//Western Washington
Western Washington 2018-01-20T21:58:16+00:00

Western Washington

Beacon Rock

Basalt tower in the Columbia Gorge. Short approaches. 5.6 to 5.12. Crack/Face.

Beacon Rock

Beacon Rock is an 800-foot basalt monolith rising above the Columbia River at the west end of the Columbia River Gorge. It is the scene of what must be one of the first technical rock climbs in the Pacific Northwest. On August 24, 1901, Frank J. Smith and Charles Church of Portland, along with George Purser of White Salmon, climbed a route on the northwest face using iron spikes and […]

Bellingham

Besides being close to Squamish, Bellingham offers easy access to bouldering within minutes of town, and roped climbing not much farther away. Among Washington cities, it is second only to Spokane for easily accessible urban climbing. Bellingham bouldering has been surging recently.

Bat Caves

Located south of Bellingham on the slopes of Blanchard Mountain, the Bat Caves have more than 30 sport (and a few trad) routes ranging from 5.4 to 5.12c. The area’s name is a misnomer: there aren’t any real caves, only holes in an impressive talus field below a series of cliffs. The cliffs, which include the Samish Wall and San Juan Wall, are up to 200 feet high. The metamorphic rock is sometimes brittle, with an emphasis on crimpy moves.

The view alone is worth a visit to this spot: you look out to the San Juan Islands, over to the […]

Mt. Baker Crags

Located east of Glacier on Highway 542, the Mt. Baker crags probably offer the best roped climbing in the Bellingham area. Nearly all of the 30 or so routes are sport climbs on meta-volcanic rock that some compare to Exit 38. Unlike Exit 38, however, some of the climbing is on cobbles.

The routes range from 5.8 to 5.12d on six walls or sub-walls: the Cobblestone Wall; Baker City Cliff; the Pump House; Big Daddy Wall; Pee Wee’s Playhouse; and the Pimp Wall. Most routes are 70-feet or less in length, although there is at least one two-pitch route on the […]

Sehome Hill

Rising above the Western Washington University campus, Sehome Hill offers a number of top rope routes and boulder problems on mostly good sandstone. It is an historic area, with a tradition of climbing dating back to the 1950s. Sehome Hill has been the starting point for many climbers, including Chuck Pratt, a Bellingham high schooler who went on to become a Yosemite legend.

The main Sehome Hill area is a collection of boulders and small walls up to 35 feet high. The rock features occasional pockets and veins of pebbles. The toprope climbs range from 5.6 to hard 5.10, with boulder […]

Larrabee State Park

Although Larrabee State Park has a few sandy lead routes, beachside bouldering is what it’s all about. The rock is a soft Chuckanut sandstone that ranges from good to decomposed. At its best, it offers interesting climbing on edges, slopers, and wave-sculpted huecos. A gorgeous setting makes up for any shortcomings of the rock, and there are enough quality problems to make it worth repeat visits. It’s a great place for a family trip to the beach with a little bouldering.

There are two main access points to the beach. The first is at the main parking area at the north […]

Darrington

Shaded boulders, rock climbs one to twenty pitches, and alpine peaks near the town of Darrington; approaches may include brush or scrambling. 5.6 to 5.12; V0 to V6.

Darrington

The area traditionally known as “Darrington” is a collection of granite domes in the Clear Creek Valley south of the North Cascades town known by the same name. Today, climbers enjoy boulders and cliffs spread throughout the surrounding area. Gorgeous peaks rise from the roadside and a vast wilderness awaits those looking for extended outings.

The granite in Clear Creek and Squire Creek offers generally lower angle climbing on slabs and knobby faces but steep walls are found here too.  The D-Ton boulders in the Whitechuck River valley offer great climbing in the shade. High quality boulders and crag climbs up to seven pitches long are found in the North Fork of the Sauk River, below Spring Mountain.

Current road status:
As of Spring 2016, the roads in Clear Creek, serving Exfoliation Dome, Three O’clock Rock, and Green Giant Buttress (with the classic climb Dreamer) are open. The road up Squire Creek remains blocked by a huge slide directly across from the north end of the Squire Creek […]

Gold Bar

Granite boulders and largely unexplored crags. V0 to V11; and (?) 5.9 to (?) 5.11. Boulders/Crack/Face.

Gold Bar

Access Update:  The area adjacent to the Gold Bar boulders is being actively logged, and is closed to foot traffic Monday-Friday.  The area is open to foot traffic on Saturdays and Sundays. Once logging operations are complete, DNR plans to decommission the former road. The WCC is working to upgrade the access trail with support and permission from DNR. We will resume that work in the spring of 2017 after logging operations are complete.

DNR has long been concerned about vehicle access there, including the high levels of traffic, unauthorized use of the […]

Index

Granite walls on the west slope of the Cascades. Easy to moderate approaches. Excellent steep cracks. 5.5 to 5.13. Slab/face/crack.

Index

Index is Washington’s most famous cragging destination, and features some of the highest-quality granite trad climbing in the United States.  Index has also seen extensive bouldering development in recent years, and there is a growing collection of world-class boulder problems lurking in the woods below the Upper Town Wall, across the North Fork of the Skykomish River, and along the Skykomish River to the west of town.  The Washington Climbers Coalition presently owns the Lower Town Wall and nearby crags. The recent fundraising campaign undertaken by groups working to save public access at the Lower Town Wall, public media discussion, and the outstanding climbing opportunities found here are bringing more climbers than ever to Index.

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Mt. Erie

Diorite crags, 40 feet to three pitches. Easy to moderate approaches. Easy fifth class to 5.12. Mostly face.

Mt. Erie

Mount Erie is gorgeous. The crags on Mount Erie are scattered on the south slope of a mini-mountain overlooking Puget Sound. Wide views take in the waters around Deception Pass, the San Juan Islands, the Olympics, and several of the Cascade volcanos. There are madrona trees, shore pines, and wild roses around the cliffs. It’s common to see eagles and turkey vultures soaring overhead.

The climbs […]

Newhalem

Gneiss in the Skagit River gorge. Easy approach. Sport climbing, 5.9 to 5.13. Face.

Newhalem

Although climbers speeding along Highway 20 have cast wondering glances at the cliffs of the Skagit River Gorge for years, the largely crackless nature of the cliffs, a lack of easy parking and access, and a general lack of information all conspired to keep the area largely undeveloped.

In the late 1990s, however, climbers began exploring and establishing routes on two cliffs close to Newhalem and one at the far end of the Gorge, near Diablo Lake. Soon after, a bouldering area was discovered partway up the Gorge. To date, more than 20 sport routes have been established, ranging from 5.9 to 5.13. There are also more than 40 boulder problems from V0 to V10. The potential for much more climbing exists. A partial online guide to one of the cliffs can be found at Newhalem online guide.

Newhalem’s rock is Skagit gneiss, a metamorphic rock that resembles granite. Although there are occasional loose flakes, the rock is generally sound and high-quality. Many walls are consistently overhanging. The walls are also deceptively large, growing in scale when you reach the […]

Snoqualmie Valley

Metamorphosed volcanic rock (and some granite) on the west slope of the Cascades. Moderate to medium approaches. 5.5 to 5.14. Face/slab (few crack climbs).

Middle Fork

The valley of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River (about fifteen miles outside of North Bend) has granite cliffs quite different from the main North Bend areas. The most notable is a granite slab called Fee Demo Wall, which has demanding routes in the 5.9 to 5.12 range. (See topo at ClimbingWashington.com.) The Middle Fork also has the rugged buttresses of Mt. Garfield, which (among other routes) features Infinite Bliss, a 23-pitch […]

Exit 38

Crowds and parking problems at Little Si caused climbers to branch out in the early 1990s and explore other cliffs along Interstate 90. In 1994, the Exit 38 cliffs (a.k.a. Deception Crags) were announced to the world through a mini-guide in Rock & Ice magazine.

The rock at Exit 38 is metamorphosed volcanic rock similar to Little Si, but generally more fractured. In general, the higher up one goes on Mt. Washington, the better the rock […]

Little Si

Little Si features two large, imposing walls and a collection of smaller crags. World Wall I and World Wall II are continuously steep and have Washington’s highest concentration of 5.13 and 5.14 sport routes. The smaller crags have a number of good-quality moderate routes. Almost all are sport routes.

Although its climbing history dates back to at least the 1950s, most Washington rock climbers overlooked Little Si (and the North Bend area generally) until the early […]

Static Point

Granite dome on the west slope of the Cascades. Medium length approach; scenic. 5.8 to 5.11; mostly 5.10. Slab.

Static Point

Static Point is a granite dome of amazing quality. Large sweeps of rock soar upward with nary a crack in site, and much of it is nearly completely devoid of features. Fortunately for the climber, it isn’t too steep either; the climbs on Static Point rarely exceed 45 degrees. Most routes are friction climbs in the 5.9-5.10 range, stretching up to seven pitches long.

The area was first developed in the early 1980’s. There is a popular story about how it was first “discovered” by airplane. Although the climbers most active in the early days indeed first saw the crags from […]