Help make my cross country trip great
May 26, 2010 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Additions, suggestions, and general information for my Cross Country (USA) Trip. Help me make it awesome please!

On Saturday, I'll be leaving the DC Area for a bit over 2 weeks.

This is what I have planned:
Get to Colorado ASAP,
Rock Mtn. National Park
Breckenridge, CO to do 3 14'ers
Crestone, CO to do a 14'er (Crestone Peak)
Lake City and Ouray, CO to check out property\the area\wish there was ice to ice climb =]
Salt Lake City
Great Salt Plains
Go through Idaho to Yellowstone\Grand Teton. Maybe do a few days backcountry there or just some day hikes.
Leave WY, go to Fishtail, MT
Anaconda, MT. Maybe check out some peaks around there.
At the end of trip Fly out of Spokane back home.

Basically, I have a lot on the agenda already but there is definitely a lot of breathing room.
-Places anywhere along my route that you would recommend to stop for climbing would be great as that's an area I'm not so sure on yet. (Sport climbing or top-roping, I don't have trad gear) Vedauwoo is the only one I have really marked down so far. Bouldering suggestions are OK too.

Any little stops or suggested things from the East coast to CO would be helpful. I don't really want to go too far out of the way though.
The same goes for the rest of the route too, although, once I'm in CO going 1-2 hours away from the basic route is fine for things that are worth it.

Suggestions of things not to miss in the national parks or a park that I should stop at would be great.

The only thing I'm not really into is kayaking and biking.

Thanks so much!
posted by zephyr_words to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ouray is pretty close to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which I would recommend most emphatically.

This sounds like an awesome trip, good luck!
posted by cirripede at 5:50 PM on May 26, 2010

I live in Ogden, UT and there is a canyon here that has some pretty decent climbing. I don't climb, but every once in a while we'll see somebody going up the sides.

There is a ton of outdoorsy stuff near here, if you are into hiking and climbing you might want to skip SLC and come here instead. The Ogden Valley is a lot like Park City without Main Street, the art galleries, and the crowds.

If you want more info on fun stuff to do in Northern Utah you can memail me.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:19 PM on May 26, 2010

If you're on I-80 make sure to pull over to see the Tree of Utah. If you're stopping in SLC let me know about what time and I can send you some places for food, etc.
posted by msbutah at 8:21 PM on May 26, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park has phenomenal trad climbing and alpine trad -- it is a pity that isn't on the agenda. Maybe try to hook up with a climber out here on a message board? (I'd offer personally but I haven't climbed for so long I wouldn't be an asset).

As far as sport goes near Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park (RMNP) there is the Monastery (hard stuff, I believe) and Jurassic Park/Lilly Lake has some moderates, stunning views). There is so much rock around Estes Park and in and around RMNP that I'm sure there is tons that I don't know about. If you are passing through Boulder Neptune Mountaineering is a gear shop and repository for all climbing information. I've found Neptune to be real hit-or-miss on whether you end up talking to an asshole or not....regardless they have tons of guidebooks and comfy chairs so you can read to your hearts content.

Boulder itself has more climbing than one person could do in years. For sport check out Boulder Canyon (tons of crags up and down a 19 mile canyon between Boulder and Nederland).

[I don't know if Vedauwoo has sport climbing? I think of offwidth cracks from the one time that I've been there]

I've done Crestone Peak before -- I think in May and there was a lot of snow on it then. I take it you are comfortable climbing snow. If not you may want to reconsider. If you can hit your 14ers on weekdays I would advise that so you don't get the weekend warrior types (like myself) from the Front Range hogging the trail.

As long as you are down in Crestone there is a lot of cool stuff in the San Luis Valley (that general area). The town of Salida is really neat and on the river. Great Sand Dunes National Park isn't too far. UFO watchtower. Oh, and really awesome sport climbing at Penitente Canyon. I almost forgot that. Great camping there, too. There are like five short canyons -- small, that you walk into with climbs on both sides all over the place. San Luis Valley is just one of my most favorite places. Also, check out Valley View Host Springs aka if naked people don't freak you out. These are some of my favorite hot springs and the view of the valley, natch, is spectacular.

From Penitente Canyon (La Garita is the nearest town, if you can call it that, that might be on the map) it is easy to pop over Monarch Pass to Gunnison -- on your way to Lake City etc.

I would reccomend checking out SW Colorado -- Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Telluride, even though there won't be any ice. still spectacular.

Rifle (Western CO, on I-70) is really famous for sport climbing (again, hard stuff).

Is there any particular reason you are going to SLC, UT?

I could go on forever. Gmail in profile if you have specific questions. Maybe we could schedule a meetup whilst you are passing through Denver/Boulder if you are interested.

Last one, promise, if you have any inclination to trad climb (find partners with a rack) I would highly recommend City of Rocks in Idaho (just NW of SLC). So awesome. Great camping too.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:09 PM on May 27, 2010

Thanks so much everyone. I'll post back here after my trip is done.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:06 PM on May 28, 2010

Wow, this is overdo for a report.

I ended up starting the trip in Vedauwoo, Wyoming.
The next day I went to this nice sport crag called the beehive. It was fun climbing and a great way to spend the majority of the day.
Then I drove through Cheyenne, Roosevelt national forest and then parked at Rocky Mountain Park. I spent a day there, then a day around Boulder, Ft. Collins, etc.
That night I went to Alma, camped at Kite Lake and did a few 14'ers in the morning.
Then I spent the night camping at the park Crestone Peak is at. My climbing partner had hurt his leg the day before so we decided not to climb it in the morning.
We went to Salida for an "off" morning\afternoon of eating, hotsprings, mini-golf, etc.
We decided to check out the Great Sand Dunes which ended up being WAY COOLER than I imagined them to be. We hiked the two highest dunes and then drove to Penitente Canyon.
For some reason I couldn't climb anything at the Canyon (all the rock felt like it had Vaseline all over it and I was probably a bit run down by this point) but the camping there was the best night I had ever had and OMG THE STARS THERE.
I checked out Lake City and then attempted to do the Engineers pass to Ouray but an hour into it a raging river of mountain run off water was blocking the road. We skipped Ouray and ended up driving straight to SLC.
Salt Lake City was neat and I could see myself living there. I did some sport climbing at this crag above a highway. Spent some time in the store. Did the Salt Flats but they were too wet to drive on. Salt like was cool but really smelly.
Then we went to Lander, WY. WOW, awesome climbing there. That was probably the most sport climbing routes I've seen anywhere.
Then Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Jackson.
I want to go back to Bozeman, MT for ice climbing. I really liked that town. Checked out some other cities like Missoula, Kalispell, and spent two days at Glacier National Park.
Trip was pretty much over for me at that point. Drove to Spokane after some random stuff in MT and flew back home.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:17 PM on January 3, 2011

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