Whistler Canyon Trailhead (Oroville) Rock Climbing
|GPS:||48.903, -119.423 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||applewood on May 27, 2013|
|Admins:||Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Nate Ball|
DescriptionLocated about 14 miles north of Tonasket, and 3 miles south of Oroville, Whistler Canyon Trailhead is the only public access to the west side of Mt Hull from highway 97. It is being managed cooperatively by Okanogan County, BLM, the Forest Service, The Backcountry Horseman, Pacific NW Trails Association and other local user groups.
One aspect of this area is that each cliff though relatively small is distinct and delightful in the quality of the hiking and climbing experiences. The rock cleans up to provide excellent climbing (on what is sometimes the best quality rock in Okanogan County), and there is plenty of shade at different times of the day. It is also possible to climb here every month of the year, weather permitting.
Access from Hwy 97 is directly across from Gavin Rd (turn East up the white gravel road). The trail map and climbers kiosk is at the edge of the parking circle. Climbers information is on the back side of the kiosk. The trail (#100) to the main canyons (Whistler and North Canyons) begins just east of the parking area and heads north before turning SSE up the hillside to the old road bed. To access the NW Face hike north along the orchard fence line, for the North Canyon (and Windy Point) climbing follow trail #100 up a quarter mile, and turn left and follow the trail north towards Frog Pond.
The main Whistler Canyon hiking/biking/horse trail (#100) is on up the main canyon to the East (ending after 11 miles near Summit Lake). There is an abundance of other wildlife to encounter here, including turkey, hawk, eagle, vulture, sheep, coyote, deer, bear and cougar. Watch out for rattle snakes from early-April to late-October, especially in loose rocky areas.
There are now over 80 (mostly bolted) routes established, on good to excellent rock (granodiorite and gneiss), ranging from 5.3 to 5.12+, 50 to 300' long. Lots of climbing variety exists in a relatively compact area. Generally the bolting ethic here expects gear to be used when possible and safe. Be prepared for loose and/or dirty rock in places; helmets are advised!. The grading (especially in the lower grades) tends to follow old school standards, rather than newer and softer trends.
- Note to all climbers this is the most popular family friendly hiking area in the Okanogan Valley, please do your best to minimize your impact and presence; pack it in-pack it out, and leave no trace. Potential route developers, please respect local etiquette and make any bolts or top anchors camouflaged, use stainless steel hardware as much as possible and don't mix your metals. Any comments and input on existing or new routes is much appreciated.
- Note - a key to route descriptions;
There are several distinct areas developed;
NW Face -The area to the left of the main lower corner - easy to moderate trad, mixed and sport climbs.
SW Face - The lower and upper left and right sides of the main corner, easy to moderately hard bolted climbs, both short and long.
West Face- Includes the slabs above the lower trail, mostly easy bolted routes, as well as the lush Garden Ledge with the short, steep and hard bolted faces!
Windy Point - The best rock at Whistler Canyon! Mostly moderate to hard (trad, mixed and sport) climbs in a great setting.
North Canyon/Frog Pond Trail - 4 separate areas with diverse easy to hard mostly bolted climbs.
Upper Canyon - North Side - Remote, spread out area includes several crags with easy to hard bolted and trad climbs in a great location. Some remote crags are completely undeveloped. Banded Wall is especially fine.
Upper East Canyon - The last trailside crag before the gate to Forest Service land. Unique feeling place with some great slab (trad, mixed and sport) climbing.
Upper Canyon - South Side - A very remote and wild area located off trail south of trail #100. Lots of potential for challenging routes here, so far only a few at the far south end have been developed.
When to Climb
Despite what MP says about the best seasons to climb (see chart below) climbing at WCT is best when the snakes are hibernating - usually late October to early April. Depending on the weather conditions rock climbing may be possible any of these winter months, but is usually good by February. WCT is the first crag in Okanogan County to warm up in the spring. Summers can be very hot but early morning starts are doable.
Getting ThereFollow the signs on the highway to the parking area on the east side of Hyw 97, 3 miles south of Oroville/14 miles north of Tonasket (white graveled road and parking lot).
A 5 to 15 minute hike along the horse trail gets you in to the different crags (30 to 45 minutes for the upper crags). There is some climber info posted on the back side of the main sign-in kiosk.
Classic Climbing Routes at Whistler Canyon Trailhead (Oroville)
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season