Climbing in Washington during the COVID-19 pandemic

While some access to climbing areas will be reopening on May 5, climbing (and society) won’t go back to “normal” any time soon.

What will climbing look like after the Stay Home order is lifted, and what we can 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 close to home (day trips only, not stops, no gas), limit your group size to just you and a partner, avoid busy areas
  • Have a plan B, and a plan C –plan C could be hiking/walking
  • Keep following federal, state, and county guidelines.
  • Maintain social distancing, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer or wipes (wear a mask when others are in close proximity).
  • Bring a wag bag (facilities remain closed at most or all  trailheads and parking lots) and pack it out.
  • Consider staying home. Or, be flexible: bring what you need to go on a trail run or walk if the crag is getting full.

These are largely based on the American Alpine Club and Access Fund guidelines.

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.

Additional Links

List of State Parks Open/Closed (May 5)
https://parks.state.wa.us/1181/Parks-opening

State Park Guidelines (May 2)
https://parks.state.wa.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=613

Forest Service: Pacific NW Region
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/home/?cid=fseprd716206

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (Darrington, Mt. Baker, Skykomish, Snoqualmie) (May 22): https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/mbs/alerts-notices

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (Chelan, CleElum, Entiat, Methow Valley, Naches, Tonsaket, Wenatchee River) (May 20)https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/okawen/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd717017&width=full

Olympic National Forest (May 22):                        https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/olympic/home/?cid=fseprd716032&width=full

DNR (May5)https://www.dnr.wa.gov/open  and https://www.dnr.wa.gov/rec_open

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

Mount Rainier National Park (May 21):  Longmire-Paradise road closed; highway 410 and Cayuse Pass open.

These are the rules, according to the Governor’s Office (LINK)

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

Udates from Yakima: Our friends at Yakima Climbing Scene posted some updates about Tieton and Vantage here:   Scroll down to Walter Jordan’s Facebook post

DAY USE ONLY / NO CAMPING / STAY LOCAL

  • 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
    Vantage

DO NOT OVERCROWD CRAGS
RECREATION MAY BE CLOSED IF CROWDING HAPPENS.

REMAINING CLOSED / DRIVE THROUGH ONLY

North Cascades National Park/Newhalem Gorge