You’re in Seattle: the only big city in the northwest. Sure, there’s Pike Place and EMP and all kinds of other touristy things you can do—but what’s outside of the city is what is really impressive. Washington State is a rock climber’s paradise and Seattle is the perfect jumping point. Grab those climbing shoes and chalk bags; you’ve got some rocks to scale!
1. Mountain Home (Leavenworth) Area
This is one of the most popular bouldering areas in the Pacific Northwest. The granite features thicker grains than the nearby Skykomish valley boulders and the surrounding terrain is flatter and drier. This area offers bouldering for all skill levels.
2. Exit 38
This spot is located just outside of Iron horse state park. Exit 38 was made by climbers, for climbers seeking to escape the crowds of Little Si. The rocks themselves are mostly volcanic metamorphosed rock. There are a few challenging climbs (one 5.13 and one 5.12), but it’s mostly made up of moderate routes which make it accessible and fun for climbers of all levels.
Index is a climbing area that is known for both its traditional and aided climbing. The climbs range in elevation from 70 to 700 feet tall with just over 400 different routes. With Index’s superb fine grain granite and its well-protected walls, this is one of the better climbing spots in the state of Washington. The rating system is quite unique. It ranges from right on (easier routes) to very stiff (the more advanced routes). This spot is only an hour and a half outside of Seattle!
Darrington’s rocks are composed of the same granite that is located in a lot of the other areas of the state, so it’s no surprise that this spot’s routes make for good climbing. The difficulty ranges from 5.7 to 5.11, and the dome shape of the rocks makes for a sort of summit feel when you get to the top of a climb because you are high above the surrounding valleys.
5. Exit 32/Litte Si
With mostly sport climbs and a few traditional climbs, the highlight of Little Si is World Wall 1, which has routes from 5.9 all the way up to 5.14. The area’s crags vary between full sun exposure and shaded. The climbing area is an easy 25 minute hike from the Little Si trailhead. In addition, the Little Si trail is a great day hike if you feel like continuing on after you’ve climbed for a bit.
6. Vertical World
Since becoming America’s first climbing gym in 1987, Vertical World has been serving the greater Seattle area with a superb indoor climbing experience. When it first opened, it was nothing more than some painted plywood boards in an old warehouse. Since then, it has evolved quite a bit and has opened two additional locations. Employees’ love for rock climbing is apparent as they put on classes for all ages and all skill levels while continuing to grow their business.