With mountains, rocky valleys, arid grasslands, sandy beaches, and evergreen forests, Washington is the outdoor lover’s paradise. For rock climbers and mountaineers, there are some amazing spots in the state. Read on to learn about some of the best rock climbing locations in Washington.
#1 Icicle Creek Canyon
Just 5 miles from Leavenworth, the Icicle Creek Canyon is known for some fantastic climbs. Once you have reached the parking lot, you will have to walk a couple of miles to find the crags.
You need a Northwest Forest Pass to access the granite walls. Because you are getting into the wilderness, make sure you have the right preparation. Here, the climbs are of 1 to 6 pitches, and they vary greatly in difficulty levels. Climbers have visited the canyon since the 1950s.
Very few spots in the Icicle Creek Canyon are private or contested property. According to the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC), climbers need permission to climb in areas that are private or contested property.
Along the canyon, there are several hundred different routes. Outer Space, Orbit, RPM, and Cloud Nine are some regional favorites.
Outer Space is a 700-foot alpine climb, and it has 6 pitches. Orbit is an 800-foot climb with 7 pitches. And Cloud Nine is a 180-foot wall with 2 pitches.
Just 38 miles from Everett, Index is among the most attractive rock climbing locations in Washington. For a long time, this fantastic spot was accessible only to the climbers who discovered it first and was relatively unknown to the general public.
At Index, you can easily access the granite rock from the road. The crag is immensely popular, but the site’s history is somewhat tumultuous, in part because of the local climbers’ exclusive tendencies. The WCC has persuaded the community to remain accepting and has ensured that the wall is accessible to all climbers.
To resolve animosity with landowners, the WCC has acquired the land that covers the Index. The general public can climb the wall without any restriction. However, climbers are requested not to do something that can harm the environment.
There are 576 different climbs in the area. They range from traditional climbs to bouldering, so there is something for every climber. Senior Citizens in Space, Slow Children, Sagittarius, and Godzilla are some popular climbs here.
#3 The Enchantments
The Enchantments region is a stunning area in Washington, and it attracts many hikers and backpackers. The shortest route is a 6-mile hike starting from Colchuck Lake trailhead. The Ingalls Creek, the 8 Mile trailhead, and the Snow Creek trailhead are some other options.
Fred Beckey and his crew were the pioneers to climb the Enchantments. In June 1947, they set out with the best available gear of the time and explored some rocks close to the Enchantment Lakes. In the history of mountaineering and rock climbing, Fred Beckey is now considered a legendary figure. In Alaska, there is a mountain named in his honor: Mt. Beckey.
There are 55 different climbs in and around the area. The climbs involve multiple pitches and are considered challenging. Solid Gold, Der Sportsman, Ingalls Peak, The Tipping Point, and Dragons of Eden are some notable climbs here.
Among them, Ingalls Peak is the most famous. For intermediate climbers, it can be the main climb. And for experienced climbers, it is considered a lower grade climb. The South Face route of the Peak is a 300-foot climb with four pitches.
Mazama is far from urban life. In fact, it is 129 miles from Leavenworth. The geology of the place is varied and fascinating. The 1500-foot rock mostly consists of tall volcanic debris, also known as meta-pyroclastics. Later, it was carved by glaciers. With its irregular cracks and anti-pumice pockets, is just fascinating.
The original routes were explored in the late 1980s by a Czech couple–Karen Zikan and Eli Holmes. In the wintertime, Mazama offers a fiendishly difficult mixture of ice climbing and rock climbing that attracts many climbers.
There have been summer-friendly routes since 1989, thanks to the efforts of Peter Dorrish and Byran Burdo. Now Mazama is one of the best rock climbing locations in Washington.
Now this gorgeous and difficult climbing location remains popular throughout the year. The climbing community receives support from the Forest Service, and near The Fun Rock, there is a parking area.
There are150 different climbs in the area. The Fun Rock, Goat Wall, FireWall, and The Matrix are some notable rocks here. Invasive Species is the most famous climb in the area. It is a short 5.8 climb.
#5 Deep Creek
Deep Creek is a mosquito-infested canyon located in Eastern Washington. This canyon is also known as one of the most popular rock climbing locations in Washington. The spot is just 9 miles from Spokane proper but looks like it is far from any civilization. If you love being in the wilderness, you will fall in love with Deep Creek.
In Deep Creek, the rock is jagged basalt rock. This canyon was formed when the Latah Formation and the Columbia River Basalt flood took place. When basalt was introduced into the environment, the nearby water bodies deposited sediments. Eventually, the sediments solidified into clay.
Based on some published reports, we can assume that the area will remain undisturbed because the clay is inaccessible, and not very useful for construction.
This location is not beginner-friendly, because the easiest climb is a 5.11. However, some fascinating routes are available here. Dump Truck (5.12b, 50 feet), The Masochist (5.13b), Quiver (5.13), and Naked Man (5.12a) are some regional favorites.
#6 Waka Beach
Waka Beach is a part of the Olympic Peninsula and is located 88 miles from Seattle. Close to the Elwha River, this scenic crag is accessible for just a few months: between July and October. Yet, it is one of the majestic rock climbing locations in Washington.
The peninsula has a moist environment, and therefore the soft sandstone rock at the beach grows quite mossy. It is understandable that climbers have to be extra careful when climbing Waka Beach. Before you start climbing, you have to make sure the rock is not wet. It can be extremely difficult and dangerous to climb wet sandstone. However, wet sandstone has some good qualities as well, such as excellent friction.
In Waka Beach, there are 21 climbs in total. Among them, four are very popular. They are Sum’bitch-Knockout, My First 14er, Haus Frau, and Waka/Jawaka. The most challenging of them is the 50 feet, 5.12a/b Sum’bitch-Knockout.
#7 Gold Bar
Located 36 miles from Everett, Gold Bar is one of the top rock climbing locations in Washington. This bouldering site, located in The Cascades, is known for lots of fantastic views. If you are a lover of nature, you are going to fall in love with this place.
Getting to the site can be a bit tricky, in part because visitors in the past abused road privileges. Now everyone has to hike to reach the boulders. And once you are there, you have to buy a ticket or show your Discover Pass.
The boulders are made of rough granite, but because of the moisture in the atmosphere, some routes are overgrown with moss. So, you have to be a bit more careful at this site.
For decades, the relationship between the Department of Natural Resources and the climbing community was not smooth. The relationship has improved in recent years, thanks to the efforts of the Washington Climbers Coalition.
There are close to 300 problems in the Gold Bar boulders. They range from V0 to V11. Aries: God of War, Five Star Arete, Kombucha, Equinox Midnight Lichen, and Bricklayer are some popular routes here.
The most popular of them is Five Star Arete. This 20-foot route is a solid V6. Aries: God of War is the second most popular route here. It is a V8. The other routes are also fascinating.
Just 24 miles from Vancouver is another great rock climbing location: the Ozone climbing wall. To access the wall, you will have to hike a short trail from the road. Parking can be an issue here because the location is busy. The only option is to park along the highway. In Ozone, the rock is an igneous rock. This lava-formed rock is abundantly available as the earth’s sea beds.
The rock layers have been formed by volcanic eruptions since the Eocene era. Today, there are 106 different routes that attract adventurous climbers. Local climbers choose just a few of these routes: High Plains Drifter, Chainmail, Dark Lord, and Rauch Factor.
At 75 feet, High Plains Drifter is an amazing 5.10 sport climb. Chainmail is a 5.11b climb that is 40-foot high.
These are the best rock climbing locations in Washington. Apart from the spots mentioned above, there are some other pretty good spots that attract rock climbers. A good thing about the crags and cliffs in Washington is that they vary in type. So, whether you are looking for a bouldering or climbing location, you will find one in this state.