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Moving to the Bay Area...need advice


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It looks like I'll probably be moving to the bay area soon, specifically the peninsula (Palo Alto area). I am already starting to feel a longing for the mountains.


What are the options for crag (trad or sport) climbing, alpine climbing, and other outdoor activities (I love trail running too)?


I know that there is definitely world class climbing at Yosemite, but how far away is that really? Also, it seems like the Sierras might be reachable on the weekends. Is that true? Is there climbing close by that can be used more regularly for training etc.


Furthermore, I love dreaming and planning my objectives for the next year. I have no idea where to start or what I should be thinking about especially in terms of alpine objectives.


For reference, I was originally excited about doing Dragontail's Backbone ridge, the North Ridge of Mount Baker, and a trip to the Bugaboos this coming summer.


Finally, are there any good places to meet other climbers in the bay area besides the local climbing gyms and whatever crags are close by.


Thanks for the help. I already feel very sad about leaving my beloved Washington.

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You'll e close to Turtle rock, for bouldering. Berkley has a nice bouldering area as well, with a couple routes. Pinnacles is your closest crag, be careful there, it has a bounty of old school scary runouts. Lovers leap, and Tahoe are a couple hours away in good traffic. Beware though, peak season in the Bay the locals mass exodus turning what would be a 2hr drive into more like 5. This time of year "off season" though you'll be ale to hit the Valley in about 4 to 5 hours, with little crowds. And finally to the Sierras. My personal favorite alpine area period. If only it wasn't in Cali. Try to plan midweek trips to avoid the traffic, and crowds. You'll enjoy climbing perfect granite at elevation and be in heaven. Good luck!

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The Bay Area is an amazing place to live!


There is little "good climbing" to be had locally. The aforementioned Pinnacles is a 2+ hour drive. Castle Rock down to the south is a popular crag. There is a bit of bouldering around Berkeley (Indian Rock, Cragmont Rock) that has some great history. Mickey's Beach to the north is another popular spot for bouldering. The local trail running scene is superb--Huddart Park and Windy Hill are in Palo Alto, Rancho San Antonio in Mountain View (next town to the South), and just those three parks within 10 minutes of Palo Alto offer tons of possibilities--the geography of the area will keep a motivated person in shape for any adventures in the mountains.


The Bay Area does offer climbers great access to world class climbing venues such as Tahoe (3-4 hours), Yosemite (5 hours to the valley), the Sierra High Country (~7 hours) and Joshua Tree (7 hours). Distance to the north isn't too bad either - the Cascades and Smith Rock are an easy day's drive; Lassen (4 hours) and Shasta (4.5 hours) are volcanoes, but lack the scale that only the North Cascades offer.


Year round access to world-class climbing destinations, more climbing variety as anywhere in the US, fantastic spring skiing are the selling points as a climber. You really do sacrifice local crags, but there's nothing you can't do in a weekend trip.


As far as planning big objectives for the summer, focus on the Sierra (and Shasta, though the rest of the Cascades are doable as well). Big wall climbing, there's no better place. Distant alpine routes in spades. Superb granite cragging. If ice is your thing, the Sierras have enough to keep you content if you can catch them while conditions are in.

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the weekend warrior thing can wear you out fast in the bay area. i did it for a little over a year and was over it.

too far from snow and while there are a lot of small crags around the bay, most of them suck in comparison to everything the Sierra offers.

That said, one of the better places to climb is close to you at Castle Rock SP. Sandstone bouldering that some people really dig.

You're maybe a little over an hour from the entrance of Pinnacles NM. I personally really like that place, but it's a bit of an acquired taste. Brad Young has an excellent guide book for that place, and there is a new (2013) guide for the Bay Area and all its little crags. Plenty of great cycling and trail running which you can do easily year round. Get a surfboard too.


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