We were faced with a classic first world problem: where to go climbing for the weekend? It had been so warm lately that the local cragging was in full effect, but it was spring after all, and a desert trip seemed to be in order. The weather forecast, however, showed highs near 90, and there really isn’t much shade in the Creek, so we decided to stay close to home, and climb locally. We also saved ourselves about $100 in gas, which is no trivial amount.
As fuel prices continue their inevitable climb towards $5/gallon, cost is a factor that will likely play more and more of a deciding role in where to recreate for the weekend. Analyzing it a bit further, if it costs us $120 roundtrip to head to the Creek, that same amount would cover the gas for about six weekends’ worth of climbing at the local crags. Suddenly, shooting out to Maple Canyon for two days becomes way less appealing. If I’m throwing down that much for fuel, I want to be able to spend more than a couple nights at a given location.
In the past, Peter Beal has touched on a common problem that affects many climbers, in that they tend to think that the backyard climbing is never as cool as the cliff that’s further away. Perhaps higher gas prices signal that it’s time for everyone to starting appreciating what they DO have in their neck of the woods. Maybe the crags aren’t world class (most of ours aren’t, but we do have Rifle ;-)), but I bet whatever it is, there’s some fun stuff to do there.
Maybe this is only a temporary thing, but since fuel is a finite resource, it’s a fair bet it’s only a sign of things to come. And who knows, at some point perhaps it will simply be cheaper to move close to your favorite crag, rather than spend countless hours (and dollars) commuting back and forth.
What about you? Have you changed your road tripping habits due to the price of gas? If so, where are you spending more of your time?