Which city on the NA west coast for mountaineering

  • Creator
  • #71154

    Hi guys,

    I’m looking at the west coast guys in this forum.

    I would be able to transfer to the north American west coast.

    In terms of mountaineering (weather summer AND winter, travel time, quality of living) opportunities which city would you choose and why?

    Cities in scope: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, SF, San Jose, Sacramento, LA, SD


  • Keymaster
    Jane Mackay on #71155

    I lived in the SF Bay Area for twenty years. From my own experience and from talking with people who live in other parts of the W Coast, in terms of the US I would say Seattle, for three main reasons:
    1. proximity to the mountains
    2. great culture and lifestyle in general terms
    3. a mountain/outdoor culture and community that I don’t think exists in any other part of the W Coast.

    From the little I know, Vancouver could also be a good choice for the same reasons, plus it’s in Canada.

    Dada on #71159

    Awesome, Jane! Thx, the community is a big plus.

    I’m just afraid that it could be a little rainy up there 😉

    Jane Mackay on #71162

    Yes, it can be rainy 😉 but I think the other factors would in the balance outweigh the drizzle. Of all my W Coast friends, the only ones who are mountain crazy live in or near Seattle.

    Jim Prager on #71189

    I’m a huge fan of Seattle (I’ve lived here for the past 20 years):
    – We have good hiking, scrambling, trail running, rock climbing, alpine rock, classic mountaineering, technical mountaineering, and backcountry skiing. The only thing we don’t have is a good ice season.
    – From downtown, I can be in the mountains in under an hour and the foothills even faster, which hard to beat for training and fun.
    – During the summer, we are one of the driest places in the country, so it’s easy to get out most weekends.
    – With a little practice in watching conditions, we can almost always ski good snow in the winter.
    – The spring ski mountaineering season is long.

    Compared to the the other cities:
    – I prefer the greenness of Western WA compared to CA, but we don’t get as much rain as Vancouver.
    – We’re closer to mountains than the CA cities.
    – Definitely a lot of mountain-related groups to join.
    – There is more technical climbing closer to Seattle than Portland.
    – Our traffic isn’t great, but it’s no CA bad.

    A few years ago, a buddy of mine, who loves maps and geography data, “proved” that was WA was the best state in the lower 48 because it had the highest density of prominent peaks (see attached table). 🙂

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    Dada on #71216

    Thx Jim! You guys are making it harder for me not easier 😉

    I’m a big CA fan, I have to admit (I did a semester abroad in SD) but you’re making me think.


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