Rock Climbing in Washington State
Rock Climbing in Washington State
This morning we explored the Oregon Coast Trail so I thought it was only a natural progression to end up in the state of Washington. For some reason the thought of rock climbing in Washington state never crosses my mind. I was reading through some forums and one user posted a good question. “I have noticed that the state of Washington is hardly ever mentioned on climbing forums. There is a ton of climbing here but no one acknowledges its existence. Whenever someone talks about a trip and where they should go, there is no mention of Washington. I guess I am just wondering why that is.” This really got me thinking. Why does no one mention Washington? From every picture I’ve seen the state looks like it could have some amazing climbing. Lets look a little deeper and find out some more about climbing in Washington.
Love rock climbing? Then you must check out the most challenging rock climbing Washington State has to offer. Maybe you are just starting out? Washington has perfect mountains for beginners, as well.
The glorious mountain regions in Washington State offer all sorts of great climbing opportunities. You can climb for the day or plan a week long climbing adventure. From the stunning rain forest in Olympic Park to the dry areas of eastern Washington State and on to the cascade range, there is a mountain to climb for every one.
Olympic National Park
The rock formations in the park are made up of shale, sandstone, soft basalts and pillow lava which can be quite treacherous in some areas. While there are excellent opportunities for remote alpine climbing, the surface is often loose and fragmented.
You can easily get lost in the million acre park. Make sure you know where you are going and how to get back. The hiking and bushwhacking through the dense rainforest before your climb is more intense than you can imagine. Be prepared. Make sure you have the right equipment, good maps and plenty of water.
Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock provides rock climbing enthusiasts the best opportunities to experience “big wall” climbing. As the centerpiece of the park, the Rock is considered a unique treasure at the heart of the phenomenal Columbia River Gorge.
You can’t ask for a better big wall bluff than what Beacon Rock has to offer. The technically demanding climb is not for the faint of heart. The steepness of the climb offers tremendous variety and exposure that is sure to test the limits of even the strongest climber.
Climbers are encouraged to climb on the north or west side. The east face of the monolith is closed due to environmental reasons, and the south face is the chosen nesting area of falcons from February right through to about the middle of July.
There are about 25 sport routes (give or take). The Elwha has some awesome climbs and many sketchy climbs too, with loose/crumbling rock. The routes worth climbing, however, will have lots of chalk markings from other climbers, so its perhaps best to stick to those. The first routes you’ll encounter (Earth and Sky, One Shot Deal) can be top roped by hiking up the steep trail to the left of the crag and hugging a thin ledge (to the left side of Earth and Sky), which will put you at the chain anchor of One Shot Deal. Also, even when its raining you can find a few dry routes to climb
Fun Rock, Canine Crag, and the Rhino Zone are collectively known as Mazama Rocks along with nearby Goat Wall. There is bouldering in the area as well.
There are several areas of Washington to explore. The reason Washington may never be brought up in rock climbing conversation is the constant threat of rain. As one forum user so eloquently said, “People know there is climbing in the NW. That has never been disputed or specifically ignored. Being a local would be great, but for people who would have to travel, a destination with a 50/50+ chance of getting hosed out is a little hard to swallow. That’s why Squamish doesn’t get significantly more press, as fantastic as it is, the good weather window is a narrow one. “