The climbing area known as Darrington is a collection of granite domes in the Clear Creek and Squire Creek drainages on the west slope of the Washington Cascades. These mountain valleys have a remote feel and only a few of the routes get a lot of traffic, though the area has seen steady climbing activity for forty years. The climbs feature slabs, knobby face climbing, and some cracks though straight-in cracks are relatively rare. The scenery is fantastic, and many of the routes have an alpine feel although trees grow even on the summit of Exfoliation Dome and Squire Creek Wall, two of the higher and larger formations in the area. This is fantastic climbing: clean granite sweeps to the sky as you climb multiple pitch routes to the summit of these unique features. Just a few of the routes that comprise "Darrington" are featured here.
The climbing is commonly thought to be "just" slab climbing, but many routes demand good edging and crack climbing skills as well as friction technique. Much of it is bolt-protected but pretty much all of the routes require some gear placement. Most of the climbs are relatively well-protected at or near any crux moves but many contain longer run-outs on easier terrain. Two ropes are needed for the descents; the climbs run from one to ten pitches.
Most of the developed climbs lie in the Clear Creek drainage, southeast of the town of Darrington, Washington. From Darrington (an hour and a half northeast of Seattle on highway 530), head southeast on the Mountain Loop Highway, a paved road that branches off highway 530 where it makes a right angled turn in the middle of town (a mini-mart here has last minutes goodies).
Just a few miles out of town you will come to the Clear Creek campground on the left. The Clear Creek logging road (gravel) departs the pavement to the right immediately before the campground.
About five miles up this logging road, a left fork leads to the climbs on Exfoliation Dome and a right fork leads to the routes on Three O'Clock Rock, the Comb, Green Giant Buttress, etc.
Weather station 6.4 miles from here
34 Total Routes
['4 Stars',8],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',1]
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Darrington:
Featured Route For Darrington
Total Soul 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b WA
: Northwest Region
: ... : Three O'clock Rock
Total Soul is an eight pitch route on the North Buttress of Three O'Clock Rock. This is slab climbing, though with a remarkable variation to it as the climb follows a dike for two pitches, passes several interesting overlaps along the way, and has the rare distinction of being one of the routes that actually "tops out" on Three O'Clock Rock. The difficult climbing is mostly bolt protected but the leader must carry and know how to use gear. Gear is particularly helpful for the long crack sectio...[more] Browse More Classics in WA
Latest Regional Forum Messages
Looking up the North Buttress of Three O'Clock Roc...
Under the Great Arch on Three O'Clock Rock.
Close up of Exfoliation Dome from Three O'Clock Bu...
Comb Buttress (on left) and Three O'Clock Rock (on...
Darrington area granite domes.
Darrington sunset, Three Fingers peak on the left
Voodoo Peak and Exfoliation Dome.
BETA PHOTO: The West Buttress of Exfoliation Dome
Comb Buttress from Three O'Clock Rock.
BETA PHOTO: Espinosa nearing the two bolts on the route, and ...
Great views east down Clear Creek from the summit ...
From: Seattle, Washington
Jul 12, 2010
As of 7/2010 the updated website address for my partial on-line guide is www.mattsea.com/Darr
By the professor
Jul 10, 2013
Glacier Point Apron, Tuolumne slabs, and the Squamish Apron are mostly glass. Sandstone friction has loose sand grains. But Three O'Clock Rock has outstanding friction properties (haven't been to the other crags yet but I imagine it's the same story there). There is little or no shoe creep on the granite and diorite knobs of Three O'Clock Rock.