesting guy, who got his nick name by goading climbers into following him on his workouts, which were recorded in painstaking detail in his note book.  He would fill his backpack with pea gravel and then do an insane workout; up and down a crack five times, boulder over to another crack and do some laps on it.  I was a victim once and made it to about three laps before calling uncle, and I did not have a pack full of rocks.  Seeing him in his final days was sad.  Always a big guy for climbing, he had put on 50 pounds after he could no longer climb from a window washing accident. I also understand his schizophrenia had become much worse as well.  RIP Coach.

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Posted (edited)

$4200 a month? 

Holy f@$k.

I thought Pittsburgh was pricey but you pay half for what ya get there here. 

Sorry, damn near choked on my coffee when I saw that and had to respond.

Sheesh. 

I own 9 properties that I rent 3 of which are multi bedroom houses with yards and I would never be able to rent them at that. 

Is the cost of living really that high out that way?

 

Edited by Loco Raindrops

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1 hour ago, Loco Raindrops said:

$4200 a month? 

Holy f@$k.

I thought Pittsburgh was pricey but you pay half for what ya get there here. 

Sorry, damn near choked on my coffee when I saw that and had to respond.

Sheesh. 

I own 9 properties that I rent 3 of which are multi bedroom houses with yards and I would never be able to rent them at that. 

Is the cost of living really that high out that way?

 

Yes, it really is that expensive in Seattle.  But then again Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Tableau, etc. all pay pretty well.  A software developer with C.S. degree and a few years experience can earn $150,000+/year without much effort. 

It is cheaper the farther you get away from Seattle.  Get east or west of the I-5 corridor or north of Everett or south of Tacoma and prices start dropping.

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Um, it *can* be that expensive in Seattle, for sure, but a cursory look at Craigslist will turn up a number of houses in north Seattle (Greenwood/Maple Leaf/etc.) renting for $2000 or less right now.  If you're willing to live with one or more others, obviously you could pay quite a bit less.

I've lived in Seattle since 1991, in eight different apartments/houses, alone or with only one roommate/housemate, and until two years ago never paid more than $600/month in rent.  My current rent is more than that, but still WAY under the prices being quoted in this thread. 

There are always deals.  

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On 6/9/2019 at 6:40 AM, bensonenson said:

Hey folks! I'm considering a move in the next year to Washington to get closer to mountaineering opportunities. At the moment I'm based in Asheville, where unsurprisingly there's not much to say for a mountaineering/alpine community. I've never been to the PNW before, so I'm flying a bit blind here. What would you consider the best places in Washington to live in terms of finding mountaineering community, education, and ascents?

More context:

From what I've found online so far, Seattle seems like the preferred option. Thing is, I grew up in Washington D.C. and I'm not super fond of living in a busy metropolitan zone. I have two dogs who need a big ol' fenced backyard to run, and I need some space to stay sane. A smaller town sounds appealing (Leavenworth maybe?), but I worry it'd be too far from the educational clubs/courses in Seattle, and possibly too far from the community. I work remotely and can technically live anywhere with a solid internet connection. 

I appreciate the help!

Based on your requirements, I'd rule out just about anyplace west of the Cascades for an infinity of reasons. Focus on Leavenworth/Mazama. If you are willing to live up to 30 minutes away you may find that rates are a bit more reasonable. Probably not much of a singles scene in Chumstick or Cashmere, but life's all about tradeoffs.

Also - if you are mostly into rock climbing, then Walla Walla is worth a look. Between the wine scene and the presence of a small liberal arts college, it punches above its weight culturally for a town its size, has reasonable access to crags, is right next to the blue mountains, etc. There's a geology professor at Whitman named Kevin Pogue who's been active for decades that could give you a pretty good rundown on what it's like to live there. 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2019 at 11:22 PM, JayB said:

Based on your requirements, I'd rule out just about anyplace west of the Cascades for an infinity of reasons. Focus on Leavenworth/Mazama. If you are willing to live up to 30 minutes away you may find that rates are a bit more reasonable. Probably not much of a singles scene in Chumstick or Cashmere, but life's all about tradeoffs.

Also - if you are mostly into rock climbing, then Walla Walla is worth a look. Between the wine scene and the presence of a small liberal arts college, it punches above its weight culturally for a town its size, has reasonable access to crags, is right next to the blue mountains, etc. There's a geology professor at Whitman named Kevin Pogue who's been active for decades that could give you a pretty good rundown on what it's like to live there. 

 

Appreciate the suggestions! I'm more focused on finding a core group of likeminded mountaineers to venture forth with than a good singles scene. Asheville's ruined the singles scene enough for me to swear off dating forever. (Crystals. Are. Not. Deodorant. OK?)

As for rock climbing, I'm very much a novice there. Right now I'm focusing on building my aerobic base and learning the basic skills I need to slog it safely up the less-technical peaks. That will change as I get more experience, though.

Edited by bensonenson

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On 6/18/2019 at 12:47 PM, DPS said:

Yes, it really is that expensive in Seattle.  But then again Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Tableau, etc. all pay pretty well.  A software developer with C.S. degree and a few years experience can earn $150,000+/year without much effort. 

It is cheaper the farther you get away from Seattle.  Get east or west of the I-5 corridor or north of Everett or south of Tacoma and prices start dropping.

I would love to live out that way. But....

Plus Im too old and cranky to share a spot plus I have a wife so lol.

Definitely a bit more costly out that way tho. 

 

 

 

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