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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada.
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Default Possibly moving to Calgary

Hi all,

There is a possibility that I might move to Calgary. Living in Vancouver has spoiled me with all the great hiking around but this is an awesome chance to do some exploring in the Rockies and beautiful country you have there.

Does anyone have any recommendations for places to live with easy access to the mountains (I am guessing there is nothing like North Vancouver there except for Canmore which would be a commute?). My place of work will be downtown Calgary.

I guess it is tangentially related to hiking so forgive the semi-offtopic

Thanks,



Learn this from the waters: in mountain clefts and chasms, loud gush the streamlets, but great rivers flow silently. -- The Buddha (SN 720)
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 10:21 AM
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Are you looking for a house or condo? I work downtown and I have a condo downtown. I prefer being able to walk to work, rather than commuting during rush hour. It takes me about 15 mins to get out on the highway and an hour to reach Canmore.

The closest access to the mountains is the west area of Calgary. It's also the least accessible via LRT. A route is being built, so if your preference is to take the LRT to work, you should look at where the current route is and where the new one will be.

Driving into work from the west part of town can be pretty bad during rush hour and poor road conditions. My friend drives in from Cougar Ridge. Leaving around 7 am she gets into work at around 7:45. When the road conditions are really bad, it has taken her up to two hours.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Marko

Are you looking for a house or condo? I work downtown and I have a condo downtown. I prefer being able to walk to work, rather than commuting during rush hour. It takes me about 15 mins to get out on the highway and an hour to reach Canmore.

The closest access to the mountains is the west area of Calgary. It's also the least accessible via LRT. A route is being built, so if your preference is to take the LRT to work, you should look at where the current route is and where the new one will be.

Driving into work from the west part of town can be pretty bad during rush hour and poor road conditions. My friend drives in from Cougar Ridge. Leaving around 7 am she gets into work at around 7:45. When the road conditions are really bad, it has taken her up to two hours.
Probably just a condo - studio or 1 bedroom apt. Walking to work is definitely attractive. And I do not want to be commuting for 45 minutes let alone 2 hrs....so maybe downtown it will have to be. An hr to Canmore isnt too bad during the weekend. Similar to driving to Squamish here from where I live...

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 11:00 AM
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We don't have cities right in our mountains like Vancouver. The upside of that is that our mountains don't have cities in them.
You're probably better off living in the west than the east, but expect it's about an hour's drive to the mountains from most of Calgary. 45min from NW Calgary to the mountainfront, and 30 mins from the deep south to the start of the Elbow Valley.

If you're working downtown five days a week, and heading out to the mountains two days a week, you're probably better off getting a place to live that is close by your work.
You could live in the west end of Calgary and commute in and still find it ease to get out on the weekend, but that will be a 30-60 minute commute every day for a 15-minute savings on the drive to the mountains on a weekend morning.
I would suggest getting a place downtown or nearby where you can walk or bike to work, depending on your preference and budget. That will still be very little extra drive on a dead Saturday morning heading to the mountains.

Anything right in downtown is awesome, but pricey. Kensington, Sunnyside, or 17ave S area will be a little cheaper with a bit of a longer walk. Hillhurst, SAIT area, just below 17th Ave S, will be very reasonably priced but a longish (30-50min) walk, or a nice short bike ride.
If you live further out, and want to bike, along the river or another straight corridor is nice for a simple bike ride. Living right on the train isn't too bad, as the train does come regularly in rush hour, but it is crowded, and does stop running in bad weather.

Here is a picture of the downtown Calgary area:

Downtown is circled in Black.
The green areas are a pretty short walk to downtown, though still a little pricey. The yellow areas are walkable, or very short bike rides, but a little cheaper. The orange is walkable, though a longer walk, or a short bike ride. SE of downtown is the not-so-nice part of the city, but Ramsay has always seemed nice enough to me.
I live in the orange circle second left from the top. I've a very slow mover, and it took me 15-20minutes to bike downtown, or 45 to walk, when I used to live there.
I always calculate my driving on 1 hour to Canmore as well.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 11:06 AM
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Also, parking downtown Calgary is one of the most expensive in the country. Unless you would be given a free parking spot at work, consider that that would add a significant cost, so planning around not having to drive in will save you money as well as time.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

We don't have cities right in our mountains like Vancouver. The upside of that is that our mountains don't have cities in them.
I guess Jasper, Banff and Canmore don't qualify as cities, but I do find them infinitely more cringe-inducing than Squamish, Pemberton and Lillooet. Whistler's another story, though, right there on par with Banff and Jasper.

I do find the rockies to be much more populated and busy than the coast mountains. In 6 years of hiking on the coast, I've probably run into as many people in total as I have in my 7 or 8 day trips in the rockies. Of course the stats were skewed by the fact that I went up Temple's tourist route along with about 60 people from a group, in addition to the regular throng of people who clim it on a daily basis...

B
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

Also, parking downtown Calgary is one of the most expensive in the country. Unless you would be given a free parking spot at work, consider that that would add a significant cost, so planning around not having to drive in will save you money as well as time.
Thanks for the good info. It is sounding more and more like downtown or surrounding areas would be ideal. I will bring my bike and try and ride to work although I am guessing it will be a bit more challenging in the winter with the cooler temperatures.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 11:53 AM
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I think scrambling has become a lot more popular in the last several years. I'm seeing a lot more cars parked at the base of Mt. Baldy. With more books, more clubs and more accessible route information on websites and online maps, it's not a surprise.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by stormwolf

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

Also, parking downtown Calgary is one of the most expensive in the country. Unless you would be given a free parking spot at work, consider that that would add a significant cost, so planning around not having to drive in will save you money as well as time.
Thanks for the good info. It is sounding more and more like downtown or surrounding areas would be ideal. I will bring my bike and try and ride to work although I am guessing it will be a bit more challenging in the winter with the cooler temperatures.

the Kensington area is pretty nice and its a short bike ride to work. Short enough that the odd bout of minus 30 didn't hurt too much. I liked the Varsity area too.

Rockies hiking is pretty much unmatchable
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Marko

Driving into work from the west part of town can be pretty bad during rush hour and poor road conditions. My friend drives in from Cougar Ridge. Leaving around 7 am she gets into work at around 7:45. When the road conditions are really bad, it has taken her up to two hours.
Damn! I used to live across from Cougar Ridge in West Springs and it took me just over 15 minutes to get to the downtown core at 8am.

Of course that was almost 10 years ago. Back when it was so underdeveloped that I could see auroras from my bedroom window. I went back late last year and I didn't even recognize my neighborhood with all that development.

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
quoteamn! I used to live across from Cougar Ridge in West Springs and it took me just over 15 minutes to get to the downtown core at 8am.
She comes in on Bow Trail, which I understand gets ridiculous at rush hour. Two years ago that hill at Sarcee was so icy that there were a dozen cars that slid off the road.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by gyppo

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

We don't have cities right in our mountains like Vancouver. The upside of that is that our mountains don't have cities in them.
I guess Jasper, Banff and Canmore don't qualify as cities, but I do find them infinitely more cringe-inducing than Squamish, Pemberton and Lillooet. Whistler's another story, though, right there on par with Banff and Jasper.
I do find the rockies to be much more populated and busy than the coast mountains. In 6 years of hiking on the coast, I've probably run into as many people in total as I have in my 7 or 8 day trips in the rockies. Of course the stats were skewed by the fact that I went up Temple's tourist route along with about 60 people from a group, in addition to the regular throng of people who clim it on a daily basis...

B
We definitely do have tourist towns in our mountains, but no cities in the middle. It might mean that people are more spread out on a bigger area, but no couple mountains that have an army of hikers every day.
Squamish and Canmore seem pretty on par to me. Banff is a mess, but at least not expanding any more. Jasper's small enough that the town effect seems gone as soon as you leave the town.

It's definitely possible that the Rockies have more hikers. But I suspect that in your local area, you know where to hike without people, while when visiting another range, you probably hiked the more well-known trails.

We do have excellent guidebooks, maps, and piles of clubs and websites, so it's extremely easy for a complete newbie to take up hiking in the area.

It's not too hard to get away from that though, and plenty of places where hikers are still sparse.

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by stormwolf

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

Also, parking downtown Calgary is one of the most expensive in the country. Unless you would be given a free parking spot at work, consider that that would add a significant cost, so planning around not having to drive in will save you money as well as time.
Thanks for the good info. It is sounding more and more like downtown or surrounding areas would be ideal. I will bring my bike and try and ride to work although I am guessing it will be a bit more challenging in the winter with the cooler temperatures.
Living where I live is nice, in that I can still walk or hop a train if it's cold enough or snowy enough for me to wimp out on the bike ride.

I think the west is enough of a mess these days that you can bike in about as fast as you can drive. Of course, try that, and you'll get a ticket. (grumblegrumble)
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 07:18 AM
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We are in Marda Loop (SW). It is a 10 minute bus ride to downtown. Coming from the lower mainland, the transit in Calgary is fantastic. I take the train to work and don't drive anymore.

Gyppo is correct, coming from the coast mountains (especially if you are used to obscure objectives) the Rockies "trails" can be a difficult transition as far as other people.

If you do hike tourist routes, be prepared for multiple people telling you about a bear they have seen, heard about, smelled, heard themselves, sensed.......

It took us until the end of the first summer to get our geography down and get away from the masses. The Rockies themselves are unmatched for hiking IMO. The weather is fantastic too. I don't believe there was one weekend that we could not get out. We mountain bike in Bragg Creek area (Jumpingpound/Powderface etc) too. Alpine riding on long summer days after work is pretty cool!

Inglewood might be another option as well, but I do not know what transit etc is from there.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 08:19 AM
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Toad - that may be the first time I've heard anyone say that Calgary transit is fantastic.

What was the difficulty in transition from coastal mountain trails to Rockies trails?

I haven't done a whole lot of hiking in coastal mountains, but have noticed some obvious differences. While the forests were much more spectacular on the coast, the tree line was also much higher. I do like those giant trees, but I love the early prolonged views in the Rockies.

I also find access to trails much easier here. I rarely come across a trail that needs a high clearance vehicle, and driving a Honda Fit this is pretty important for me. In BC it seems that old logging roads are commonly used to access good trails and my car took quite a beating in a few places.

While the days can be pretty sunny here in the Rockies, I found that our warm/mild season is much shorter. I'm often envious of continuous trip reports from people on this board while I hibernate. Though it really makes me appreciate summer when it finally gets here.

Stormwolf, if you're into scrambling, there are a ton of website resources for the surrounding area:

My personal two favorites are Bob Spirko's and So Nakagawa's, mainly because of their GPS track availability. Vern Dewit has excellent trip reports with lots of photos. Many of these are covered in the Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies and Andrew Nugara's More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies guide books.
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