Located a long way from anywhere (except Electric City), the granite domes and boulders at the north end of Banks Lake have long flown under the radar. Perhaps inevitably, the area is now becoming discovered. In 2001, the first guidebook information to the area appeared, documenting nearly 50 routes. Two guides published in 2006 (Rock Climbs in Central Washington, by Rick LaBelle, and Weekend Rock by [...]
Marcus and China Bend
Steep, hard climbing in northeastern Washington. Short approaches. Mostly 5.11 to 5.13, with 5.14 projects. Sport.
Developed by Spokane climbers beginning in the mid-1990s, Marcus and China Bend were the first limestone crags to see significant climbing attention in Washington. The Marcus crag is on the east side of Lake Roosevelt (a.k.a. the Columbia River), about 10 miles north of Kettle Falls and above the small town of Marcus. The cliff's consistently overhanging with a sizable cave. It's a high-end sport area: of the 30 routes listed in a 2001 guide (Inland Northwest Rockclimbs, by Marty Bland), one is 5.8, one is 5.10, and everything else is 5.11-5.13. A number of even harder projects are waiting to be redpointed. The cliff faces west and stays in the shade until early afternoon. China Bend is across the river, about 10 miles north of Marcus as the crow [...]
Northeastern Washington limestone. Easy approaches. Sport climbing, 5.10 to 5.13+.
Tucked away in the extreme northeast corner of Washington, the Metaline Falls area holds a wealth of limestone, only some of which has been explored. Most of the current routes are on a multi-faced cliff called Washington Rock, which is across the Pend Oreille River from the small, eclectic town of Metaline Falls. A second, smaller area known as the Pend Oreille Village Crag is [...]
A variety of crags in and around Spokane: Minnehaha, Dishman, McLellan, Deep Creek, and Tum Tum. 5.6 to 5.13+. Face/slab.
The Tum Tum cliffs are a collection of slabby domes and boulders approximately 30 miles west of Spokane, in a rural setting on the north side of the Spokane River. The roped climbing generally follows slabby cracks and faces in the 5.8-5.10 range. A number of pitches are over 100 feet long and one climb is reported to be Spokane's only two-pitch route. Although the first recorded route at Tum Tum was done in 1970, [...]
McLellan is a relatively newly developed area approximately 30 miles west of Spokane. It is located on undeveloped State Parks land on the south bank of the Spokane River. The climbing is on a series of small (50-foot) granite domes and corridors scattered about in a pleasant, open forest of ponderosa pine. Climbing at McLellan began in earnest in the early 2000s. There are now more than 50 routes from 5.7 to 5.12 (nearly [...]
Deep Creek is a steep sport area just west of Spokane in Riverside State Park. Development of the area began in the mid-1990s. Unlike the other primary crags in the region, Deep Creek climbing is on basalt entablature. The climbs are up to 85 feet long and are generally featured, but pumpy. Most of the climbing is in the upper grades, with a high concentration of 5.12 and 5.13 routes. [...]
The Dishman crag is located on the southeast side of Spokane, across the valley from Minnehaha. The 30 or so routes are generally steeper and harder than at Minnehaha, ranging from 5.8 to easy 5.13. Most of the routes are in the 5.11-5.12 range. Bolted face climbing on gently overhanging granite is the norm, along with a few routes featuring mixed protection. Dishman was first explored in the early 1980s. A number of routes [...]
Minnehaha is Spokane’s oldest and most popular area Located on the northeast edge of the city, the area offers an assortment of short (20’-80’) routes on featured granite generally ranging from 5.4 to easy 5.12, as well as a nice circuit boulder problems. There are relatively few pure crack climbs and few true sport routes. Many routes offer sporadic and sometimes marginal protection. As a result, toproping is popular at Minnehaha. There is a [...]
Basalt crags in a desert environment. Easy to moderate approaches. 5.5 to 5.12. Face/crack.
Frenchman Coulee is also called "Vantage" by many climbers. There are now over 600 routes at the area, ranging from 5.2 to 5.13, as well as a small amount of bouldering in the bed of the coulee. While many of the routes at Vantage are mediocre crack climbs (due to poor rock), there are a number of classics that make the area well worth a visit. The crags can be very crowded in spring and fall. Most of the climbing is on two different flows of basalt. The top layer is columnar, usually around 80 feet high. Nearly all the crack routes are on this layer, along with a number of very popular moderate sport routes. The rock tends to fracture in "dinner plates," creating juggy incut holds on the solid routes and loose choss everywhere else. The climbing and rock on the lower layer is completely different. Most of it is blocky entablature (sometimes gently overhanging) that features sport routes almost exclusively. Most routes are in the 30 to 40-foot range, with a high concentration of 5.10s and 5.11s. A route's quality generally depends on how much effort went into cleaning it. The Washington [...]