Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

East vs. West Cascades? Wenatchee vs Everett areas.


Original Post
DeanTanner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

Considering a move to Washington with job possibilities in Wenatchee and Everett. Wenatchee seems like my dream town with easy access to mountain biking and trail running with fairly close access to rock, ice, skiing, and kayaking. The alpine climbing from around Leavenworth looks high quality.  Everett has ocean access for closer surfing and is closer to Bellingham for awesome mountain biking and close to Squamish/BC which would be incredible. We would live in an Everett suburb north or east of town most likely. 

No kids, will be working at a hospital, spend most of our time outside biking, skiing, climbing, hiking, kayaking, but do enjoy urban amenities from time to time. Grew up in Utah and prefer dry, sunny weather.

What's everyone have to say? Any advice or thoughts is much appreciated! Happy climbing!

Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 1,195

"prefer dry, sunny weather."

Well then you just answered your own question.   


Chase G · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 76

Where would people surf near Everett?

If I had the chance to have a nice job and had the opportunity between the 2, I would choose wenatchee. You have access to a lifetime of climbing, hiking, biking, and summits within an hour of you. 

Everett would only cut 2 hours off of a squamish trip. From what you like to do, and from your preference in weather, wenatchee seems like a better fit. I guess it depends on how much you care about being around water and proximity to Seattle. You still have access to the cascades from Everett. 

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 775

Wenatchee. I'm in everett and I usually go east for fun. 


One decent thing about everett is general proximity. Less than 1 hour to Mt. Erie, Index, north bend, or darrington . 2 hours to Leavenworth or vantage and less than 3 from Washington pass or squamish. 

Getoutside · · Golden, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

DeanTanner. If you can you should go check those places out first. They are very different. Not sure where you are right now, but Washington has a very interesting climate switch due to the Cascades which is very hard for people to understand if you are not familiar with the area. The west side of the mountains is just entirely different. You are going to have dense, green forests with much moisture from November - July 3rd. The cultural opportunities on the west side will be better, but you are going to have to deal with a lot more people. Also, the surfing and 'the ocean' are further away than you might think, La Push or Westport, two popular surfing spots are at least 4 hours away from the Seattle Metro. The east side, Wenatchee included, will be much drier, you are still skiing mainly the same areas, just coming from a different side of the mts. If it's the weather you are going for - then Wenatchee. 


Pro tip: Since you mentioned Utah. I am assuming you lived in the Salt Lake Valley. The Wasatch, which I love, (seriously, I am in Colorado longing for the Wasatch) is much much easier to access than basically anything in WA. So, you should be careful making the comparison. There will be less people in Washington, for sure. If you are moving to Washington for the climbing then you should know exactly what you want to climb. The fact is, Washington has the best mountains in the lower 48 - that's just a fact. But - they are very hard to access. It is not a place to go to the crag. However, the cross sports stuff is pretty good, Bham has a great mtn bike scene, there is good kayaking in the Puget Sound, and obviously the San Juan's. 

D14411 F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 770

I’ll chime in.  Live on the west side of things.

variety is a major plus, as said access is always a challenge.  Very very limited cragging, you would have to pick your favorite “crag” and live right by it to feel like it’s an “easy afternoon” of cragging. There are a few hot spots of easy access sport crags around the state but it’s not pervasive. The alpine climbing is phenomenal but is always a little bit committing time wise; especially if it requires navigating Heavy traffic.

I like it on the west though, very green.  I vacation in the east side to get some variety, and thoroughly enjoy all the microclimates. The bushwhacking to access the alpine is so much fun!  

You won’t have a “bad” choice, but depending on the exact sub-genre if the climber lifestyle you want, there will be more or less convienient living areas.



DeanTanner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks for the thoughts all.  

Getoutside, yes I was in Salt Lake City for ten years and I absolutely love the Wasatch. It turns out there is not much like it as far as multi-sport access. We are currently in North Carolina until next summer and looking to explore the PNW. Not quite ready to go back to Utah yet. We (my fiancé and I with our two dogs) should have considerable free time wherever we end up which will make weekend or 3-4 day van trips possible. We do value easy (ideally out-the-backdoor) access to some form of trails for short daily trail runs with the dogs or quick mountain bike rides, which it seems like Wenatchee is better for, but it looks like if we lived east or southeast of Everett we could find some decent trails. Regardless, the plan wherever we end up is to spend a lot of time on multi-day trips to BC, Cascades, Olympic Peninsula, Oregon, etc.

I love the lush forests of the west side. I've never lived anywhere quite as wet as the western PNW (apart from a month in Kodiak, AK). I think I would enjoy it, but haven't ever given it a real chance coming from SLC. I just know I love me some sunshine and high desert climate in general. We love Seattle, but would be OK being 2-3 hours from the city if it means more wilderness. 

Any thoughts on dog-friendliness in either of these regions in general?

Kyle Elliott · · Everett, WA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 775

If you move to the west, i recommend to pick a different town than everett. Its a shithole here. Massive homeless/junkie population, gangs, and all that. I've been burglarized 3 times in 16 months. One of the times they took all of the outdoor gear that wasn't with me. 


Check out the junkie live stream the Z-sport mechanics put up. You can watch dozens shoot up in real-time. 

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Move to Longview. I’ll give you a belay.

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Wenatchee, no doubt. The entire western half of the state is being absolutely overrun with a horde of badge-wielding Amazon employees. Even Everett is getting nutso expensive and the traffic is insane. In Wenatchee you’ll be driving the opposite way from the masses and Mission Ridge is actually pretty sweet. 

Caleb Mallory · · Seattle, Wa · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 425
Chase Giltner wrote:

Where would people surf near Everett?

If I had the chance to have a nice job and had the opportunity between the 2, I would choose wenatchee. You have access to a lifetime of climbing, hiking, biking, and summits within an hour of you. 

Everett would only cut 2 hours off of a squamish trip. From what you like to do, and from your preference in weather, wenatchee seems like a better fit. I guess it depends on how much you care about being around water and proximity to Seattle. You still have access to the cascades from Everett. 

Fort Ebey! Or even whidbey on occasion haha. 

Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25

I love living in Wenatchee. 30 minutes from great (some people don't consider it great... But I'm from Wisconsin) cragging or alpine climbing. 45 minutes to vantage for winter rock climbing. The biking and skiing are endless. The paragliding is next level. My house is gaining value at an insane rate. The weather is always great. 2.5 hours from downtown Seattle to our door. 


They just built a really decent dog park on the waterfront. Dogs can come cragging in Leavenworth but they can't be in any wilderness areas. Honestly, we've just stopped camping with our dogs, as it is not allowed in many of the high areas around here. 

With all that being said, here are a few of the not so great aspects of here... We have an elementary school named after Robert E. Lee if that gives ya any indication about the political environment here. The orchardists poison the fuck out of your water. The urban planner of this valley was a three year old with a crayon. Lots of meth heads, as with anywhere on this side of the state. The poverty rate is increasing at a phenomenal rate here (jobs are few and far between, and the housing market is crazy), which makes me worry about all the things that come along with that. 

Getoutside · · Golden, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0
DeanTanner wrote:


I love the lush forests of the west side. I've never lived anywhere quite as wet as the western PNW (apart from a month in Kodiak, AK). I think I would enjoy it, but haven't ever given it a real chance coming from SLC. I just know I love me some sunshine and high desert climate in general. We love Seattle, but would be OK being 2-3 hours from the city if it means more wilderness. 

Any thoughts on dog-friendliness in either of these regions in general?

No knowledge on dog-friendliness. But it can't be worse than SLC! Ha! 

If you have a van/camper that obviously changes the equation and you can do Washington so much better. My wife and I usually spend 4-6 weeks of the summer in WA doing the van thing. It's hard to beat. 

As some of recent posters have mentioned. There are distinct issues with both places that are not climbing/access related. However, these are not isolated to Washington. Rather the problems Seattle is facing with rampant housing inflation (thanks Amazon) homelessness, and visible drug are similar to the issues that every major city is facing right now. 

I had some friends out in Co this weekend from Seattle who are feeling priced out of the city, worried about raising a family near a park where cops are looking the other way at hard drug use. On the flip side my brother was mountain biking in Leavenworth and had his car broken into this weekend, nothing was visible. This is kind of just where we are. It's not any better in Denver - I can tell you that. 

DeanTanner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks again for more thoughts!

I am currently living in Charlotte, NC, and I work in the emergency department, so I am used to seeing an unhealthy amount of drug addiction (which typically leads to petty crime and sometimes more than that), violence, and homicide. I see that as an unfortunate reality that comes with any urban environment. This along with the overpopulation of the Seattle suburbs (and all the points everyone made above) makes me think Wenatchee edges Everett out. 

Not to turn the conversation political, but is there a palpable political leaning of either town/region? I would like to think that wherever I end up I will be able to get out and play with anyone regardless of their outlook. Anthony, it sounds like Wenatchee leans conservative? Having gone from Utah to the South, I'm ready for a more progressive environment and hoping WA will offer that regardless of location, but maybe this is more town-specific than I know...

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
DeanTanner wrote:

Not to turn the conversation political, but is there a palpable political leaning of either town/region? I would like to think that wherever I end up I will be able to get out and play with anyone regardless of their outlook. Anthony, it sounds like Wenatchee leans conservative? Having gone from Utah to the South, I'm ready for a more progressive environment and hoping WA will offer that regardless of location, but maybe this is more town-specific than I know...


Some data from 2106 election:

Chelan County (contains Wenatchee): 39% for Clinton, 55% Trump

Snohomish County (contains Everett): 54% Clinton, 38% Trump

King County (contains Seattle) 72% Clinton, 22% Trump

This generally matches my experience with these places. Everett is mixed, leans liberal. Wenatchee is mixed, leans conservative. You really have to move to Seattle (or Bellingham) to have a strongly progressive city.


That said, if sunny weather, close access to outdoor recreation, and avoidance of soul-sucking traffic is more important to you than avoiding trump voters, Wenatchee might win.

Eric K · · Leavenworth, Washington · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 45

I would really have a hard time choosing Everett over Wenatchee. I would need tons of $$ and plenty of free time to use since you will honestly be unable to do anything on the weekdays cause of traffic and not a lot of proximity to crags (but almost nobody in WA actually lives near a crag) but there is several lifetimes worth of stuff 2 hours away. Getting over the mountains is not always difficult but you can be completely shut down at times because the snow fall in the cascades is no joke and many WA drivers don't know how to deal with it which once again leads us into traffic problems. Try to drive over highway 2 the wrong direction at the wrong time and you will sit in your car for hours. 

I live a little up the river from wenatchee and the area does a little more than just lean to the right, but that does not reflect everyone in the community. Also don't be convinced into thinking that its a dry paradise over here as well. We certainly do not get the amount rain as the west siders do but its been pretty wet in Leavenworth for the past few weeks so you need to head further east (like Wyoming) to find the dry stuff. Overall Wenatchee has really become a great place to live compared to how it was 10 years ago.They also opened a really nice new gym in town. Having grown up on the west side I really miss the thick green that is everywhere but if your cool with brown a large part of the year you won't be too disappointed.

Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25

Wenatchee feels like it is stuck in the 50s sometimes, but there are plenty of wonderful people doing great thing. It's only going to keep getting better.

Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 1,195
Anthony Lubetski wrote:

Wenatchee feels like it is stuck in the 50s sometimes, but there are plenty of wonderful people doing great thing. It's only going to keep getting crowded.

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10
DeanTanner wrote:

Not to turn the conversation political, but is there a palpable political leaning of either town/region? I would like to think that wherever I end up I will be able to get out and play with anyone regardless of their outlook. Anthony, it sounds like Wenatchee leans conservative? Having gone from Utah to the South, I'm ready for a more progressive environment and hoping WA will offer that regardless of location, but maybe this is more town-specific than I know...

The vote data don't tell the whole picture; Eastern Washington has some progressive pockets and also a very large Hispanic population.

MorganH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 170

What's your favorite type of climbing? Is good mountain biking equally important? If you are a focused sport climber, I would venture to say that the west-side is actually better, but still relatively minimal compared to a place like SLC. We just don't have a ton of quality hard sport climbing in Washington. If you are more of a trad/alpine climber, Leavenworth is great, but so is Washington Pass and Squamish. My friends that live in Leavy/Wenatchee have great access to bouldering and the Stuart Range, but have to travel quite a ways for decent sport climbing, and it's a shorter trip for me to get to Washington Pass or Squampton. 

If you have a job in Everette, I would probably recommend living in Bothell, Snohomish, or Woodinville, as that will give you quick access to the highway 2 and 90 corridors. The i-90 corridor has the densest concentration of quality mountain bike trails in the state, and also the single best sport crag in the state for after work climbing, and will be 30 minutes away. It will be just over an hour drive to Leavenworth or Steven's Pass for climbing and skiing, and a half hour to Everette with a reverse commute for work. Less than an hour to Index, which everyone knows is the best crag in the country, except for maybe the NRG. The whole BC sea to sky corridor is also probably the densest quality concentration of mountain bike trails in the world, and will be 3 hours away, as opposed to 5.

If you mostly want to boulder and climb in the Alpine, go with Wenatchee. If you hate traffic, go with Wenatchee. The mountain biking is good, but not as good as the west side. The weather is great, but hot in the summer. Skaha is pretty good, and will be only 3 or 4 hours away.

blakeherrington · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 1,060

The Leavenworth/Wenatchee area has terrible access to sport climbing (or any kind of pumpy climbing). You're basically looking at a minimum 2+ hour drive (over 2 separate passes) to North Bend, followed by a mile uphill hike.

Equinox, Newhalem, Mazama, Deep Creek, NE WA Limestone, and any climbing gyms with decent lead walls are all even farther.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Pacific Northwest
Post a Reply to "East vs. West Cascades? Wenatchee vs Everett ar…"

Log In to Reply