Climbing in Washington during the COVID-19 pandemic

While access to climbing areas has been reopened as of June 4, many or most toilet facilities remain closed.

What can we do as a community to recreate safely without putting human lives and climbing access at risk?

Why should we follow these guidelines as a community?

  • We need to maintain trust and good relationships with land managers and respect local residents. Not following guidelines will put access at risk in some cases.
  • SAVE LIVES — COVID-19 is no joke and asymptomatic people can transmit the virus

Guidelines for climbing in WA: 

  • Stay home if you are sick, and consider that you may be contagious without experiencing any symptoms.
  • Avoid crowds. Be prepared to go somewhere else or come back another time if your destination looks crowded.
  • Practice physical distancing. Keep 6 feet between you and those outside your immediate household.
  • Follow the rules. Rule enforcement puts visitors and staff at risk. Please follow all rules to reduce the need for interaction with rangers and other park staff. Never leave a campfire unattended.
  • Keep your outdoor objectives conservative. Climbing accidents will place further stress on first responders, search and rescue teams, and hospital staff.
  • Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks.

These are based on guidelines from the American Alpine Club the Access Fund, and  Washington State Parks

Message from Methow Valley Climbers

Our friends at the Methow Valley Climbers ask that vistors consider the following (May 19):

  • If you choose to climb in or near the Methow Valley, please follow all State and Forest Service guidelines
  • Please follow the WA state travel mandates to day trips only.
  • Most regional Public Bathrooms will remain closed TBD please use Blue Bags. 
  • Dispersed Camping under Goat Wall is always discouraged.

How to make your own toilet

Our river rafting friends have been doing this forever. If you are camping, the bathrooms are still mostly closed. Bring your own: Five Gallon Bucket and Pipe Insulation.

Additional Links

List of State Parks Open/Closed (June 1)

State Park Guidelines (May 29)

Forest Service: Pacific NW Region general guidelines as of June 4

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (Darrington, Mt. Baker, Skykomish, Snoqualmie) (May 29):

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (Chelan, CleElum, Entiat, Methow Valley, Naches, Tonsaket, Wenatchee River) (June 4)

Blewitt Pass Highway area closed for manhunt (June 1):

Olympic National Forest (May 22):              

Colville National Forest (June 4):

DNR (May5)  and

North Cascades National Park/Ross Lake National Recreation Area (May 28): news release (note Newhalem crag nesting closure: link

Mount Rainier National Park (June 4):  Longmire-Paradise road closed; highway 410 and Cayuse Pass open.

For more information:  Watch Access Fund May 15 1 hr video.


  • State parks
  • State public lands managed by DNR
  • State public lands managed by WDFW

Bring a wag bag (bag to put poop in like your dog) because toilets may not be open.

We are still in a pandemic, consider not climbing.
If you go, these areas and others are open with restrictions (including no camping):

  • Index (including Lower Town Wall owned by WCC, where we ask climbers to follow State Park guidelines)
  • Vantage
  • Tieton River
  • Leavenworth
  • Mazama
  • Vantage
  • Exit 38
  • Little Si
  • Larrabee State Park
  • Mt. Erie
  • Gold Bar Boulders



North Cascades National Park/Newhalem Gorge