beginner sport crags


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Topic Author's Original Post - May 10, 2014 - 02:38am PT
Hello everyone.
I am in the process of planning a family holiday wherever amongst all the usual eating, sightseeing and kids activities, I would like to squeeze in a weeks climbing. Ideally I am looking for a sport crag with easier grades and not to spaced bolts. I like steep and positive and my wife likes safe and child friendly (easy walk ins, lower offs, easier routes for the 7 year old)
Does such a place exist? Can anyone recommended a great crag. Ideally we are looking at something on the west coast of the usa, or anywhere in france, but would happily take suggestions

Boulder climber
May 10, 2014 - 02:54am PT
Owens river gorge - Bishop CA

May 10, 2014 - 02:54am PT
Red rocks

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
May 10, 2014 - 02:57am PT
Clarks over Gorge for kid friendly

Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2014 - 04:01am PT
Hi guys, thanks for the suggestions, owens river gorge and red rocks were both on my shortlist list, is it clarkes canyon that you meant. Just googled it and it looks good, thanks for the suggestion.

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
May 10, 2014 - 04:26am PT
Castle Rock State Park, Idaho
near City of Rocks National Monument

Kevin Pogue routes

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2014 - 08:16am PT
Rumny NH has a huge collection of easy well bolted routes. Even a multi pitch 5.3

Social climber
May 10, 2014 - 10:45am PT
What Labrat said: Go climb my routes at Castle Rocks and the City. That's why they're there - for the masses. Enjoy!! Also check out Spring Mountain in NE Oregon with over 50 "Pogue routes", and French coulee Washington with about 35. BTW For every grumbling curmudgeon elitist "overbolted gumby route" comment I've received over the years, I've received about 100 that were very appreciative. I always thought it was ridiculous that vertical to overhanging 5.12s with bolts 6-8 ft. apart (where a falling climber would encounter nothing but air) are almost never described as "overbolted", whereas that term is inevitably applied to a 5.8 slab with similar bolt spacings, where a falling climber would potentially experience the dreaded "cheese-grater effect". IMHO, beginning and intermediate climbers pushing their limits deserve climbs that are just as safe as those of the elite.

Social climber
May 10, 2014 - 10:52am PT
Just saw that you were also looking as far afield as France... You should check out Kalymnos in Greece. Thousands of routes on spectacular limestone bolted the same (safely) regardless of grade, plenty of easy routes, great beaches for the kids, great food, relatively cheap accommodations. In the warmer months you can climb comfortably in the shade throughout the morning - then hit the beach in the afternoon. It's basically paradise.

Trad climber
May 10, 2014 - 11:00am PT
I wouldn't recommend Owens River Gorge, just because of the occasional rock fall hazards (thinking mostly of your 7 year old). I've nearly been pelted there myself, so just throw that into the hopper as something to consider.

Isn't there a sport climbing place around St. George, Utah that's supposed to be super sewn up, labelled, kid friendly? I haven't heard of it for years, but it was some highly developed sport climbing playground, if I recall.

Wherever you end up going, have fun!

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 10, 2014 - 11:48am PT
I'll second the City of Rocks....many moderates and Pogue's routes are tightly bolted. The camping is super nice and it's certainly a children's friendly place. You aren't far from the Tetons and Yellowstone for other vacation activities.

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 10, 2014 - 12:23pm PT
Gianelli Edges and the Roches above Pinecrest Lake.
Hwy 108 above Sonora, California
Excellent toprope climbs for all ages and all difficulties.
Every climb I know can be top roped. Many are moderate leads, some are bolted.
My wife and son have had great times climbing there.
Dog friendly, if that matters.
Away from the maddening crowds. Midweek you'll likely be alone
Good "civilized" family camping/swimming/fishing/rowboat rental at Pinecrest Lake
Even free outdoor kids movie nights.
The Roches are a bit difficult to find.
Most climbs you have to build your own anchors. Take medium sized cams and/or nuts.
You'll want 2 ropes to toprope many of the climbs.
45 minute drive on somewhat rough roads from the campgrounds.

mtnyoung here wrote the guidebook.
Flip Flop

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
May 10, 2014 - 12:34pm PT
Once again, it's hard to beat Tahoe. Great for the family with lakes, rivers, beaches and trails. 90 foot wall is TR heaven in a fantastic location. The kids can hike the 1.5 miles to Eagle Lake and swim to the island.
Luther Rocks has easy sport routes. Donner Summit has fun beginner climbing. Meeks Bay campground and Donner Memorial State Park have campgrounds with beaches. There is some history and museums.
It's not exactly Clark's Canyon or France for family-style bolt clipping but it is definitely fun for the whole family. The Sierra Eastside isn't exactly happy kid and mom land. It's great for dirty climbers and such but there isn't a ton of kid and family activities.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
May 10, 2014 - 12:41pm PT
Smith Rock, Oregon.

Some of the best sport climbing in the US. Good, generally flat bases with well-maintained trails. Relatively short approaches without much elevation change. No people walking around the top of the crag kicking things down on you, and the routes get climbed a lot so there is not much loose rock. Lots of routes, at all ratings.

The routes are generally near-vertical with pockets, edges, and pebbles. It's more footwork/technical and endurance oriented than overhanging crags where bouldering type power is the game.

Aside from that, it's a beautiful area with reliably dry weather. Gets very hot in summer. Camp sites close to the climbing within the park, and free primitive sites a little drive away.

For a destination area, that's where I'd go. Sport climbing in California is not destination worthy, it works for people who live nearby, but there isn't any that I'd travel long distances specifically to go to.

Red Rock, NV is a good choice as well.

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
May 10, 2014 - 02:44pm PT
albama hills is THE best for what you are looken for! unlimited 5.8s and easier with bolts closer then bajesus, and you can almost belay out of your car...

did I mention it has one of the best views of the whole Sierra! stareing at mount whitney and many others!

great town for food and such minutes away, lone pine that is

camping is free and you can camp anywhere!

have fun!

PS, bishops peak in San Luis Obispo is also fun if you make it to the central coast...

Gym climber
May 10, 2014 - 02:48pm PT
What time of year?
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
May 10, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
Mooser I think is referring to Crawdad Canyon, maybe 30 miles north of St George. Lori and i spent a very pleasant afternoon there. This is a commercial facility. We looked all over to find someone to pay the modest fee to, gave up and started climbing. The rock is basalt, there are brass plaques at the base of the routes with the name and difficulty. Also, there is a restaurant and pool and all year stream.

Trad climber
May 10, 2014 - 03:45pm PT
City of Rocks is SUPER kid friendly. Lots of craggin' with flat open base areas. Lots of room to roam around and explore. If you goto Castle Rock(the newer area)there are loads of easy, heavily bolted moderates. The original area will require some traditional rock skills at some point. The camping can be busy on the weekends. Reservations are advised. Sorry if I'm repeating another CoR thread...didn't read through all comments

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
May 10, 2014 - 04:38pm PT
For the record I love Kevin Pogue routes.
Thank you.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 10, 2014 - 04:53pm PT
Not dissing Kevin's routes in the least...I like them too. The gentleman was requesting well bolted climbs.

Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2014 - 08:00pm PT
Hi Everyone.

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice, Coming over from Australia I am extremely grateful for all the help, it will for the basis of my trip.
Thanks mooser, if rockfall is a concern then it doesn't matter how great the climbing is, my wife would be stressing which would not make for a happy trip.
kpinwalla2 and labrat, thanks guys, I didn't even know about castle Rocks, it sounds great and is now on the short list. I can see thats its about 10 hours from Bishop, which might make it difficult, can you recommend anything with the same great climbing but a little closer to the coast?
(KP isn't it funny haw some people get upset over bolts, yet walking tracks, roads, dogs, and people do so much more damage. I work in the conservation industry and was raised a trad climber, yet recently visited some sport cliffs and honestly with the exception of the bolts, the surrounding environment was in fantastic condition, especially the cliff tops which are often the drier and more fragile ecosystems)
Based on some of the recommendations for for owens river, My wife last night begun has planing to fly into LA, I can surf some of the great longboard waves around malibu, the kids want to visit disney world, then travel a little inland toward bishop then back down to San Francisco, then back along the coast to fly out from LA again. This way we get to see a little bit more country that if we were just going to stay in one place. She also liked france, (wants the food)plus culture and there is a disney world for the kids and has read that the climbing there is good??

Kalymnos looks awesome, but we (wifey) are looking for something in the states or europe. (maybe I will be allowed to go on a climbing trip without her one day, but not while the kids are young)

Thanks to everyone else`s suggestions, I am slowly looking each one up to see if its in a location that will tick all the other boxes, please keep the suggestion coming, especially the ones between LA and San Fran.
Cheers Tony

Social climber
May 10, 2014 - 08:03pm PT
Thanks Jim - I like your routes as well! Another kid-friendly aspect of the City/Castles is the hot springs swimming pools in Almo. My kids love them. In the summer, you can escape the heat by taking the kids up to Lake Cleveland on Mt. Harrison - a beautiful alpine lake only 30 min away.
Flip Flop

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
May 10, 2014 - 08:17pm PT
I have a kid. Only Tahoe has something for everbody every day. We are 4 hours from Yosemite, San Francisco and the sport climbing near Bishop. Beaches, river floats, tourist appeal. Old and young climbers might not be your best advisors. There are about 20 worthy climbing areas nearby, each has swimming holes and casual recreation for kids. We have a good music scene, casinos, and all sorts of scenic beauty.

Bishop, CA
May 10, 2014 - 08:31pm PT
If you're planning on doing some longboarding you may want to continue up Hwy 1 north of Malibu, which is Chumash for crowded, and head on up to Ventura. C-Street point and cove are both good long board breaks, and fewer people. Not much fewer people, but Ventura is a pretty hip town. There's also Pitas point/Mondos.

Trad climber
May 12, 2014 - 04:47pm PT
That's the place, Eric. Thanks.

And antforknee...while the Gorge is great fun, and adults should definitely feel free to spend all the time they want there...I find myself (speaking strictly for myself here) feeling like it's up to me to not put kids in a situation that they don't have the wisdom, experience or insights to avoid (hence my "heads up" about rockfall).

This is the entrance to the Upper Gorge. You can see the faces below, ...
This is the entrance to the Upper Gorge. You can see the faces below, as well as the precariously situated shyte above. When you take it all in, it sort of makes you (okay, ME) shudder to think what'd happen in a good quake. Oy!
Credit: mooser

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 12, 2014 - 05:05pm PT
Alabama Hills..... good for dogs, kids and climbers.


Trad climber
Auburn, CA
May 12, 2014 - 06:27pm PT
Maple Canyon, Utah might be a good option if headed out from Bishop. It would still be a 9h drive but you could visit multiple National Parks along the way. I really enjoyed climbing there. Single pitch of all grades and multi pitch 5.7 to 5.9 routes. Kind bolt spacing and the rock is very kind to the hands.

Clark Canyon above Bishop if you don't want to drive across states.

Trad climber
May 12, 2014 - 06:45pm PT
Skaha and Penticton fits the bill if you want to go as far afield as British COlumbia

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 12, 2014 - 06:50pm PT
Holcomb Valley Pinnacles near Big Bear, CA
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