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Where to go in the Rockies, overwhelmed by the possibilities

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Where to go in the Rockies, overwhelmed by the possibilities

Postby mbirtel » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Hi guys,

we're trying to decide where to go for our 4 weeks summer trip to the Rockies.

Compared to our native Swiss Alps, the possibilities are just overwhelming. We'd be really grateful for some tips from you experienced Rockies' guys.

Here is what our ideal region would be like:

1. two to three classic mountaineering peaks close to one another, good for 2-3 day scrambles each
2. some granite climbing possibilities (multi-pitch) up to around 5.8, ideally with some protection already in place
3. not too crowded in the summer months
4. an (international) airport with car rental "close by" - any tips for cheap car rentals?

We were thinking about the Teton Range, the Sawatch Range (CO) or the Jasper area in BC, but we're really open to any other suggestions!

Martin & Kathrin
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Postby Bob Sihler » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:45 pm

You're not going to find too much with the protection already in place unless you mean rap anchors, but the Tetons will mostly fit your bill. I don't know about the rock in the Jasper area, but someone will probably answer that soon. The Sawatch Range isn't known much for technical climbing, but there's some scrambling and plenty of opportunities for multi-peak traverses.

Based on what you outlined, though, I'd go with the Tetons.
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Postby jeep1212 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:48 pm

Tetons and/or Wind River Range
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Postby Tonka » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:01 pm

3. not too crowded in the summer months


This may be one of the hardest things to overcome if you are looking at the Tetons and Yellowstone area. The nice thing is most Americans are not that healthy so once you get a 100 yards off the beatin path you will lose the masses :lol:

If you have 4 weeks I would spend some time in CO. You could probably do a lot in the San Jauns and not see the crowds you might see near the big national parks.

Hijack:
I'm going to Switzerland for 9 days the end of May and first week of June. Any little hidden gem I should'nt miss? I'll be with my girl friend so we won't be doing anything technical.
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Postby MattGreene » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:31 am

I live on the east coast of the U.S., and nearly every summer I head west to the Rockies on a month long trip like the one you'll be taking. Like you said, there's so much out there to see and do that it's hard to choose where to go.

My advice would be to plan out a big loop and visit a bunch of places rather than stay in one spot. You could fly into Denver, do some climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park, cross over into Wyoming and bag some peaks in the Snowy Range, drive up the west side of the Wind Rivers and check out the Cirque of the Towers, head to the Tetons for some more committing climbs, then loop back towards Denver by driving down the east side of the Wind Rivers, stopping for a few climbing days at Wild Iris or Vedawou.

Or, you could fly into Salt Lake City, take the same route up the west side of the Wind Rivers to the Tetons, then head west to the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho, then back south towards Salt Lake City, making sure you stop for a few days of climbing at the City of Rocks.

The driving distances will look like a lot on the map, but really aren't that bad. Places like the Wind Rivers and Tetons and Sawtooths would give you completely different experiences, yet each is only about a half day's drive from each other.

Have fun!
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Re: Where to go in the Rockies, overwhelmed by the possibili

Postby Buckaroo » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:24 am

""1. two to three classic mountaineering peaks close to one another, good for 2-3 day scrambles each""

things are a little more spread out and less accessible in US/Canada, expect more driving and longer approaches than Europe. There's no cable cars either, you're hiking from the road. That said there are many short approaches, Yosemite being mostly short approaches.

see "50 classic climbs" and "50 favorite climbs". The Tetons, Canadian Rockies, Pacific NW, the Bugaboos weather is really a factor, Aug is best, earlier can get rain. In summer the high Sierras and Yosemite are guaranteed better weather but hot, you want shade routes in Yosemite. If your going to the Canadian Rockies the Banff Lake Louise area has a greater concentration of alpine than Jasper.

""2. some granite climbing possibilities (multi-pitch) up to around 5.8, ideally with some protection already in place""

there's very little granite in the Canadian Rockies except the Bugaboos. Yose is nothing but granite, probably the highest concentration of multi-pitch granite routes in the world. At least five good multi pitch sub 5.8's, only the belays are fixed though.

"3. not too crowded in the summer months"

"50 classic climbs" can be "50 crowded climbs" Something like the NW ridge of Bugaboo spire is always going to have a line, but I did Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mtn in Aug and only saw 2 other people in 3 days.

"4. an (international) airport with car rental "close by" - any tips for cheap car rentals?"

plan and reserve ahead, Expedia.com, if you get the car when you walk from the plane it will be expensive. Banff/Jasper area flies into Calgary(100? mile drive), Yose flies into Oakland/San Fran (120? mile drive).
Last edited by Buckaroo on Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby aglane » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:42 am

Tetons a good bet. Fly into Salt Lake City and drive from there, through interesting country, or fly into Jackson.

Go to the less commonly taken peaks, e.g. Owen, Moran, Buck as a scramble, limitless shorter rock routes. Teton high peaks are not very crowded--except maybe the Upper Exum on the Grand, nor are the rock climbs that take some good hiking to get to the base.

If driving from Salt Lake, maybe something in the Wasatch .... en route to or fro, or go to Beartooths, Wind Rivers or Colorado Rockies from Tetons if you have to get away.

Stay at Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch, see
http://www.americanalpineclub.org/pt/gr ... mbersranch
and
http://wsfife.net/fogtcr2/
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Postby mtnturf » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:55 am

Don't go to Colorado, it's flat and boring.
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Switzerland

Postby mbirtel » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:42 pm

Tonka wrote:

Hijack:
I'm going to Switzerland for 9 days the end of May and first week of June. Any little hidden gem I should'nt miss? I'll be with my girl friend so we won't be doing anything technical.


Well I'd recommend the Glarus region. Its one hour from Zurich by train and you can finf lovely meadows and some nice hills with easy hikes and there are basically few people around.
Another option would be to do a 3-4 hut-to-hut trip in the Praetigau region just at the border to Austria.

Just let me know if you need more infos.

Martin
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Postby dskoon » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:19 pm

HOw about the North Cascades in Washington?
You will find it similar to the Alps, I think, and though I'm not sure what kind of rock, I do know it is a magnificent climbing area, and not too crowded. I can't speak for the type(s) of rock there, but it is a very popular area for all alpine and rock climbing endeavors. Some of the best climbing in the lower 48, in fact.
Close to Seattle as well.
Just my .02cents. Good luck.
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Postby jeep1212 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:41 pm

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Postby Buckaroo » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:29 pm

dskoon wrote:HOw about the North Cascades in Washington?
You will find it similar to the Alps, I think, and though I'm not sure what kind of rock, I do know it is a magnificent climbing area, and not too crowded. I can't speak for the type(s) of rock there, but it is a very popular area for all alpine and rock climbing endeavors. Some of the best climbing in the lower 48, in fact.
Close to Seattle as well.
Just my .02cents. Good luck.


2nd the cascades are good and there's quite a bit of granite, the only drawback is the weather, best in Aug and Sept, early summer has some rain.

the best guide to the Cascades is "selected climbs in the cascades" by Nelson. Volumes 1 and 2.
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