October 5, 2016. Seattle, WA
The Access Fund and Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) are pleased to announce that after years of uncertain access, climbers can (for now) enjoy improved access to Equinox, a premier steep sport climbing crag outside Mt. Vernon in Western Washington.
Climbing here is a privilege, not a right. Please follow the practices set forth below and at all times strive to be a good ambassador for the climbing community.
- Do not drive to Equinox via Janicki Road.
- Please be respectful, drive slow, and limit noise when driving through the Scout Camp. Your behavior is critical to maintaining this agreement.
- Unlock and relock the bridge gate correctly. Incorrect use may prevent other authorized access.
- Close the gate behind your vehicle every time, even if left open by others.
- Consider carpooling as parking is limited. Never block the road. If there is no room to park, please climb elsewhere to avoid crowding at the crag.
- Display a current Discover Pass when parking.
- Yield to other vehicles and do not interfere with any and all timber management activities.
- Fires are strictly prohibited.
- No littering – pack in, pack out
- DNR may close a recreational facility or trail either temporarily or permanently for the purposes of protecting the environment, public safety, property, or to ensure DNR meets its management and administrative obligations (WAC 332-52-100).
- This renewed access could not have been possible without support from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Mount Baker Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Equinox” for the code and other important access information.
Full News Item:
New partnership gives climbers reliable access to Equinox October 5, 2016. Seattle, WA – Access Fund and Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) are pleased to announce that after years of uncertain access, climbers now have a reliable access point to Equinox, a premier sport climbing crag outside Mt. Vernon in Western Washington.
Equinox boasts up to 200 feet of vertical to overhanging routes on the western face of a volcanic intrusion. “For 5.12 and harder routes, Equinox offers some of the best sport climbing in Western Washington,” states Benjit Hull, who has been climbing at Equinox since 2006.
While climbing at Equinox has been allowed since the area’s development in the 1990s, vehicular access onto the state trust lands has proved to be an ongoing challenge for climbers. Most climbers access Equinox from the northern access point, which is on state trust land managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This northern access point has a gate off Janicki Road, which is sometimes left open and sometimes locked. When locked, climbers would have to hike or bike 6 miles to the crag, making short day trips to Equinox difficult to impossible. When the gate was open, climbers would drive the 6 miles, but risked getting locked in. Due to recent issues with vandalism, DNR would not consider motorized recreational access, and recently warned several climbers that they would be ticketed for driving to Equinox, even if the gate was opened.
To find a way around this access challenge, Access Fund and Washington Climber Coalition reached out to the managers of nearby Fire Mountain Scout Camp, a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) group that owns land on the southern side of Equinox that could provide an alternate access point. The scout camp agreed to share their gated access point, giving climbers an alternate a shorter drive from the Seattle area, and only 25 minutes of additional hiking to reach Equinox.
“This is a great victory for Northwest climbers,” says Access Fund Board Member and WCC General Counsel Jonah Harrison. “But access is not guaranteed. We need to maintain this partnership and relationship with the Fire Mountain Scout Camp and DNR to enjoy access now and in future years.”
Although Equinox is well-known among seasoned sport climbers of Western Washington and British Columbia, climbers have a “no guidebook, no publicity” policy due to the area’s sensitive access. To be inclusive and ensure the right steps are followed by all climbers looking to visit Equinox, we are sharing key access information to the greater northwest climbing community, but ask that climbers do their part by following the simple rules for access. For those who have never experienced the fun sport climbs at Equinox, we ask that you go with a partner that knows the area first and respect local climbers’ desire to keep route information unpublished at this time.
Access to Equinox is a privilege and it is more important than ever to maintain a good relationship with DNR and Fire Mountain Scout Camp.