Commuting to Climb
People commute every day for work, but I commute every other weekend for climbing. My husband and I live in San Diego and to get our favorite sport climbing crags, it takes anytime between 5 to 8 hours. Most of the time this is because of Vegas traffic, when everyone wants to go to Vegas for their bachelorette party or a show. We go to climb.
My favorite crags around include Robbers Roost (Mt. Charleston), Black and Tan/Sunset Alley/Wailing Wall (St. George), Owens River Gorge (Bishop), and Shuteye Ridge. To us, although it could take us a full eight hours to drive ( with traffic) the climbing is really that good. The beta for the St. George commute from San Diego is to drive the 4/5 hours to Primm, Nevada (sometimes downtown Vegas) to stay at Whiskey Petes. This happens after leaving San Diego around 6pm from work, we usually get into town by 12am. Than we wake up and drive the two hours to St. George to climb for the two days. We leave by Sunday night and get home by 1 am. Anyone who loves climbing, but lives far away, probably understand that this passion comes with an exhausting price. It is like commuting to “work” wrapped up into one weekend. Although, when you think about it, what sport allows you to be so happy with your send or your project that the commute is automatically acceptable (or even 449 miles). However, to be environmentally friendly we do try to carpool as often as possible. Robber’s Roost has some of the best climbs from my experience.
My favorite climb, of course, is Highway Man. It’s a great pumpfest to a glorious finish. The greatest thing about this climb, is if you make it to the 12(a) portion, you can do the 13(a) extension, and hey if you are strong enough, why not try a 14(a) extension off of that? St. George has some of my favorite climbs as well. At Kelly’s Rock (near Black and Tan) there is an amazing 11.c called Czech Frog Says Qua. Basically, the reason for the commute is the adventure, the solitude found with the great outdoors, the love of trying a new project and meeting new climbers. Climbing is a way of life and sometimes the commute is just part of the journey to take you there. 🙂