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climbing and hiking in big sur in the winter

by judahlev Online Now Sep 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM

anyone know about rockcliming/bouldering as well as hiking/backpacking oppurtunities in big sur in January. I don't know what the weather is like over there and what the options are...

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: climbing and hiking in big sur in the winter

    by Beausoleil Online Now Sep 30, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    Weather is wildly variable in January. If there are big storms in off the Pacific, you won't be able to do either. There are often serious rock slides in the area and highways are closed. On the other hand, it could be like spring!

    You might consider Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs, California. They have terrific rock climbing, and hiking is great in winter. You still may have rain and/or storms but there isn't a possibility of mud slides and the rocks are about as stable as a rock can get. It's also stunningly beautiful. It is a desert though so don't expect big trees. The main trees are Joshua Trees; hence, the name of the park.

    Don't try Joshua Tree in summer unless you like temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then is the time to visit Big Sur where the weather is nearly guaranteed to be perfect.

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  • Lhenne1's Profile Photo

    Re: climbing and hiking in big sur in the winter

    by Lhenne1 Online Now Oct 1, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    Can't say anything about rockclimbing but the hiking is great year round. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is nice and you can hike up to the falls (short hike, about 2 mi). Here is a good website with trail maps and pictures of some of the hiking trails, most (if not all?) are open year-round: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/.
    Weather during most of the year in Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey is mild. Last January we were hit with some pretty rough storms. It's all rain here, any snow is in small amounts at higher elevations. Since we don't get a whole lot of precipitation, getting a couple big storms can make for dangerous conditions (uprooted trees, mudslides, etc). But weather like that is considered rare though January gets the most monthly precip in this region. Temps may get chilly in the evening, but we only had 2 or 3 nights of frost warnings last year and I don't think it ever actually frosted along the coast. The average yearly temp is in the upper 50s so expect temps anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees.

    Big Sur is spectacular. Have a wonderful trip!

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: climbing and hiking in big sur in the winter

    by Beausoleil Online Now Oct 1, 2008 at 9:25 PM

    Laura, I miss Dunkin Donuts too. Especially the Bavarian creme . . . sigh. The Bavarian creme in California has chocolate frosting and it's just not the same.

    There is nearly always a big storm in January and there is nearly always some weather that reminds us why we stay in California. Late December, January and February are the most variable months for weather though and the poster might as well be prepared with Plan B in case a storm hits. Personally, I love the storms as a pleasant break from summer temps! Winter is the time here when grass is green and it looks like Heaven. Summer is dry and brown. When the weather cooperates, winter is glorious!

    I don't know if there is rock climbing in Big Sur but the camping is great most of the time. There is excellent rock climbing down in Joshua Tree Natl. Park near Palm Springs and I know this because you see them climbing all over the place. It's fun to watch but I'd never have the nerve to do it. I hope someone posts here who knows about rock climbing in Big Sur to give a definitive answer.

    The poster could type "Big Sur rock climbing" into the VT Search Window and do a Keyword Search. Perhaps there is already information here that would help.

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  • Re: climbing and hiking in big sur in the winter

    by mldenman Online Now Nov 1, 2008 at 11:05 AM

    this winter you will find all trails on the east side of hwy 1 closed due to the fire that just burned through the ventana wilderness and los padres forest. NO wilderness trails are open making backpacking around big sur non-existent. there are still lots of day trails at andrew molera that are open, somewhere over 40 miles of trails i believe, and they do have a campground there, but i don't think you could claim that it would constitute backpacking. with the fires comes the treat of mudslides - which i'm told if they happen will be pretty devastating. the road will also be subject to closure with small rock-slides. my advice - not this year.

    big sur is great all year round, and normally i would say that the winter storms are rare enough to go hiking in January no problem...but with the trails being closed, the threat of mudslides...it may be a good idea to hold off visiting the sur.

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