Rock Climbing Washington State

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.

The diverse landscape offers a climbing adventure for all skill levels. Nearby campgrounds in the national and state parks are ideal for extended stays and provide plenty of challenging rock climbing in designated areas.

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.

There are very few cracks to hold cams, nuts or hexes. In many areas, a sling strap hitched to a small tree or around a rock is the only way to prevent from falling. You will definitely want to wear a helmet to protect your head and face from frequent rock showers.

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.

Mount Pilchuck State Park

Mount Pilchuck, fantastic rock climbing
Mount Pilchuck, rock climbing Washington State at its best. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of mtsvancouver on Flickr

The hiking peaks at Mount Pilchuck are among the most popular destinations in Washington, and for good reason. An estimated 28,000 visitors head up to Pilchuck every year. The biggest attraction is the old fire lookout on the mountain's summit. The lookout was constructed by the U.S. Forest Service in 1918. In 1977 the Everett Mountaineers gave it a complete overhaul.

At the height of the use of fire lookouts, Washington State had about 700 spread out over the land. Only a small handful are still standing today. Most of the lookouts were destroyed by lightning fires.

The easy access is another huge attraction. Most hikes up the Cascades involve hours of strenuous climbs through virtually endless miles of dense forest. Not at Pilchuck. You can drive your car up for the first 3,150 feet. From here, it is just a short three miles up to the top. A good portion of the trail is open, offering some of the most breath taking views imaginable.

Pilchuck is the ideal destination for beginner hikers. One trek up to the summit and you will be hooked on the outdoors for life.

The shale rock of the mountain provides an exciting, challenging climb for the more daring and adventurous minded. Be prepared for snowy conditions even in the middle of summer.

Steamboat Rock State Park

Eastern rock climbing Washington State features the island-like Steamboat Rock. An eight hundred foot climb brings you to 600 glorious acres overlooking the fabulous Banks Lake and Grand Coulee Dam.

Summer temperatures are known to reach nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter you can challenge your skills with ice climbing.

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest spans an amazing four million acres. It has everything the outdoors enthusiast is looking for, including hiking trails, campgrounds, fabulous fishing opportunities and snowmobiling trails in the winter. The are two great areas for rock climbing – the Cle Elum and Wenatchee River districts.

The Cle Elum Ranger District covers approximately 375,000 acres. It offers plenty of fun and challenging rock climbing opportunities. Just as challenging is the expansive Wenatchee River Ranger District, which covers approximately 696,000 acres.

Beacon Rock State Park

Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock Reproduced under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of p medved on Flickr

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.

Whether you want to try rock climbing for the first time or you are looking for unique new climbing experiences, you will find that when it comes to rock climbing Washington State has it all.

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